It can be very overwhelming for a new parent to choose the many products they need to keep their child safe. The choice is especially daunting for a dwarf parents and parents of a dwarf child!
There are a few key things to keep in mind:
- Your child’s back should be supported at all times.
- Some car seats are very heavy. You may wish to try lifting different brands in the store before purchasing.
- Besides being heavy, some seats are super complicated and difficult to buckle and unbuckle your child.
- The process of securing your car seat in the car can be overwhelming. If you will not be taking your car seat in and out of the car very often, we recommend using the LATCH connection. These are usually easy to connect/disconnect.
- Some car seats recline in both the front and rear-facing position, also called convertible. We preferred to have our child with achondroplasia reclined as long as possible until he gained good head control. We had him reverse seated until age 3, when he started going on the school bus.
- A Back Seat Mirror is a necessity while your child is rear-facing so you can check on them! Also, it keeps them occupied and they feel secure knowing they can see you.
- We had to put a lot of rolled up blankets and support to make sure he wouldn’t flop over. Babies with achondroplasia already have hypotonia (low muscle tone). We needed to find another car seat where he was very secure and didn’t flop over as much. In place of the rolled up blankets, we found the Kiddopotamus Snuzzler to be helpful.
For our first baby shower, we registered for the Graco SnugRide and matching BASE. This worked well for a while as the seat snaps onto the SnugRider Frame was really handy for our trips to the grocery store– no need for an extra grocery cart. The SnugRider Frame provided a lot of room at the bottom basket for all the baby items you bring everywhere. As much as the travel system is cute, it is difficult for an LP parent to lift it in and out of cars. You need a lightweight solution for the car seat and stroller. Also, we found this car seat to be too large for our son who was on the smaller side of the achon chart.
After our experience with the Graco, we researched heavily and found the Combi Shuttle Infant Car Seat and matching base and Cosmo Stroller. This car seat is very light and easy to maneuver. We liked it so much that we bought a set of 2 new ones for our average height child, even knowing that we could only use it for the first year. And after we had our second child, her great grandparents generously purchased us the Combi Twin Sport so we could continue moving the seat from the base to the stroller. Now that both children are no longer using infant seats, we continue to use the twin stroller when needed at amusement parks, on vacation, etc. Both the Combi Single and Combi Twin fold up compact and easily. Note that some of the single Combi strollers have a snack and drink container, the others only have a drink holster. You may want to take that into consideration.
This car seat isn’t very well reviewed on Amazon, mostly because the buckle is difficult to latch. But once we got the hang of it, it was not a problem. One downside to this carseat was that the straps tended to get twisted easily. Our version from a few years ago supported up to about 22 pounds, but the latest model will support 33 pounds. So most likely, you could use this car seat for much longer than one year with your dwarf child. We found the Combi very easy to use for travel, and it was light enough to take through security checkpoints at the airport and carry onto the plane with a child strapped in. One point to keep in mind is that you want your dwarf child’s back to always be supported, especially in a stroller. Umbrella strollers are NOT recommended! For the Combi Cosmo stroller, the back is a little soft and we wanted more support. This was easy to solve by inserting a thick, inexpensive chopping board behind the back area fabric, but we had to remove it every time we wanted to completely fold the seat up. No problem, just take it out and put it in the carry on luggage.
If we were to start over with a brand new dwarf child, we’d probably purchase the Combi Cocorro. It is amazingly light at only 11 pounds which makes carrying it so much easier. And it’s also very compact, you could most likely put 3 of them in the back seat of a sedan.
Entertainment for your Baby!
Our son loved the Tiny Love Take-Along Arch,. It helped keep him entertained and it attaches to a car seat for the car and also to your stroller.
Another idea for keeping your child entertained while rear faced is a tray. We used one on long trips so he could play with cars, do some drawing, and eat snacks.
Toddler Car Seats
Our dwarf child was delayed due to a variety of issues. Therefore, when we graduated from an infant car seat to a toddler car seat we had to take extra precautions. We settled on the Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 Convertible Car Seat(formerly called the Priori), mostly because it had good head support and reclined in the forward sitting position. We used the reclining option very often, especially while our child was sleeping. The Priori is also relatively light and was maneuverable enough to take on airplane trips (but it won’t fit through the X-ray carry on baggage screening!).
For our average height child who is growing very fast, we splurged on the Britax Boulevard Convertible Car Seat Seat. Yes, it is a little pricey, but so far we have been very happy with it. This seat has the head wings to protect your child’s head in the case of a side impact collision. We were initially concerned that having the wings would impede with the child’s field of view, but this has not been a problem. Most importantly, the seat will support 5 to 40 pounds rear-facing and up to 70 pounds front-facing. So by the time our child has outgrown this seat, hopefully we will not need another seat or just a booster.
We loved this car seat so much, we decided to switch out our LP son’s Maxi-Cosi with the Britax. In our experience, we found that he sat even taller and straighter with this seat. It also helped that he was now in the same car seat as his sister. No jealousy about who has the newest car seat! Though, we do miss the recline feature on the Maxi Cosi.
This seat is extremely easy to install using the LATCH system — it’s the easiest one to install/remove from all the seats. However, it is BIG! Most of the toddler seats that have a high upper weight limit are much larger than we’d prefer. We have not yet traveled with the Britax on a plane, so we don’t know at this time how well it will travel. We’ll update this post when we’ve tried it!