How to Buy a High Chair

Updated February 28, 2014

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 climbing out and falling.
  • Wheels that lock. Wheels are a great feature for moving the chair 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 chair steady so it doesn't tip, even if baby gets squirmy.
  • A crotch post. A passive crotch post keeps baby from sliding between the tray and seat, a common source of injuries.
  • A locking frame. Any high chair that folds should have secure locks when it's open to keep it from collapsing.
  • One-handed usage features. That way you can hold baby while getting the high chair ready, something that makes life easier for many parents.
  • Wipe-clean materials. Fancy fabrics may look nice, but they can be a nightmare to keep clean. Seat inserts are best if they're machine-washable. Trays and inserts should be dishwasher-safe. Harnesses should detach for washing.

Know before you go

  • Do you want to use the chair from birth? Look for a high chair that reclines and provides infant support.
  • Are you short of space? Look for a portable or space-saver high chair. Portable chairs fold flat and have their own storage. Space-saver chairs fold up and can be stored in a closet or a narrow storage area like beside a fridge.
  • Do you want to bring baby 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.
  • 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.

Buying tactics and strategies

Be wary of secondhand high chairs. 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 secondhand route. Older models of current high chairs may not have the same safety and usability features as current editions and may also have been recalled, since recalls are usually retroactive by several model years.