A couple accused of neglecting their 20-month-old daughter after allegedly putting their baby on a strict vegan diet have pleaded not guilty in court again today.

In April we shared that the woman, 31, and her 33-year-old partner appeared at Waverley Court after being arrested at a home in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.

The arrests were made after the little girl was admitted to Sydney Children’s Hospital suffering a seizure on March 10, reports 9 news.

Investigators were told the child was malnourished, suffered rickets, and her height and weight were well below what was expected of a child her age.

Following extensive inquiries, police arrested the couple and charged them with failing to provide for a child causing danger or serious injury and reckless grievous bodily harm.

Police will allege in court the girl’s parents fed the child a strict diet, which was severely deficient in nutrients for her to thrive.

Investigators say when the 20-month-old was admitted to the hospital, her body was so malnourished, she resembled a three-month-old, reports 7 news.

Rickets is a preventable bone disease, rarely seen in Australia and is caused by a lack of Vitamin D and calcium – affecting children on vegetarian or dairy-free diets.

The little girl underwent urgent treatment and remained under medical care for three weeks.

Parents who feed children vegan diets could face jail time

UPDATE 30 may

A vegan couple accused of neglecting their toddler who was allegedly found to be suffering from rickets has faced court holding hands.

Police allege the father, 33 and mother, 31, fed their 20-month-old girl a strict diet ‘severely lacking in nutrients for her to thrive.’

Detectives from the New South Wales State Crime Command’s Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad started an investigation after the infant suffered a seizure on March 10.

The couple appeared briefly at Waverley Local Court on Wednesday when their case was adjourned to the Downing Centre on July 31.

They held hands and left the court together without commenting, shares Daily Mail.

The parents are charged with failing to provide for a child, causing damage or serious injury and reckless grievous bodily harm.

Police allege the couple ‘did have parental responsibility for (the child) and without reasonable excuse, recklessly failed to provide for (the child) with the necessities of life, which caused a danger of serious injury to (the child).’

Both parents have pleaded not guilty.

An apprehended violence order has been filed on behalf of the 20-month-old against her parents.

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

More info available on The Vegan Society page.

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  • You would know if your child was not thriving. A 20mth old that looked like a 3mth old. That is disgusting. I dont see the love or the care there at all.


  • That poor little bubba. They do have a right to give their child a vegan diet, however they need to do it right. They should have researched it and spoken to a dietician. They also should have noticed before that poor child got that bad. They deserve jail time, even if it is for sheer stupidity.


  • Not sure if these parents were genuinely ignorant and genuinely thought they were doing the best for their child and if I should feel sorry for them. Because I really want to slap them! How can you think what you’re doing is ok if the child is so sick?! Lock them up and throw away the key


  • I am wondering if this child has been vaccinated at all. Unless the baby was still being breastfed when vaccinated the Dr. might have noticed it. For a 20 month toddler to the the size of a 3 month old baby surely the parents knew that something was seriously wrong before she was 20 months. Not seeking treatment or advice for that long is neglect. She wouldn’t have been getting enough nourishment to sustain brain or muscle development. I wonder if she is crawling or walking yet.


  • A vegan diet for adults is ok as they can verbalise and react when they don’t feel right. Small children are incapable


  • It’s okay for the parents to go on a strict vegan diet but not a youngster. I hope the little girl is able to overcome the problems inflicted on her by her so called parents


  • OMG, I hope this small child recovers and is okay. These parents are neglectful and should be made to understand that. It is not okay. A growing child needs all the nutrients. I’m glad this was uncovered.


  • The sad thing is, these parents will argue they neglected their child and argue they were doing what they thought best. Sad they couldn’t look and see their child for what she really was, under weight, under height with medixal issues all because if a vegan diet


  • Poor little girl. They would have thought they were doing the right thing, but come on, surely they would have realised something was wrong with her.


  • They probably thought they were doing the right thing at the start, but surely they noticed something was wrong?


  • Poor child! No kid should be forced to follow a diet that is chosen by adults (i.e. not necessary)! I sincerely hope that child gets the help they need and can recover and begin to thrive.


  • Poor child – hopefully will now get the attention and care and food management that is needed for a growing body. Seems so strange that no medical professionals saw this deterioration in health and failure to thrive? Were normal milestone medical checks done?


  • We are vegetarians and my youngest has a sensibility to diary products (responds with severe diarrhea to any milk products), so her diet is nearly vegan too, except that she eats eggs and honey. I make sure indeed she eats enough beans, legumes, eggs, tempeh and nuts and also give a multi vitamin and a probiotic daily


  • I do not think punishing them will help anyone, I am sure they are suffering enough. I would like to know how they made this mistake, it sounds like the child just did not eat enough food full stop. No need to blame the vegan diet, children can get sick no matter what diet, there needs to be further investigation to the lead up to the death.


  • my brother and sister in law are both vegan until she fell pregnant and was breast feeding, then they have allowed their children to eat whatever they want, they are leaving it up to the children to decide what “diet” they want to follow, so much respect for them because of this decision!


  • This is awful and you have to wonder what other people in this childs life were saying or doing. If the child was in this poor state surely it was obvious to everyone that something was wrong.


  • Yes it is neglect. Despite their beliefs about food and diets surely they could see that she had failure to thrive?


  • Disgusting to think the poor child was the size of a 3 month old at 20 months and the parents continued with this ‘diet’. It boggles my mind to think they believe they did nothing wrong!!!


  • I cannot believe these parents did this to their child. That is insane.

    • Yes I feel sorry for the child, poor thing.


  • How could they not know something was wrong with their child. Did they see a paediatrician? I hope the little girl gets better now that she is getting medical help.

    • This baffles me too! Where were the health checks and the warning systems? So alarming!


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