Could the rising cases of rickets and Vitamin D deficiency be mistaken for child abuse as parents are accused of harming their children?
Parents are being wrongly accused of abuse because of an undiagnosed epidemic of rickets among very young children, scientists claim.Cases of the illness, which is caused by a lack of vitamin D, have soared in the past decade due to poor diet and lifestyle habits.In very young children, the condition leads to their bones breaking very easily and can also trigger fatal bleeds in the brain.Scientists from Sheffield Children’s Hospital and London’s Barts hospital believe that parents are mistakenly being accused of hurting or shaking babies whose injuries were actually caused by rickets.
Last month, the parents of Jayden Wray were cleared of murder at the Old Bailey after their son, who died at four months from head injuries, was found to have had the illness. It was discovered that his mother, who was 16 when he was born, had a severe vitamin D deficiency that would have been passed to him, causing injuries that led to his death.Dr Marta Cohen, of Sheffield Children’s Hospital, said it was likely that many children suffering from rickets had wrongly been placed into foster homes because their parents had been suspected of abuse.She told BBC Radio 4: ‘If you have bones that fracture easily they will fracture with any normal movement. Like trying to put a babygrow on a baby, you will twist the arm.
One could argue as many do, that a mother who has not taken care of her health while pregnant and breast feeding as well as parents feeding a bad diet to a child and not encouraging regular exercise is in itself child abuse. This shows there needs to be much more education on Vitamin D deficiency, rickets and preventative measures to take.