Vegan parents who had their three children taken away from them after police found their 20-month-old girl was severely malnourished and suffering from rickets face five years in jail.

The Downing Centre Court in Sydney has heard a powerful victim impact statement from the baby’s foster carer, who took the toddler in after she had been taken out of her parents’ care, shares News.com.au.

She said the 20-month-old weighed just 4.89kg, looked like a three-month-old and had no teeth when she started caring for her in August 2018.

“I remember thinking, ‘how terrifying’,” she said in the statement.

She said the baby was “So behind other children” and couldn’t perform basic actions like rolling over.

She said the baby is now “traumatised” by the monthly and bi-monthly blood tests she must undergo.

“She begins to scream and cry if she goes into a medical room and the door is closed,” she said in the statement.

She said the baby’s weight had become disproportionate to her height, meaning she had become “technically obese”.

She said strangers ask how old she is upon seeing her because they would be “struck” by she how small she was.

Police allege the father, 34 and mother, 32, — who cannot be named for legal reasons — fed their 20-month-old girl a strict diet “severely lacking in nutrients for her to thrive”.

The parents first faced court in May last year, two months after their toddler suffered a seizure at home. They both pleaded guilty to failing to provide for a child and causing serious injury.

Court documents show the toddler’s mother told doctors her daughter would generally have one cup of oats with rice milk and half a banana in the morning, and a piece of toast with jam or peanut butter for lunch.

For dinner, she said her daughter would be offered tofu, rice or potatoes. But she said the girl was a “fussy eater” so she might just have oats again.

This diet resulted in severe deficiencies in nutrients across the board for the infant, including a lack of calcium, phosphate, vitamin B12, vitamin A, iron and zinc.

Her levels of vitamin D – which can cause bone disease if found to be too low – were “undetectable”.

The toddler’s two older brothers, aged six and four, are also in government care and were also on vegan diets.

A healthy vegan diet

Vegans – exclude red meat, offal, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy products. Obtain protein from beans, legumes, pulses, nuts and soy products like tofu.

To make sure your child gets enough of all the nutrients needed for a growing child, their diet must include:
•Protein alternatives such as nuts, legumes and tofu
•Energy for growth and development
•Iron to prevent anaemia
•Vitamin B12
•Vitamin D and calcium to prevent bone disease
•Suitable fats from non-meat sources
•Food in the correct form and combination to make sure nutrients can be digested and absorbed.
•Vegans, use non-dairy milks e.g. soya milk that are fortified with calcium, vitamin D2 and vitamin B12
•Spread breads with avocado, or seed/nut butters to increase calories

Heartbreaking beyond belief!

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  • They had to know something was seriously wrong with her before the seizure the poor little thing I hope she can recover.

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  • There are people who shouldn’t be parents and this couple is one of them. The so called vegan father ate steaks when he was at home with his parents while his child was starved of any and all nutrition. Disgusting.

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  • That is just awful how they could do something like that.

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  • If they followed a proper vegan diet this should not have happened. This is a case of pure neglect.

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  • What sort of parents would do this to a child. If they wanted their children to be vegan they should have got professional information. I’m sorry but I hope the parents have a really tough time while in jail.

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  • Omg!!! What the heck is wrong with people. Those poor children.
    This idiot parents were clearly not educated about the key nutrients required for growth and development of a child let alone someone on a vegan diet

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  • So heartbreaking for the child. They will have lifelong issues due to the parents stupidity.

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  • This is so distressing and alarming to me. That poor child, slowly dying of malnourishment. Who could do that to a child?

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  • This is shocking. I hope the children recover quickly and receive the care they deserve.

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  • I really hope for the sake of the children that they don’t return to these zealots care.

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  • How awful! People these days are just getting crazy beyond belief!

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  • I hope the children will now be better cared for.

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  • I can’t believe they can starve there child and are only facing 5 years

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  • You sure have to be careful that a child gets enough nutrients, vitamins, minerals, protein, fat and carbs, This is for all kids the case, but sure for vegans and vegetarians. Besides this some kids have a failure to thrive.
    Her diet didn’t sound that bad, the fact that she was a fussy eater may have made things very hard

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  • Disgusting. Kids should not be subject to diets like these its not their choice.

    Reply

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