Child beauty pageants 'bordering on abuse'

US-style pageants were put under the spotlight in Australia last year when visiting six-year-old reality TV star Eden Wood caused a stir, leading child advocacy groups to call for a ban on the contests because they sexualise minors (MO 4 Aug, 2011).

Now Dr Martina Cartwright (PhD), adjunct professor at the University of Arizona, having spent time watching behind the scenes of the cable TV show Toddlers and Tiaras, has warned some parents are putting their children’s mental and physical health at risk.

“Children may be forced to train beyond their abilities or beget an unrealistic physical