A mother and father from Sydney’s eastern suburbs have pleaded not guilty to child neglect charges over the treatment of their 20-month-old daughter, who was left malnourished after being fed a strict diet.
The toddler was taken to Sydney Children’s Hospital a month ago after having a seizure.
Police were told she was malnourished, suffered rickets – a preventable bone disease – and her height and weight were markedly low for her age.
It’s believed the toddler’s diet was vegan, and therefore acutely deficient of vitamin D, vitamin B12, zinc and iron.
Rickets is caused by a lack of vitamin D, calcium or phosphorus and can result in soft and weakened bones, fractures, bone and muscle pain, and bone deformities.
The 31-year-old mother clutched her 33-year-old partner’s arm as their lawyers said they were pleading not guilty at Waverley Local Court on Wednesday.
The parents have been charged with failing to provide for a child causing danger of serious injury and reckless grievous bodily harm.
Following an investigation, police arrested a 31-year-old woman and a 33-year-old man at a house in Sydney’s east on Friday.
The couple has been charged with failing to provide for a child causing danger of 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,” NSW Police said in a statement on Wednesday.
The pair were granted strict conditional bail when they were charged last Friday and refused to speak to waiting media when leaving court on Wednesday, shielding their faces as they walked with their lawyers.
An apprehended violence order has been filed on behalf of the 20-month-old against her parents.
The mother and father are due to face the same court again on May 30.