Choices abound, from price and features to form and style
Given the many types of high chairs
available, parents easily can find a model that meets their functional and
aesthetic needs. Safety is a primary consideration, of course. Other common criteria:
price, how it fits into your living space, your baby's age and feeding stage,
intended use and how it looks in your home.
When does a higher price buy more?
Like all baby and child products, the
functional lifespan of high chairs is only as long as that of the child's first
years. Traditional high chairs are usually designed to accommodate children
from infancy (0 to 6 months) through 3 years of age. But older children will
need a booster seat until they are tall enough to sit in a chair comfortably. It
may be worth it to spend more on a convertible high chair that
transitions into a booster and/or a child seat.
What features do you really need?
- If you intend to use
the high chair for small babies (newborn to 6 months) or for bottle feeding and
look for a high chair that reclines and provides infant support.
- If you want to be
able to move the high chair about, you need a model with good wheels that also
- If you want a chair
that can seat the baby at the table, look for a high chair that has adjustable
height positions and that doesn't have a seat design that prevents it from
being pulled up to the table.
- If you want to feed
your baby at counter height, you will need to find a chair with a
relatively high top height position.
- If you want to be
able to entertain baby in the high chair, look for a seat with a large tray
table that can hold lots of toys.
Try it and check
it before you buy it
No matter what
features you choose, a good high chair in any category will be sturdy and
functional even if you have to operate it with one hand tied behind your back. No
matter what claims companies make about the one-hand operable features the seat
may have, user reviews reveal that these claims do not always hold true. It is
easy to get overwhelmed in the baby gear department, so make a checklist:
the wheels roll easily and lock securely?
the tray table remove easily with one hand?
the tray insert secure enough to prevent a child from removing it?
the frame's folding mechanism work?
the harness be adjusted and secured easily?
the chair easy to clean? Check for:
easy to wipe surface
and crannies where food could hide
insert that will fit in your dishwasher
Look for these safety features
Falls are the most
common form of high chair injuries. Falls occur when an infant or toddler slips
out of or off of the seat or when the chair tips. Features that distinguish the
safest high chairs include:
- A wide, stable base
and sturdy build
wheels must lock securely
chair should not tip if you apply weight to the footrest
high chairs need to have a secure locking system to prevent accidental
- A passive restraint
crotch post or T-bar: The crotch restraint should come up between the child's legs to prevent them
from slipping out of the chair.
- A three-point or
better yet, a five-point harness: The best harness restraint systems connect
low on the frame of the chair, are easy to operate and cannot be opened by the
- The Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association
(JPMA) seal of approval: This means the high chair is certified for compliance
with ASTM International specifications. Compliance is voluntary. High chairs
meet drop-test criteria, have no sharp edges and include warnings about proper
use, among other things.
wary of second-hand seats
Newer seats usually meet more stringent
standards and have a greater number of features. In addition, after five years
or so, plastic or wood can degrade and crack, spurring potential safety issues.
Be sure to check all structural aspects of a chair you are considering if you
decide to go the second-hand route. Also, older models of current high chairs
may not have the same safety and usability features on the current editions.
Older chairs may also have been recalled, since recalls are usually retroactive
by several model years.