A safe and functional high chair is a critical piece of equipment for raising a child. A good high chair has to be comfortable for your baby, and extremely stable. Babies and young children tend to bounce around with surprising force and the high chair must be able to withstand this jostling without any chance of tipping over. Also, a high chair offers an easy to reach play area, and will probably be the place where the child sits while the parents perform kitchen tasks.
Functionality is the primary factor when it comes to evaluating a high chair, but there is room to consider style and appearance as well. Above all, your child must approve of the chair. If a child begins to cry the moment he or she is put into the high chair, then the chair, no matter how expensive it was or attractive it may be, simply has to go. In this article we'll evaluate 10 high chairs and help you make a decision as to which high chair is best for you.
High chairs come in all shapes and sizes. You've probably seen complimentary high chairs sitting at restaurants for customer use, but these represent the most basic form of the high chairs that are currently available on the market. There are a lot of options available, as well as chairs that are designed to adapt to additional uses to extend their life and value beyond the child's toddler stage. High chairs also come with a variety of features for safety and comfort that we will discuss at length in this article.
1. What Is A High Chair?
A high chair is a baby or toddler chair with long legs that allows a baby or small child to sit at the table with the rest of the family. The chair can contain its own tray area, or fit under the existing family table.
2. Are High Chairs Dangerous?
You should never leave a baby or small child in a high chair unattended. The majority of high chairs are very stable and will not topple even if a child begins to dance or shake in the chair. However most parents learn that when it comes to children, anything is possible. Keeping an eye on your child always helps to prevent accidents.
3. Is There A Choking Risk With High Chairs?
Some high chairs allow you to strap your child in much like a baby seat. However, the child sits upright in the high chair, and if he or she should slip down under the tray, there is a small choking risk. The straps of most high chairs are designed to prevent this, but if the child should manage to unhook himself or herself from the straps a choking risk might be present. It is always best to only use a high chair when a parent is present.
4. Are Restaurant High Chairs Safe?
Most restaurants offer complimentary high chairs for customers. However, these high chairs tend to be very simple and are sometimes quite dirty. Extra care should always be taken by a parent when using public use high chairs.
5. How Often Should You Clean A High Chair?
Some high chairs come with removable cushions that can be thrown in the wash with ease. Others are plastic and can be cleaned with a simple wipe down. Babies and small children tend to spill or hide food in strange places, so it's important to check the cleanliness of your high chair regularly. Parents should at least wipe down the high chair after every meal to avoid the collection of food and crumbs in the cracks. More thorough cleanings can be performed every few weeks.
6. Can High Chairs Be Adapted As The Baby Grows?
Yes, most manufacturers are aware at how quickly children grow and they've designed their high chairs to be functional and safe throughout the development of the baby. Some manufacturers even design chairs that can be converted into stepping stools, or young adult chairs after your child has grown up.
HOW WE REVIEWED
We subjected our chairs to a series of tests to determine their stability and their ease of use. Our evaluations considered price, child comfort, stability, safety features, additional features and ease of cleaning. Some chairs offered features that sounded good in the advertising, but turned out to not be of much practical value in the day-to-day use of the chairs. For example, chairs that were designed to have a practical feature after the child had grown.
Our focus was on how the chair could make a parent's life easier by maximizing the ease of use and the comfort of the child. We paid attention to areas where a chair could cause inadvertent pinching or when a chair might be awkward to clean. We always approached our evaluation from the perspective that a high chair is a tool designed to maximize the health and comfort of the baby and ease the stress of a parent.
OVERALL PRICE RANGE
The overall price range for the chairs we tested was between 80 and 300 dollars with most of the chairs sitting in the 200 dollar range. Inexpensive chairs tended to be no-frills, but still offered highly functional safety features. The more expensive chairs often had recline and adjustment options that weren't available on the lower priced chairs.
We found that price did not always correlate to higher quality. Also, with many features on a child's high chair, simplicity leads to greater ease of use and ease of cleaning. We urge you to consider the specific needs of your child and your family, particularly the safety features of the chair above all other considerations. All the chairs we tested were safe, but some were less stable and could be a concern for very strong or very active babies.
WHAT WE REVIEWED
GRACO BLOSSOM 6-IN-1 CONVERTIBLE HIGHCHAIR
The Graco Blossom 6-n-1 Convertible Highchair is a highly adjustable chair that can be adapted as your child grows. There is a large cushion that is designed to accommodate small children, which can be removed to reveal a hard plastic chair for a larger child. The chair is supported by a front only balance system. The system is stable, but some parents will prefer a four legged balance system. The chair may also be removed from its stand to act as a booster seat.
JOOVY NOOK HIGH CHAIR
- Removable swing open tray with 4 adjustable positions
- Easy clean-up, dishwasher-safe tray insert and leatherette seat wipes down easily
- Compact, one-hand, standing fold with carry handle
The JOOVY Nook High Chair is a no-frills, collapsible chair that you could potentially bring with you on long trips or vacations to avoid using complimentary restaurant chairs. Restaurant chairs can be very dirty as they are sometimes used by many children in between cleaning. The JOOVY has minimal padding and utilizes a five-point harness for security. The chair features a swing open tray that makes it convenient to place or remove the child from the chair.
ABIIE BEYOND WOODEN HIGH CHAIR WITH TRAY
- EZ-Seat: The High chair can be transformed to any height position to use as a Toddlers chair or as a traditional...
- Warranty: 3 year Manufacturer’s Warranty included with optional low cost 1/2/3 years extended protection plans
- Dual Restraint System: The restraint system can be adjusted for a 5-point harness or a 3-point harness, keeping...
The Abiie Wooden High Chair is a very attractive and highly adjustable chair. This is a very stable chair that can accommodate weights of up to 250 pounds, and can be transformed into a regular chair or stepping stool once your baby has grown. Cushioning on this chair is minimal so it might not be the best choice for very small children. The chair features a 5-point or a 3-point harness system for security. The relatively simple design of this chair makes it easy to clean and maintain.
OXO TOT SPROUT CHAIR WITH TRAY COVER
- 3 levels of tool-free seat height and depth adjustability that grow with the child
- 5-point harness for added stability and security
- Recess in tray can contain over 7-ounces of spilled liquid and is slender for storage and stable when placed on table
The OXO Tot Sprout Chair is an attractive chair with a simple, stable wooden design. This chair is an adaptable chair that children will be able to use as they grow, but it is more specifically designed with smaller children in mind. In addition to the 5-point harness, this chair features a central column that supports the tray which sits between the child's legs. The presence of this column eliminates the risk that the child could slip out of the chair. The removable tray has recesses that can hold up to 7 ounces of liquid without spilling.
GRACO SIMPLE SWITCH HIGHCHAIR
- 2-in-1 convertible highchair that converts to booster when your child is ready
- 3-position reclining seat helps you find a comfortable feeding position for your little diner
- Machine washable seat pad makes cleanup easy
The Graco Simple Switch chair is advertised as a two-in-one chair that converts from a high chair to a booster chair as the child grows. The chair is supported by four metal legs that have rubberized feet to prevent scraping. The chair has ample padding and features either a three or a five-point harness. As the child grows the legs can be removed and the chair can be converted into a booster. The child sits very upright in this chair. The tray is designed to be removed with one hand for the convenience of the parent.
4MOMS HIGH CHAIR
- One handed, magnetic tray attachment
- Easy to clean. The nylon straps are easily wiped clean with warm water and mild soap. The shoulder straps can be machine...
- Removable foam seat insert
The 4moms high chair has simplicity at its core. The design is sleek with minimal elements to make it difficult to use or clean. The chair features an ample baby cradle that holds your child securely in place with a harness and leg column. The cradle is well designed with enough tilt to be safe and comfortable, but upright enough to aid in eating. There are three height positions. The foam seat insert can be removed for easy cleaning. The legs are wide and stable and the chair can be used as a small step ladder when your child has grown.
BOON FLAIR HIGHCHAIR
- BABY HIGHCHAIR: A chair with adjustable height, moves around with ease
- EASY TO MOVE: The stable, wide design of this high chair helps it glide around smoothly
- ADJUSTABLE HEIGHT: Boon highchair fits under most tables and includes a foot-activated height adjustment feature
This pedestal based high chair has a futuristic design that would fit in well with a space age decor. The pedestal base makes it easier to push this chair under a dining table, and the weighted bottom makes this chair very stable. The base of the pedestal is fitted with six urethane casters to prevent floor scratching. The chair features a five-point harness and a central leg column for added security. The chair and padding is designed to be cleaned using a washcloth, warm water, and soap.
BABYBJORN HIGH CHAIR
A stylish chair that folds almost completely flat for storage or to accommodate travel. The BABYBORN high chair has a somewhat shallow seating space, although the ergonomic, egg-shaped design is meant to emphasize child comfort. The chair does not feature a safety harness. The tray folds forward to allow the child to be placed within the chair with ease. There is no cushioning making this chair easy to clean and use.
PEG PEREGO SIESTA HIGHCHAIR
- Made In Italy. Comfort recline seat that fully reclines in the most comfortable resting angle for baby
- Five reclining seat positions; Nine different height positions; Footrest: Three-position, adjustable footrest. Practical...
- Easy to Clean: Eco-friendly leather upholstery is stain resistant, durable, easy to remove and can be wiped clean with a...
The Peg Perego offers a tremendous combination of security, stability, adjustment and child comfort. The chair features five reclining seat positions and the seating area is deep enough so the child may relax while seated. There is a central column to prevent forward slippage, and the harness is similar to the harnesses found on car seats. The chair has wheels at the ends of the legs so this chair can be pushed from room to room with ease.
The chair features a comfortable amount of cushion that is designed to be wiped clean with a damp cloth. When not in use, the chair folds almost flat. This chair has limited uses after the child has grown, but it is designed for peak functionality while your child is in development. The overall design is stable, convenient, multi-use and very safe.
INGENUITY TRIO 3-IN-1 HIGH CHAIR
- Wipeable and washable design for easier cleaning
- Converts high chair to booster to toddler seat
- Harness to keep little one secure
The Ingenuity Trio is designed to work as a high chair, a toddler chair and a booster seat. The high chair legs feature wheels so that the chair may be easily moved around a table or into another room. The chair has both three and five point harnesses, and there is a central leg nub to keep little ones from slipping out of the bottom of the chair.
The tray is machine washable and the seat pad can be washed in the washing machine making this an easy chair to give a thorough cleaning. As the child grows, the main seat unit can be removed from the legs to create a toddler chair with a three-point strap. The cushioned top part of the chair can be used as a booster seat and comes with back straps to hold it in place on a dinner table chair. Overall, this is a simple, highly adjustable chair that's safe and easy to clean.
Raising a child is a tremendous amount of work, and it's important to choose a child high chair that makes your life as a parent easier. The chief concern with a child's chair, as it is with virtually anything regarding small children, is safety. You must be confident that the harness is well designed, and that there is no risk that a child might fall out of the chair or become entangled with the restraining straps. Also, the tray must slide in and out of position with no risk of pinching the child's fingers. Finally, the legs must be stable and not subject to tipping over.
The ease with which you can keep a chair clean is also a strong consideration. Children are messy eaters, and they tend to drop bits of food into the cushions, or even intentionally hide them. Seats that feature creases where food could get stuck are problematic. Also, cushions that are difficult to remove or can't be easily washed are also a headache. However, the seat must have enough padding to be comfortable or the child will become fussy and resist being put into his or her chair.
A high chair can be a considerable investment which is why many manufacturers design uses for the chairs after the child has grown. Some can be converted into stepladders or regular chairs. While these features are nice, the primary function of a high chair is for feeding and entertaining your child during its developmental period. Chairs that focus too much on maintaining a use after the child has grown are somewhat impractical and could result in frustrating daily use.
A chair that features a lot of adjustment positions offers a wide variety of uses that could become critical when raising a child. For a parent, the moments when the child is asleep are absolutely golden, so a high chair that can be reclined to accommodate sleep is a very interesting feature. A chair that can be folded for easy storage or transport is also highly desirable. The only concern with a folding or adjustable chair is that such chairs can be less stable due to the increased presence of joints. Also, joints or hinges are potentially a place where fingers can be pinched.
Our favorite chair was the Peg Perego Siesta Highchair. This was among the more expensive chairs that we tested, but it had the greatest variety of adjustments including both height adjustments and recline adjustments that went all the way to full recline. The harness was the best one on all the chairs we tested, and the cushions were large enough to be comfortable, but well-designed for easy cleaning. We also liked the effective wheels, and the fact that the chair could be folded away with ease.
For parents on a budget, we recommend the Graco Simple Switch Highchair, which offers functionality, safety, and practicality at a very economical price. All the chairs we tested had sufficient safety features and were stable under normal conditions. Good luck as you continue your search for the perfect high chair for your family.