Choosing the Right Car Seat

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.

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Diapers and Changing Tables

Diaper Choices

If you have a dwarf child, you most likely will be using the same size diapers for a lot longer than you might expect! It’s probably worth the effort and expense to try a couple different brands to see which one works best for your child. For both of our children (both dwarf and average height), we preferred Pampers Swaddlers and Pamper Baby Dry. For pull-ups, we also tried both the Pampers Easy-Ups and Huggies Pull-Ups and greatly preferred the Pampers.

Most likely you will start in the preemie/newborn size and then stay in Size 1 for a while. The Diaper Sizes Guide can help you determine when to move to the next size and also which brand might work for your child’s weight. They recently added a list of Current Amazon Diaper Coupons and Current Amazon Formula Coupons.

It is a little like Coke vs Pepsi, some parents prefer Pampers while others prefer Huggies. At least for us, we found that Pampers diapers and pull-ups worked out much better.

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Getting Ready for Kindergarten

Just thought I’d remind those POLPs getting ready for Kindergarten enrollment for next year— start preparing NOW for school.

Whether it’s IEPs or 504’s that you will need for next year, you should meet with the staff and/or administration now to handle the accessibility and inclusion issues. It can take a while for everything to be set in place for your child. As an LP POLP, who is highly organized and diligent about getting everything ready for school for my child, it still took the school 9 months to get everything in place. And I met with every person from the teacher to the principal, to the director of special education, and the ADA committee building compliance person. Yes, there can be such bureaucracy. Every single month, I reviewed things with them. But, things get in the way like budget cuts, communication breakdown, red tape, etc.

If you can help speed things up with the process:

Playground

The Kettler Bike are cool because they are sturdy and adjustable. We found that you can even cut the tubing a bit and drill another hole or two into the seat adjustment to fit an LP.

The Mini Kick Scooter is great too because it has this lean-and-steer mechanism that helps kids steer it easier. The scooter is super light and easy to carry. We bought our son a helmet even though he only travels 20 feet a minute. It helps the school administration know he’s safe.Read More

Fashion: You’d better work it!

No. There is no special store for dwarf clothes or shoes. And most of us cannot afford fully custom tailored items. But, be glad that we really WEAR our shoes and clothes for a long time versus those sprouting AH kids! Some things to remember when purchasing clothes for most LPs:

  • Separates work better than sets.  We are traditionally a different size on top than on bottom.  For example, our son is 9-12 months on the bottom and 2T on top.
  • 3/4 sleeves work excellent as full long sleeves.
  • When you can’t alter sleeves, you can always fold them (3-4 folds usually do it) or get some of that Heat N’ Bond stuff.  It works great in a pinch!
  • Capri pants or jeans work great! They usually don’t need any alterations because they hit just at the ankle or foot.

Can’t vs. Shouldn’t

You know, talking about things LP kids can’t do versus shouldn’t reminds me of a recent conversation. A mom at an LPA regional cornered me recently to challenge what I contributed in a POLP workshop. She had a 6 1/2 yr. old achon daughter and had never heard of the Health Supervision Guidelines for Achondroplasia.

This 30 yr. study of 100 achondroplastic dwarfs was completely foreign to her yet she was active in LPA and lived in one of the most active districts in the organization.

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