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To think this is child abuse

(191 Posts)
Shelvesoutofbooks Wed 22-Mar-17 16:42:49

Warning as this is controversial.
Someone who I know (will try to keep it vague so I wouldn't out myself) has a child who recently ended up in a&e for passing out. This is the 4th time this happened in last 2 weeks but the child has had a fever so has been brought in to a&e. Said child is 3year old and weighs 8.5 kilo and is strictly fed an organic vegan diet. Child attends nursery 5 mornings a week for 3 hrs a day and has lunch there. A vegetarian nursery that has been given the instructions not to give the DC any dairy.

The DC is happy to eat meat and other animal products as when I saw the child at gatherings/parties it has eaten anything with the child's mother not saying anything. But still 98% of the time the child has an extremely healthy diet. (I am very certain of this as)

When the child was brought to a&e and the doctor questioned why the DC was underweight so much the mother simply claimed the child was a fussy eater and refuses to eat. When asked what kind of diet the child has she said everything and that the child is an omnivore.

Now, this was a lie. I was gobsmacked when I heard her say it but didn't want to ask why she was lying.

So far they diagnosed the child with anemia and the child is undergoing dozens of other test to find out "why it refuses to eat". When given some food in the hospital by nurser child happily ate anything it was given.

Ainu to think it's basically child abuse? The poor child is anemic and is passing out because it's not fed properly. I wanted to tell the doctor the mother was lying but my DH said it'd be best to leave it.

I've tried talking to her before how she should be forcing a vegan diet on a child that small but her response was that "meat eaters force their kids to eat meat and other unhealthy stuff, so she can make her kids eat vegan food if she wants to".

Shelvesoutofbooks Wed 22-Mar-17 16:43:27

Sorry for all the spelling mistakes!

Shelvesoutofbooks Wed 22-Mar-17 16:43:47

She shouldn't be forcing*

Bluntness100 Wed 22-Mar-17 16:46:56

I would have said something yes. There is nothing wrong with a vegan diet but if she is unable to feed her child adequately she is effectively starving her own child, possibly to death, due to her own principles, and lying to ensure she can continue.

It's abuse. Pure and simple. She would not be lying if she didn't know what she was doing and that it was wrong.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Wed 22-Mar-17 16:47:18

A vegan diet is perfectly healthy for small children.

What is your relationship with the person, you were in with her with the doctor? How do you know the child is anaemic - did the doctor diagnose this or are you guessing?

Shelvesoutofbooks Wed 22-Mar-17 16:49:40

The doctor said it. Can't state my relationship with the person as it's too revealing.

Broken11Girl Wed 22-Mar-17 16:51:26

That's awful sad

DefinitelyOdd Wed 22-Mar-17 16:51:43

This is actually a form of abuse known as 'faltering growth' abuse. Whether she is deliberately refusing her child food or doing it through misguided principle it is still abuse. (Obviously there are many vegan families that bring children up as vegan who do not have these issues).

I would suggest that you give a heads up to SS who can then look into it. It would probably end up with the mother getting help to ensure that the child eats a nutitionally balanced vegan diet which stops these problems such as fainting and anemia.

flapjackfairy Wed 22-Mar-17 16:52:25

Report to social services.
These cases pop up regularly in the media when a child is found starved to death but no one noticed !?

TheOnlyColditz Wed 22-Mar-17 16:53:38

ring the GPand tell them everything you've told us

Tobuyornot99 Wed 22-Mar-17 16:54:11

Yes that's abuse, if the diet is so limited that the child is now anaemic (I appreciate that not all vegans are, but obviously the vegan lifestyle isn't suitable for this particular child at this particular time). The child has needed urgent medical attention on a few occasions, I'd be making a referral to SS. Her lying suggests she puts her beliefs above her child's wellbeing.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Wed 22-Mar-17 16:54:55

If you are close, and are certain that you have the full story (only you can judge this) then call social services. Anaemia is in no way the normal state to vegans so it sounds like there is either an underlying issue with the child, or she does not understand the vegan diet - is she vegan herself?

If you want to help her don't attack her veganism but read up on it yourself. Things like nut butters are very calorie dense and good for outing on weight. Vegan multivitamins (you can get kids ones) are a good back up. Lots of plant milks are fortified etc.

OfaFrenchmind2 Wed 22-Mar-17 16:55:08

She is prioritising her ideology over the well being of her children, as is evidenced by her lies. She is as bad as faith healing parents letting their children die when they are sick.

SaorAlbaGuBrath Wed 22-Mar-17 16:56:13

It's entirely possible to feed a child properly on a vegan diet. That said in this case it's clearly not happening and the child is suffering as a result. I'd tell either SS or the hospital. I have nothing against being vegan, but I have plenty against people who wilfully make their children ill through malnourishment, whatever they are fed.

TotalPineapple Wed 22-Mar-17 16:57:58

A proper vegan diet can be healthy for small children, so I don't think that in itself is wrong.

Lying to the doctors is wrong.

ImFuckingSpartacus Wed 22-Mar-17 16:58:14

A vegan diet is perfectly healthy for small children

Only a well supplemented and tightly controlled vegan diet. A half assed vegan diet can kill small children.

NotRumpole Wed 22-Mar-17 17:00:09

If the child is actually 3 years old and weighs 8.5kg, the I would expect the hospital will have flagged this up urgently - surprised they didn't keep the child in for urgent investigations. 8.5kg would be a weight that gave cause for concern if the child was 18 months, let alone 3 years

CigarsofthePharoahs Wed 22-Mar-17 17:01:29

It is possible to live well on a vegan diet - by that I mean not losing weight and not being anaemic
Given that the child in question isn't gaining weight as they should and is anaemic, then clearly something is wrong.
Children often are fussy with food, goodness knows both of mine have their moments! However if its got to the point that the child's health, possibly long term, could be affected then I think at the very least it counts as a form of neglect, even if it comes from a very well meaning place.

blueskyinmarch Wed 22-Mar-17 17:03:25

As a social worker it sounds to me like failure to thrive as a result of lack of nutrition through a poor diet. Many well meaning parents believe they are feeding their children a healthy diet but are failing to provide adequate nutrition. This is absolutely not not the preserve of parents who feed their kids crap but intelligent people who believe they are doing the right thing for their children. I would flag it with the health professionals if you can.

Jaysis Wed 22-Mar-17 17:05:15

Child is being starved. Report to SS, tell the doctors, do whatever you need to to ensure this child does not become another Daniel Pelka.

blueskyinmarch Wed 22-Mar-17 17:06:26

Like this report here

Bluntness100 Wed 22-Mar-17 17:07:44

It's the fact she lied that's the fundamental issue here. If she was honest and said yes, he's on a vegan diet it would have helped her child.

She denied her child that help, she told the doctor the child eats normally as such the doctors are of this belief that the child is eating a varied diet and looking for something else.

The lying means to me she knows, and she's willingly and knowingly harming her own child by lying.

MichaelSheensNextDW Wed 22-Mar-17 17:07:57

It needs to be flagged up urgently as otherwise the child will be subjected to invasive testing to explore what clinicians assume to be a malabsorption issue rather than a deficiency in nutritional provision.

CoraPirbright Wed 22-Mar-17 17:08:34

Is the child still in hospital? I would go in on my own, ask to speak to the doctor and explain that the mother lied about the child being an omnivore and just picky. They will definitely have picked up on the fact that the poor kid is eating whatever they are given.

If not, I would contact social services.

kittybiscuits Wed 22-Mar-17 17:10:14

The vegan issue is a red herring. The child is underfed and malnourished and the parent apparently concealed this and lied to health care professionals. That is the real issue. I would inform the hospital and provide accurate information. Anonymously if you choose to do so.

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