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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.