High chairs give young kids a spot during family
High chairs are an essential tool for helping tots
join in family meals until they're big enough to pull up a chair.
Mealtime is an important part of socialization, and there are high chairs to
see your child through every stage of eating, including those first finger
foods, the picky toddler years, preschool and even beyond.
chair worth considering should keep your child safe and comfortable, and it
should also be easy to clean and maintain. Since high chairs have a longer
usable lifespan than many other kinds of baby gear, design may also be an
important consideration -- after all, you'll be staring at whatever you choose
for at least two or three years.
There is a wide price range for high chairs. Basic
models can be $50 or even cheaper, while others can top $200, $300, even $400.
Typically, spending a bit extra buys you better materials and a sleeker design;
it may also add features such as more adjustability or the ability to convert
to a regular chair to accommodate children for longer as they grow. Pricier
chairs are also more likely to fold for easier storage.
Types of High Chairs
Full-sized High Chairs
These are meant to be permanent fixtures in your kitchen or dining room. Traditional high chairs boost babies and toddlers to the height of a standard dining room table, though many are height-adjustable. Most include an attachable tray for children to eat from, though some may allow parents to omit the tray and use their table's eating surface instead.Convertible High Chairs
This type of chair tends to be more expensive, but also has the longest useful life. These often can convert from baby seats, to toddler seats, to traditional chairs for years of use. Some can even seat two children at once; thus saving money and space. Portable High Chairs
A terrific choice for travel, to keep at grandma's house, or for small spaces, portable high chairs are lightweight and compact. Some portable high chairs sit directly on top of an existing dining chair, boosting babies and toddlers, while others hook on to the tabletop instead. There are even fabric harnesses that attach to chair backs and fold up inside a diaper bag. Expect to spend anywhere from $20 to $80 on a portable high chair, with hook-on chairs being slightly more expensive than boosters.
Of course, high chairs are only one of your baby
needs. We have recently updated all of our baby reports, so before you buy any
other baby gear check out our other reports on baby monitors, portable cribs, baby gates, baby carriers, baby swings, car seats and strollers.
inspect secondhand high chairs for safety, recalls
Be wary of secondhand high chairs. Newer seats usually meet more
stringent safety standards, and plastic or wood can also degrade and crack over
time, spurring potential safety issues. Be sure to thoroughly check a high chair
if you do buy secondhand, and make sure it hasn't been recalled by searching
the Consumer Protection Safety Commission website. In one recent example,
Safety 1st recalled about 35,000 Decor Wood high chairs in
2015 because children could remove the trays themselves and fall out.
Finding The Best High Chairs
Several experts have conducted comparative, hands-on tests of high
chairs. The best resources include reviews and ratings by BabyGearLab.com,
TheNightlight.com and ConsumerReports.org. Reviews and ratings that include
parent feedback, including resources from "Baby Bargains," LuciesList.com and
BabyCenter.com, are also useful. Parents' reviews from Amazon.com,
Target.com and BabiesRUs.com provide real-world perspectives on high chairs. We
considered reviewers' opinions on ease of use and features while evaluating our
sources to help you find the best high chairs.
Reviewers say the OXO Tot Seedling (Est. $100) provides admirable
features and ease of use without forcing parents to empty out their wallet.
It's suitable for children from 4 months to 3 years and comes with blue, green,
mocha or graphite cushions and either a light or dark gray frame.
Ease of use is outstanding on the Seedling,
reviewers report. The straps can easily be removed for extra cleaning, and the
wipeable cushions can also be thrown in the washing machine. In tests by
TheNightlight.com, the cushions easily repelled pasta sauce, chocolate milk and
mashed green beans. Parents say the seat adjusts easily, and they love being
able to remove the tray with one hand. The tray also doesn't tip over when it's
sitting on its own, better containing messes while parents tend to other
The Seedling also has some extra features more
common on pricier chairs. There are five height settings, three seat recline positions, and a tray liner that is
dishwasher-safe. A five-point harness keeps kids safe, and the tray can even be
stored on the back of the seat legs. One major criticism is the amount of room
the Seedling takes up, however: As testers with BabyGearLab.com note, the
wide-set legs eat up a lot of floor space. The Seedling also doesn't fold flat
Parents who want a fully featured high chair they
can use from birth have a formidable option in the Peg Perego Siesta (Est. $300) as long as they're willing to pay the premium price.
Like the OXO Tot Seedling, it's suitable until roughly age 3, and comes in
several colors including gray, green, raspberry and orange.
Testers with Baby Gear Lab say the Siesta boasts
durable leather-like fabric that is extremely easy to wipe clean, though they
say the chair's crevices may harbor some sneaky crumbs. The tray and tray liner
are also easy to wipe and can be put in the dishwasher. Parents say the seat
adjusts smoothly and easily, and it goes high enough to raise tots to eat
alongside families with counter-height tables. Some say the tray still requires
two hands to slide in and out, however.
The Siesta really shines when it comes to
adjustability: There are nine height positions, five recline positions and a
three-position footrest. One of the recline positions
is completely flat, making the Siesta suitable for the smallest babies to lie
or snooze in. Parents can purchase a High Chair Play Bar (Est. $50)
to make the high chair into more of a play seat. Other features include a
five-point harness, a large storage pocket on the back of the seat and
auto-lock casters that keep the Siesta still until parents want to move it.
Though Baby Gear Lab's testers warn that the chair has a large footprint, it
does fold flat for storage and can stand when folded.
If you prefer a wooden high chair, the Stokke Tripp Trapp (Est. $250) is a highly adjustable and ergonomic seat that grows with
children from about 6 months to adulthood. The Tripp Trapp's unusual design
brings your baby straight to the table for family dining, but optional
accessories can make it a more traditional high chair. Parents like its modern
look, wide choice of colors and sturdy build, which they say help justify the high
Reviewers say the Stokke Tripp Trapp chair is very easy to use. Made of
solid wood, the Tripp Trapp wipes clean with a damp cloth, and reviewers say
there are few cracks and crevices where food gets stuck. They also say height
adjustments are simple. The Tripp Trapp does not have a tray; instead, it's
designed to be pulled up to the table like any other chair. Without a tray,
however, messes end up on the table and floor. This can be remedied with the
purchase of the Stokke Tray (Est. $50), which turns the
Tripp Trapp into a traditional high chair.
The Tripp Trapp
is built to support children from the time they can sit up unaided -- about 6
to 9 months -- until adulthood with a fully adjustable seat height and depth,
as well as an adjustable footrest. An included five-point harness attaches to
the seatback to secure babies and can be removed for older children. The Stokke Tripp Trapp Baby Set (Est. $70) provides extra security for
babies with a high back, solid plastic yoke between the legs and across the
midline, and extended gliders.
convertible high chairs
Convertible high chairs are a convenient and
potentially money-saving way to get more use out of your high chair. These
chairs typically become a booster seat for an older child who no longer needs a
standalone high chair with a tray; some even become child seats for older kids.
Some may allow use by two children at once in different modes, but double-check
before you buy.
The Graco Blossom 4-in-1 Seating System earns best-reviewed status because it's one of the
most versatile high chairs available. Graco markets it as the only high chair
you will ever need, even for two children, and many parents and reviewers
agree. In its various configurations, it can accommodate newborns, toddlers and
children up to a whopping 60 pounds. It's also available in at least a
half-dozen colors and patterns.
Reviewers say the Blossom is easy to maneuver
around the house, even over carpet. Cleaning is a breeze since there are no
crevices where food can get trapped. The straps and seat cushion can be removed
for cleaning, the large food tray has a removable insert and the entire food
tray removes with one hand. Parents find it easy to get children in and out of
the seat, and like that they don't have to remove the tray to do so. However,
the post that sits between the child's legs is attached to the tray rather than
the seat, which some reviewers dislike. As testers with Baby Gear Lab note, it
makes the tray heavy and means babies can slide down a bit once the tray is
removed. And, while the tray is dishwasher-safe, it may not fit in all
dishwashers because of that attached seat post.
As a traditional high chair, the Blossom can
accommodate a child up to 40 pounds, but the similarity to a traditional high
chair ends there. A three-position recline, infant support pillow and
five-point harness make it suitable from birth for napping and bottle-feeding.
The booster and back support portions of the chair can be removed from base and
secured to a dining chair, creating a fully backed booster seat for younger
babies. The back support can also be removed, converting the Blossom to a
toddler booster. The chair base can be used as a youth seat for a child up to
60 pounds. Best of all, the infant booster can be used at the same time as the
youth seat, and the toddler booster can be used at the same time as the high
chair. The Blossom's harness has two height positions and can convert to a
three-point harness for older children. Baby Gear Lab's testers praise the
seat's wheels, saying they make it easy to maneuver, but note the Blossom has a
large footprint and does not fold flat for storage.
For parents looking for a less-pricey convertible
high chair, reviewers recommend the Ingenuity Trio 3-in-1 Deluxe High Chair (Est. $80). It has three modes that are suitable from 6
months up to 50 pounds and is available in a handful of patterns with beige or
Most reviewers say the Trio is easy to clean, with
a dishwasher-safe tray and tray insert that can be quickly wiped down. The seat
pad and straps are also wipeable and machine washable, though a few parents say
crumbs may get lost in seat crevices. They like being able to remove the tray
with one hand, though. Experts say it's easy to convert the chair between high-chair and booster modes.
The Trio can be used three different ways: as a
traditional high chair, a toddler booster that can be strapped to a regular
dining chair, and as a stand-alone child seat. The first two modes have a
five-point harness, while the child seat has a three-point harness. The booster
and child seat can be used at the same time. The high chair and toddler booster
have three recline positions, and the tray can be locked in four positions to
accommodate growing children. Experts wish for an adjustable footrest and say
the attached wheels aren't the smoothest. This seat also does not fold flat for
storage, but it has a small footprint even in full high-chair mode.