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High Chairs Buying Guides

Your child is going to use their high chair or booster seat everyday for two to four years, so make sure it’s durable, comfortable and easy to use.

 

Next to a crib, perhaps no piece of baby gear gets more use than the iconic high chair. So, how do you pick the best high chair or booster seat for you and your baby? Your choices range from simple one-piece molded seats on legs to deluxe models that have adjustable seats, folding frames, wheels, toys, storage and more. Here are a few key basics you should keep in mind when making your decision.

High Chairs

Safety

  • A high chair should be sturdy with a wide base that resists tipping, especially when you have a fidgety toddler in it.
  • While many seats come with a center post that keeps your baby from sliding down, a seat belt is still a must. At the minimum there should be a lap belt, although a three-point harness (waist and crotch straps) or five-point harness (waist, crotch and shoulder straps) are safer.
  • Run your fingers along the seat and tray to check for holes or sharp edges that could hurt your baby’s hands or legs.
  • Never leave a child unattended in a high chair.

 

Cleaning

  • Guaranteed, this seat will get messy and constantly trying to fish a stray pea from a tiny crevice can become very frustrating very quickly. Check the seat, harness, tray and frame for nooks and crannies that can trap food and be hard to clean.
  • Look for fabrics like vinyl that can be easily wiped clean or for dark fabrics that will hide stains.
  • Trays with tall rims are able to contain spills better. Some trays incorporate a removable, smaller inner tray that you can put in the dishwasher.
  • While a wooden high chair tends to have fewer crevices to trap food, be sure it has a finish that can handle daily wipe downs and resist spills and stains.

Portability

  • You may be surprised by just how much you move your high chair on a daily basis, both around the kitchen or from room to room, so you want it to be an easy task.
  • Plastic high chairs are lighter and many models either fold for easy moving and storage, or have wheels, or both.
  • If you do get a chair with wheels, make sure they lock.
  • Wooden high chairs are heavier and the vast majority of them don’t fold, making them less portable.

 

Adjustability

  • If you want to bring your infant to the table, but he’s not ready to sit up on his own, a high chair with a reclining seat is a good option.
  • High chairs with adjustable heights and trays will grow with your baby into toddlerhood.
  • Height adjustment on chairs is good for parents and tables of different heights.

Booster Seats

While you can move your child to a booster seat once they can sit for a long period of time without falling forward (around 9 months), you may prefer the convenience of a high chair for a little longer. Boosters come in handy as your toddler is making the transition from high chair to an adult chair. She can feel like a big kid sitting in a regular chair, but she’s still safely secured. And boosters are great for taking to other homes or restaurants.

Look for a booster that has straps that let you secure it to an adult chair, plus a safety belt to secure your child to the booster seat. As with a high chair, never leave your child unattended in the booster. Other considerations are durability, comfort and ease of clean-up.