WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- An Australian couple was charged for causing their 19-month-old daughter severe health issues due to feeding her with a restrictive vegan diet.
- According to court reports, doctors described the child’s physical condition as ‘floppy’, her bones as ‘brittle’ and suffering from severe malnourishment and nutritional deficiencies.
- The parents said that the whole family including their 4 and 6-year-old sons followed a strict vegan diet.
A couple from Australia has pleaded guilty for leaving their child with serious health injuries after putting her in a strict vegan diet.
According to The Daily Telegraph, the parents, aged 32 and 34, were discovered to have fed their 19-month-old girl with a cup of oats with rice milk and half a banana for breakfast, a toast with jam for lunch, and tofu, rice or potatoes for dinner. They said that the child would usually have oats for her evening meal because she was a ‘fussy eater’.
As a result, the child developed rickets, a degenerative bone disease caused by mainly lack of Vitamin D. The Downing Center District Court in Sidney heard that it was only when the girl had a seizure and needed medical attention that the doctors became aware of the restrictive diet.
As reported by Mail Online, doctors said the girl’s bones were so ‘brittle’ they feared they would break, and also found fractures all over her body. Additionally, one doctor described her physical condition as ‘floppy’, while others noted that the toddler didn’t crawl or talk at her age.
Examinations also showed severe deficiencies in Vitamin D, calcium, vitamin B12, vitamin A, iron and zinc. Moreover, her medical history showed no record of immunizations, no follow-up checks and no birth certificate.
When the father was asked by police about why he wasn’t concerned that his daughter just weighed over 10 pounds, he said he thought she was different from boys being a petite girl and all. It turned out that the entire family including the girl’s older brothers aged 4 and 6 were on a strict vegan diet.
While it is safe to raise babies and children on vegan diets, make sure that they receive all the vital nutrients they need at each stage of their development, says Britain’s National Health Service. Adequate amounts of iron, protein, calcium, vitamins A, B, C, and D, and Omega 3 should be given. NHS also advised that children should receive sufficient calories to fuel their growing bodies.
Meanwhile, all three children have been placed under foster care. Since then, their health has improved, with the girl now able to stand after gaining more than 13 pounds in weight.
As for the couple, they are scheduled to return for sentencing on January 16, 2019, at the Downing Center District Court.