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 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!
Read more on this topic:
- Vegan Parents Nearly Starved Baby With Formula Mix They Found Online
- Parents DENY Neglecting Toddler Despite Strict Vegan Diet
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