24/09/2012 12:48 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

World's Smallest Girl Starts Primary School


For most parents, a child's first day at school is a massive milestone. But for Emma Newman and Scott Garside, it really is a momentous event.

Their daughter Charlotte, five, is the world's smallest girl, and has just taken an enormous step, by attending her first day at primary school and joining children her own age in the classroom for the first time

Charlotte, who is just 68cm tall and weighs less than nine pounds, is no bigger than a newborn and is smaller than her favourite teddy. She was born with a form of Primoridial Dwarfism so rare that doctors don't even have a name for it.

But despite being warned she could die before the age of one, Charlotte has developed into a boisterous and inquisitive girl.

Emma, 30, from Withernsea, East Yorks, says: "Although Charlotte is a one in a million baby with some health problems, she is not the sort of person who will fade into the background.


She may be small but she has a massive personality and wants to do everything a normal five-year-old does. She is very inquisitive and the school have already told us she has a learning age of a three-year-old, which is higher than we thought.


"Of course I was worried she could get hurt by the other children, but she has her own tutor look after her and she's not as fragile as you'd think."

World's smallest girl starts primary school Barcroft

When she was born, Charlotte weighed less than 2lbs, measured 25cm and had to be dressed in dolls' clothes. Emma carried her tiny daughter around in the front pocket of her hoodie and put her in nappies the size of a credit card.

Now measuring less than 70cm, she still wears clothes for newborns and is even dwarfed by the family's pet cat.

But ask sisters Chloe, 15, Sabrina, 12, or Sophie, eight, and they will tell you she certainly makes her presence felt!

"She might look like a doll but she's made of strong stuff. She loves tearing around the house and being thrown in the air," says Chloe.


When people first meet her they are afraid she might break if they touch her - but she's quite scrappy and doesn't sit still for a second.


As well as a weakened immune system and cysts on her liver, Charlotte's mental and physical development has been delayed. But Scott, 26, and Emma, feel the best way to see what Charlotte is capable of is by testing her in mainstream education.

"There are a lot of unknowns but Charlotte has a way of surprising you when you least expect it. We didn't know if she would live this long," explains Emma.

"We didn't know if she would be able to interact with people and there have been times when we thought we might lose her. But she keeps on thriving and I can't wait to see what the next year brings."

Good luck at school Charlotte!

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