For families living in cramped quarters, a compact, easy-to-store high chair is essential. The best space-saver high chairs either fold down compactly or attach directly to furniture, bringing baby right to the table with the family, then tucking away until the next meal.
The Fisher-Price Space Saver High Chair (*Est. $60), Chicco Polly High Chair (*Est. $140) and the Graco Contempo Highchair (*Est. $120) are designed to accommodate newborns and toddlers alike, with five-point harnesses, padded seats that recline and passive-restraint crotch posts to prevent falls. All fold compactly. However, they differ radically in their design.
The Polly and the Contempo are both free-standing high chairs with wide support at the base to help prevent tip-overs. By comparison, the Fisher-Price Space Saver is a padded baby seat with an attachable tray and a plastic base that attaches to a regular dining chair.
Wheels are also an important feature for some parents. Designed to glide from room to room, the Polly has four casters that glide smoothly over most surfaces and lock securely and easily, reviewers say. The Contempo gets more complaints for its two front wheels, which one parent describes as "having a mind of their own" and other parents say don't lock reliably on hard floor surfaces. Some owners also say that the Contempo's tray insert does not lock to the tray table securely and that children are able to pick it up and fling it across the room, placing anyone in the vicinity of the seat at risk. The Polly has a BPA-free polypropylene feeding tray and the vinyl seat cover is phthalate-free.
We like most of the safety features on the Polly High Chair, but it's worth noting that in July 2012, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced a recall on models manufactured prior to October 2010 due to a risk of lacerations caused by pegs on the back legs of the high chair. The pegs were designed to hold the tray table when it was not in use, but several kids have fallen and been cut on the pegs. Chicco is supplying peg covers to anyone who has a Polly High Chair affected by this recall. This only applies to models manufactured before October, 2010.
In user reviews, the Fisher-Price Space Saver receives almost no ease-of-use complaints. Parents say the straps that attach the seat to the chair are easy to secure. The Space Saver has a smaller tray than most full-size high chairs, but parents say it is well positioned in relation to the child and is easy to remove and clean. The tray stays in a level position when the seat is reclined, which makes it much easier to feed small babies who still recline when being fed.
The Chicco Polly and Graco Contempo both fold to an almost flat position, but parents say the Polly is easier to use. Owners say the Contempo's folding mechanism can be difficult to operate with one hand, while the seat cover is difficult to remove and clean. The Polly's tray table can be removed with one hand and comes with two removable tray liners and two removable vinyl seat covers that wipe clean. The Polly's tray table is larger than the Contempo's, but parents note that this can be an advantage because it catches more food and provides a better play surface.
The Fisher-Price Space Saver, the Chicco Polly, and the Graco Contempo all accommodate children ranging in life stage from newborn to toddler. All three of these seats recline in three positions and have the padding necessary for newborn comfort. The Polly offers seven height adjustments for a good fit at most tables and many countertops; the Contempo offers six height adjustments; and the Space Saver offers three adjustments, once it is mounted on the chair.
For older children, the Space Saver converts to a booster seat, with a weight rating of 50 pounds. The Polly and the Space Saver high chairs also can accommodate bigger kids who need a boost by allowing you to remove the tray and pull the chair up to the table. The Polly's arms fold down, allowing you to slide the seat completely under the table, but the nonremovable armrests on the Space Saver may pose a problem with some tables.
The Chicco Polly, Graco Contempo and Fisher-Price Space Saver high chairs all carry industry standard one-year warranties.
The Fisher-Price Space Saver High Chair (*Est. $60) makes it possible for parents to feed baby without sacrificing any floor space beyond a normal dining chair. Parents find the seat very easy to use and maintain and, with a 50-pound weight rating, the Space Saver will last well into the toddler years. However, if you don't have a sturdy dining chair for the Space Saver or prefer a high chair that folds away, the Polly and the Contempo are good options. There was a 2012 recall of Chicco Polly High Chairs manufactured prior to October 2010, so if you're buying a used chair, check the Chicco website to see if that older model is affected by the recall. More information is available at: http://www.chiccousa.com/safety-recall/polly-highchair.aspx.