THE parents of a Down syndrome girl have caused an outcry by subjecting their daughter to cosmetic surgery to improve her appearance. The girl had had "radical and painful" cosmetic surgery three times by the time she was five so she could "fit in" with her peers, the Daily Mail newspaper in Britain reported yesterday. Parents of another girl told the paper that they were also considering altering her appearance in the future so she could be more "accepted". Critics in the UK criticised the parents, with some even saying the procedures were tantamount to child abuse. However the families hit back, saying that no one complained when "normal" children had their ears pinned back. "Why should it be any different for a Downs child?" asked Kim Bussey, the mother of Georgia. President of the Queensland Down Syndrome Association Sandra Mayberry said the topic was often raised in local circles but she was not aware of any Queensland children having such surgery. "We don't have a policy statement for this," she said. "If parents are going to do something like that it would be their own personal choice." Mrs Bussey said she and her husband David were motivated by love for their child and deliberated for a year before putting her through the ordeal. In the first procedure, Georgia's tongue was reduced to stop it protruding, according to the paper. Then folds of skin were removed from the inner corners of her eyes to take away the "slantiness characteristic" of Down syndrome. Finally she had surgery to stop her ears sticking out. Mrs Bussey said that society often judged people on the way they looked. "Society is not going to change overnight Ã¢Â€Â“ so Georgia has to fit into society, rather than society fitting into the way she is," she said. Another couple, Laurence and Chelsea Kirwan, told the newspaper they were considering surgical procedures for their 2-year-old Down syndrome daughter Ophelia. Dr Kirwan, a world-renowned plastic surgeon, said they would make that decision if Ophelia reached the age of 18 and was being unfairly judged on how she looked. Mrs Kirwan said: "It just isn't right that Ophelia and others like her should be judged on how they look Ã¢Â€Â“ particularly if they are turned down for a good job that they could handle. It's a matter of self-esteem: if you're not happy with yourself then why shouldn't you fix something? All I want is for Ophelia to be happy." The UK Down's Syndrome Association refrained from criticising the families but said no one should have to have an operation to make them more visually acceptable to society.