Factors that can increase a child's risk of rickets include: Dark skin. Dark skin has more of the pigment melanin, which lowers the skin's ability to produce vitamin D from sunlight. Mother's vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy. A baby born to a mother with severe vitamin D deficiency can be born with signs of rickets or develop them within a few months after birth. Northern latitudes. Children who live in geographical locations where there is less sunshine are at higher risk of rickets. Premature birth. Babies born before their due dates tend have lower levels of vitamin D because they had less time to receive the vitamin from their mothers in the womb. Medications. Certain types of anti-seizure medications and antiretroviral medications, used to treat HIV infections, appear to interfere with the body's ability to use vitamin D. Exclusive breast-feeding. Breast milk doesn't contain enough vitamin D to prevent rickets. Babies who are exclusively breast-fed should receive vitamin D drops.