Expo cancels appearance of controversial 'Baby Sleep Doctor'

crying baby
crying baby Photo: Getty Images

Melbourne's Pregnancy Babies and Children's Expo has cancelled its presentation by a controversial doctor after wide condemnation from parents and other parenting experts.

Dr Brian Symon first came to the wider public's attention after an article on his baby sleep technique appeared in the Daily Telegraph earlier this week.

In it, he said that parents should put babies as young as four months to bed at 7pm and leave them until 7am, even if they cried continuously for 90 minutes.

Dr Brian Symon
Dr Brian Symon 

He said that his technique has helped 10,000 babies learn to self-settle.

Parents expressed outrage at his methods and bombarded the PBC Expo's Facebook page with complaints over his planned appearance.

The expo organisers today made a statement on their Facebook page confirming that Dr Symon would no longer be speaking at the event.  

"The Pregnancy Babies and Children's Expo has been at the forefront of safety issues for many years, advocating and advising on policy and guidelines across the nursery industry. We never endorse speakers but provide a multi-range of topics and experts to advance knowledge and understanding. Parents are able to make up their own minds and make the choices which are best for them and their family.

"However we have decided to suspend the speaking session of Dr Brian Symon as we believe that the Expo is the wrong environment to deal with the issues that have ignited such divisive views."

The organisers stated that a public forum for all interested parties will be held later in the year, writing, "Clearly this is a passionate topic for many and in the interest of understanding and knowledge we have decided to invite Dr Symon and representatives from all sides of this issue to a public forum later in the year."

The news of the cancellation has been met with praise from parents on the Facebook page, with many thanking the organisers for listening to their concerns.