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Vegan parents facing prison for child's death

Should vegan parents whose infant died from a nutritional deficiency be sent to prison? In France, a vegan couple who fed their 11-month-old daughter only mother's milk were charged with neglect after their daughter died due to a vitamin deficiency.

Should vegan parents whose infant died from a nutritional deficiency be sent to prison? In France, a vegan couple who fed their 11-month-old daughter only mother's milk were charged with neglect after their daughter died due to a vitamin deficiency. Before you get up in arms, understand that these parents were warned by a doctor that their infant daughter was sick months before her death.
Should vegan parents whose infant died from a nutritional deficiency be sent to prison? In France, a vegan couple who fed their 11-month-old daughter only mother's milk were charged with neglect after their daughter died due to a vitamin deficiency. Before you get up in arms, understand that these parents were warned by a doctor that their infant daughter was sick months before her death.

Need for parental education

It can be argued that feeding your children processed chemically-laden foods is as detrimental to their health as feeding them healthy foods in such an unbalanced way that the children suffer nutritional deficiencies. The French parents started following a vegan diet after they watched a television program about cows being taken to slaughter. They believed that going vegan was a healthy move for themselves and their daughters -- the couple also has a 13-year old daughter who does not suffer nutritional deficiencies -- as well as making the choice to not participate in animal cruelty. The problem, it seems, is that they embarked on a vegan diet without getting guidance on how to ensure their family met their recommended daily intake of nutrients.

Get a second opinion from another health expert

Though it is easy to think these vegans are being persecuted because of their diet, that is only part of the story. The day the couple called emergency services because of their infant's listlessness wasn't their first sign that something was wrong with their daughter, who only weighed about 12 pounds the day she died (16 pounds is about average for infants her age). At the daughter's nine-month check up with the doctor, the parents were advised to hospitalize their daughter because she had bronchitis and was losing weight. The couple opted to "naturally" treat their daughter with clay or cabbage poultices -- recipes they got from books they had on hand. According to the mother's attorney, the couple distrust modern medicine. However, instead of doing their child a disservice by taking advice from books, they should have sought a second opinion from another health professional -- a qualified wholistic doctor or naturopath who specializes in treating patients more naturally.

Outcome for the vegan parents

An autopsy showed that the couple's infant was suffering from a vitamin A and B12 deficiency which experts say increases a child's sensitivity to infection (such as bronchitis) and can be due to an unbalanced diet; the infant was breastfed and the vitamin deficiency can be a result of the mother's unbalanced diet. Though the couple is reported to know now the mistakes they made, they have been charged with "neglect or food deprivation followed by death" and face up to 30 years in prison if convicted.

Let this be a lesson to all of us parents that, in our quest to follow the best practices for our family, we need to do our research and seek guidance from qualified diet and health professionals who can help us avoid unintentionally harming ourselves or our children.

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