Smallest girl in the world

Posted 30 Jul 2011 in Genetic Maladies

The British toddler who stands at 22in and may not grow much taller


Young Charlotte Garside loves playing with her cuddly toys and dolls like any two-year-old girl. But at just 22 inches tall, the toddler is smaller than many of her playthings.

The youngster, who lives with her family in a small seaside village near Hull, has a rare form of primordial dwarfism that affects only 100 people in the world.

She is currently half the height she should be and doctors have told her parents, Scott and Emma, they don't know if she will grow much taller.


Charlotte, 2, plays with her nursery friend Dexter. At 23 inches tall she is far smaller than her peers

Charlotte's life story is the subject of a documentary to be broadcast on Five tonight as part of the channel's Extraordinary People series.

Her mother Emma Newman, 28, said: 'Our daughter has a form of primordial dwarfism, but doctors have not been able to pin it down exactly. It may be that Charlotte is the only person in the world with her subtype.'

Emma and her partner Scott Garside, 24, said they didn't realise there was anything wrong with Charlotte after she was born four week premature.

'We didn't think she looked any different,' Emma told the Mail Online.

'We just knew that she was very small. She was so tiny the only clothes that would fit her were doll's clothes. But then the doctors said Charlotte had a serious condition but they weren't sure what it was.'

Three months later a geneticist diagnosed dwarfism. Charlotte is unable to eat and digest food and instead is fed a milk formula through a gastric tube. She weighed just 1lb 1oz at birth and aged two weighs 7lb 8oz, which is the same as a newborn baby.

'Charlotte is fed through the tube just over 11 hours each day,' Emma said.

'We place her in a travel cot when she is being fed and then she can play with her sisters.'

Charlotte can crawl but can't walk unaided because of a problem with her Achilles tendons

Charlotte has three old sisters, Chloe 13, Sabrina, 10 and Sophie six, none of whom have the condition.

'They love Charlotte to pieces and they play with her all the time,' Emma said fondly.

'The past few years have been hardest on them really as they've watched us go in and out of hospital with Charlotte. Charlotte used to need treatment for something every three months but she hasn't been in since January.'

Emma said one of the more difficult things to deal with was how people reacted in the outside world.

'We get annoyed when people just stare at us,' she said.

'We would much prefer people to come up to us and ask us about Charlotte instead.'

One lifeline for the family has been the Walking with Giants Foundation, which holds an annual event for children with primordial dwarfism.

'The Foundation really has been one of the best things for us over the last few years,' Emma said.

'They have given us a lot of help and it has been so good meeting other families who are in the same situation as us.'

Charlotte meanwhile is progressing well since her last hospital visit.

'Charlotte is crawling now, although she won't be able to walk until she has surgery on her Achilles tendons,' Emma said.

'She is a happy child and goes to a private nursery two days a week. We're hoping she may even go to a mainstream school in a few years' time.'

However, Emma said she and Charlotte's builder father Scott didn't like to look too far into the future.

'We are just enjoying having Charlotte with us - she is such a bundle of energy,' Emma said.

'We just hope her future will be a nice one.'



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