The best high chair has
- A secure
five-point harness. Five-point harnesses
attach around the waist and go over the shoulders to keep baby from falling or
climbing out. Three-point harnesses are more common on portable high chairs,
which may be best for older children who are more stable and less squirmy. Some
chairs include harnesses that will convert from five- to three-point.
that lock. Wheels are a great
feature for moving high chairs around the house or the kitchen, but they should
lock securely so the chair doesn't move when it's not supposed to.
- A wide
base. A wide base helps keep the high chair steady
so it doesn't tip, even if baby gets squirmy. Just be sure the legs aren't so
wide that they pose a trip hazard for other members of the family.
- A crotch
post. A crotch post goes between babies' legs and
keeps them from sliding between the tray and seat, a common source of injuries.
They may be attached to either the seat or the tray; most parents seem to
prefer when they are attached to the seat so they provide extra stability when
the tray is removed, and so the tray doesn't tip over as much when it's placed
on a table.
- A locking
frame. Any high chair that folds should have secure
locks when it's open to keep it from collapsing. Some pricier models may have a
standing fold, meaning they can still stand by themselves when folded.
tray operation. Parents should be able to
slide the tray in and out of place with just one hand. That way you can hold your
baby while getting the high chair ready or clean your baby while removing them,
something that makes life easier for many parents.
materials. Fancy fabrics may look
nice, but they can be a nightmare to keep clean. Seat inserts for smaller
babies are best if they're machine-washable. Trays and tray inserts should be
easy to wipe and dishwasher-safe for deeper cleaning. Harnesses should repel
stains and detach for easier washing.
Know before you go
How long do
you want to use the high chair? For newborns and any babies who
cannot yet hold up their head, look for a high chair that reclines flat. An
infant support pillow is another nice feature for smaller babies who may not
yet be sitting completely unassisted. For older toddlers and preschoolers, look
for a chair that can either convert to a booster or be used as a child seat
that raises kids up to the dining room table.
Are you short
on space? Look for a portable or space-saving high chair. Portable chairs are typically compact
enough for travel or tight storage situations. Space-saving chairs fold up and
can be stored in a closet or a narrow storage area like beside a fridge. Some
can sit directly on a dining room chair, eliminating the need to find a special
area just for the high chair.
Do you want to
bring baby directly to the table? Look for a high chair that has
adjustable height positions and doesn't have armrests that would prevent it
from being pulled up to the table.
Do you want to
feed your baby at counter height? You will need to find a chair with a
relatively high top height position. Another option could be a portable high
chair that hooks onto the edge of the counter.
Do you want to
entertain baby in the high chair? A seat with a large tray table that
can hold lots of toys will make this easier; some even come with toy bars that
are able to integrate into the seat. Consider adding a toy tether such as the Baby Buddy Secure-A-Toy (Est. $4) to keep toys or sippy cups from
hitting the floor every time they're thrown.