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Buyer's Guide: High Chairs

Buyer's Guide: High Chairs

By ages 4 to 6 months, most babies are ready to start on solid foods as a complement to formula and breast milk. A high chair will be ideal to help your child experiment with different food types, and also makes supervision and cleaning a whole lot easier.

Modern high chairs are designed for safety and flexibility, with features such as harnesses, seat padding, and adjustable height and seat recline. The typical child uses a highchair till ages 2 to 3, so select one which has solid construction. Higher-end models have features that enhance comfort and workability, and may hold up to wear and tear better, but a basic model will accomplish the job just fine.

 

what’s available

traditional high chair

The oldest and most basic design available, these high chairs can be made from metal, plastic or wood, and simply functions as a raised chair for your baby. They vary in features, from seatbelts, seat padding, and removable trays, but one similarity is that they are usually light and inexpensive. These chairs are typically not foldable, and are instead designed to be set up in a particular area of your home.

full-featured high chair

Also known as multi-functional high chairs, these incorporate many extra features like a foot rest, adjustable tray and chair height, a seat recline ability, and foldable option for easy storage. These chairs make feeding time more comfortable for both you and your baby.

booster chairs

Booster chairs work by attaching to the seat of a regular dining chair, creating an instant high chair for meal time. These chairs shine in the space-saving department, and can be dismantled and tucked away easily after mealtimes.

portable high chair

These chairs are designed to “hook-on” to a table, and your baby will sit in it with his feet dangling below. Lightweight, small and cost effective, these chairs are easily transported and stowed away. However, these chairs have a recommended weight limit, so if your baby is on the heavier side, he’ll need a regular high chair with supported legs. Some table designs are not compatible for hooking on the portable high chair, so take note of this if you decide to bring one along for your travel trip.

travel high chair

A travel high chair is constructed from heavy duty canvas stretched across a metal frame, and are designed for outdoor use. These chairs are lightweight and easily folded to fit into your luggage or backpack. However, a travel high chair is not a replacement for a regular high chair, because the canvas seat and tray will not hold up as well as solid plastic or wood over an extended period of time.


refine your selection

The type of high chair you choose depends on your child’s physical development stage and your lifestyle preferences and needs. Here are several factors that you can consider to refine your choice.

    • Stage: Full-featured high chairs have a bunch of nice-to-have functions that make them ideal for young babies, but once your child progresses to the toddler stage, these features may not be all that useful, and a traditional high chair may be a better alternative.
    • Portability: If you’re going to be travelling a fair bit with your baby, a portable or travel high chair would be the perfect complement. Otherwise, stick to the regular four-legged high chairs for stability.
    • Storage: High chairs take up as much space as a regular dining chair, and this may be a tad too much for space-constrained homes. Consider buying a collapsible high chair that can be folded up and tucked away between meals.
    • Style: For the aesthetically inclined parents, a high chair is as much another piece of furniture in the home as anything else. With the multitude of high chair designs in the market, you’re highly likely to find one that matches the décor of your home.

 

features to look for

    • Stability: A high chair will position your baby approximately 3 feet off the ground, which is equivalent to falling off a diving board for a full-sized adult! For stability, you’ll want to choose a chair that has a wide base, and the more points touching the ground, the better.
    • Safety Harness: A safety harness will prevent your child from standing or slipping out of his seat while you’re busy with the dishes. The safest option is the five-point harness, with two straps around the shoulders, two around the waist and one between the legs to form a star shape. A three point harness only secures the lower body, with two straps around the waist and one between the legs.
    • Adjustability: Look for a chair that has adjustable seat height and tray depth to grow with your child as he develops physically. Each adjustment should lock securely into place. These settings also allow you to comfortably feed your child when you’re sitting, standing, or on uneven ground.
    • Collapsibility: If the high chair can be collapsed into a compact package between meals, this would help to relieve space constraints in your home, and is also excellent for travelling.
    • Comfort: Padded seats are much easier on your baby’s skin than hard plastic or wood. However, they are generally harder to clean, and this is a real concern for messy mealtimes! Even so, some parents find that their babies are more cooperative in a soft, cushy seat, so this is a matter of personal choice.
    • Ease of cleaning: Your baby is going to make a mess during mealtime, so choosing a high chair that is easy to wipe down can save you a whole lot of stress! Look out for any areas that may be hard to wipe down or small nooks and crevices that may trap food. Material-wise, smooth plastic and wood are easy to clean, but are less comfortable for your baby. If you’d like to get a cushioned high chair, make sure the cushions are removable for easy washing.
    • Additional functions: Some high chairs come with extra features that can be lovely to have, such as a foot rest, a crotch post, and detachable dishwasher-safe trays.

 

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