Cute baby competition turns ugly

A cute baby search has turned nasty with children as young as a few months old being the target of malicious comments over their appearance.

The Bonds Baby Search is supposed to be about finding cute babies from around Australia to feature in the 2011 Bonds Baby Campaign.

Parents, however, have been stunned by negative comments towards their babies on the social networking site Facebook.

Photos of babies two-years-old and younger can be uploaded and other people can vote for them to be awarded the cutest.

When some enthusiastic parents encouraged others to vote for their child on the Facebook Bonds Bumps & Baby site, they were taunted with nasty comments.

One comment under a photo said "A child only a mother could love". Another baby was called an "ugly duckling."

The comment that made people particularly irate was directed at Eurasian baby Lilli. Someone posted a comment under her picture, saying "Bonds Australia not Asia".

The two-year-old's mother Pippa Taylor from Brisbane's east told the Courier Mail that she was floored when she read the comment.

"It's almost like an American beauty pageant where the women get their claws out," Ms Taylor said.

She was so angry, she sent some of the comments to police.

A record 52,000 bubs have been entered in the annual Bonds Baby Search, up from 17,000 last year.

The competition has been running since 2006 however this is the first People's Choice component.

The People's Choice component opened on Monday, and when parents directed friends and family to the site to vote for their baby, the site was unable to cope.

The site went meltdown, allowing people to vote for some babies but not others, leading to angry comments on the Bonds Facebook page.

Yesterday Bonds posted a warning on its Facebook site saying that any bullying and negative comments about children would be removed.