Choosing the right high chair can help babies join in family meal times from the time they are infants until they are ready to pull a chair up to the table with the rest of the big people. Meal times are an important part of socialization and there are high chairs to see your child through every stage of eating.
Any high chair worth considering will do two things well: keep your baby safe and comfortable, and be easy to clean and maintain. Given that the high chair will be a kitchen and/or dining room fixture for the next two to five years, parents should consider function and design as they would when buying any other piece of furniture. They should also consider whether future family additions might use the chair.
There are four essential high chair styles: basic, wooden, convertible and space-saving. Basic high chairs have a metal frame buffered by plastic molding, seat and tray. Brands and models are distinguished mainly by features: recline options, height adjustability, removable trays and tray inserts, seat cushioning, wheels, fold-ability and even built-in toys.
Convertible high chairs are a step up from traditional models. These high chairs are designed to evolve with the baby through various feeding stages -- converting from infant high chair to toddler seat, and in some cases to an adult seat. Space-saving high chair models do away with the tray and attach directly to the kitchen table or chair, bringing your baby closer to family and food. Other higher-end chairs are designed to fold compactly for easy storage or transit.
A good high chair must be sturdy and functional, even if you have to operate it with one hand tied behind your back. 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 highchairs include: stable bases to prevent tipping; five-point safety harness systems that restrain at the shoulders, around the waist, and through the legs; a passive-restraint T-bar or post that keeps the baby from slipping out of the chair; and, lockable wheels when applicable.
But remember: A restraint system only works if you use it. Always use harnesses and other restraints when children are in the chair. Be sure all parts of the chair are fully locked and away from any objects that a child could tip. pull over or push against.
ConsumerSearch has evaluated current reviews of high chairs by both experts and consumers to determine the best high chairs based on their overall safety, ease of use, lifestyle features and benefits, as well as brand quality.