Italian vegan parents investigated for infant neglect

Italian police are investigating the parents of an 11 month old baby for neglect resulting from the child suffering from severe malnutrition. The UK Telegraph, the couple (who reside in the Tuscan city of Pisa) rushed their baby to the hospital in Cisanello in which their son is in critical condition.

When the baby arrived, according to the Telegraph, pediatrician Giovanni Federico noted that he couldn’t crawl or sit up. The baby was also extremely malnourished showing signs of a lack of Vitamin B12, iron and vitamin D in which the former is found in fish, meat, eggs and milk. The baby’s parents follow a vegan diet which means they do not consume meat, eggs, or dairy products and put their baby on a vegan diet once their son could eat solid foods. The baby would not eat the vegetables give to him so the parents resorted to strictly breast milk which, according to doctors, lacked necessary vitamins for their son’s development.

The parents were very remorseful about what happened and agreed to give the baby meat and fish once he recovered. They had no idea that their diet could have such detrimental effects on their baby. Unfortunately, their son is in critical condition but the doctor is optimistic he will recover. The parents will probably be charged with neglect as the Pisa prosecutor’s office is investigating if the parent’s were negligent and if the baby was seen by a pediatrician.

I realize there are parents who want their kids to be vegans and seek to feed their children according to their ethics. However, in this case the parents were negligent and my guess is that they did not consult a pediatrician when making the decision to put their child on a vegan diet. The vegan diet may work for some people but clearly not in the care of children. Unfortunately, this is not the first time this has happened and the Italian parents are lucky. Many babies and young children put on vegan diets have died or suffered serious health effects.