High Chairs for kids

High chairs are not a main priority when your little one is a newborn. But once he hits the 4- to 6-month mark and you’re starting to introduce foods like purees and small bites, your baby will need a high chair. While what and how to feed your little one are your main concerns, having the right baby high chair for your specific needs can make the transition to solids happen more smoothly.

Choosing the best high chair for you

Baby may be using a high chair from 6 months all the way to age 3, when he can graduate to a booster. When shopping for a high chair, consider the following to find the best fit for your family:

  • The amount of space you have. You’ll need to be able to easily maneuver and reach, so you can feed your child while he is sitting in the high chair. Those with smaller kitchens may want a more streamlined model, a portable high chair that attaches right to the table or boosters that attach to your dining chairs.
  • How long you can use the high chair. Depending on the chair, he may be able to use it from infancy right on through the toddler years. These days, many high chairs easily grow with baby, converting from an infant seat to a toddler booster and then to a chair.
  • How easy the high chair is to clean. At some point, when your baby becomes a toddler, he will start to learn to feed himself. You’ll need a high chair that’s easy to clean because — trust us — there will be spills, splatters and crumbs. Consider a high chair with removable parts or materials that can be wiped down easily to make cleaning a breeze.
  • The tray type. Adjustable? Removable? Dishwasher safe? Look for a wide, sturdy and removable option that offers easy clean-up.
  • The high chair’s portability. This will likely be especially important for families with smaller kitchens. Some traditional models are not easy to store, which means they’ll take up coveted space in your kitchen and dining room. If stashability is important, add it to your checklist.
  • Your personal style. Though it shouldn’t be your main focus — safety always comes first! — high chairs are essentially furniture. Depending on your style, you may be drawn to different materials, colors or designs.
  • Comfortability. After all, an uncomfortable baby is not likely to be interested in mealtime at all. Soft, washing-machine-friendly padding or a well-shaped seat will help baby stay comfortable and ready to eat and explore.

Types of high chairs

The right high chair for you is the one that makes feeding your baby easy, safe and fun — so, once you’re satisfied that a high chair meets safety requirements and is easy to clean, it’s really about your family’s budget, your style and how you plan to use your high chair. Here’s a breakdown of the types of high chairs available:

  • Wooden high chairs: The classic is trendy again — and the understated finishes and clean lines fit right into most homes. Some versions are no-frills throwbacks, while others offer modern pluses like adjustable height, reclining seats and easy foldability for storage.
  • Plastic or metal frame high chair: A lightweight, modern frame high chair typically offers easy clean-up, portability on wheels and an easy fold for storage. These are also among the most budget-friendly options.
  • Full-featured high chair: Some multi-functional seats can be used as high chairs, cradles and sometimes even swings. They usually have all the bells and whistles, like an adjustable seat with recline, stashable table and casters for mobility.
  • Portable clip-on high chair: These leg-less high chairs clasp securely on to most tables for a sturdy, safe seat for baby almost anywhere on the go.
  • Booster feeding chair: Need a feeding chair that doesn’t take up extra space? Strap a booster feeding chair onto one of your existing dining chairs. These chairs typically come with removable lap trays so that when your child is ready, she can pull right up to the family table.

High chair safety tips to remember

Your baby’s high chair is a safe place to explore food in all its textured, tasty glory. A safe high chair makes the job of supervising meals easier for mom and dad, too — lunchtime is a lot harder if you’re chasing a toddler around the house with a spoonful of applesauce. Here’s what to know about the safety features that are most important to look for in a high chair. Make sure your high chair is safety certified. Products vetted and approved by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association, or JPMA, meet rigorous safety standards.

  • Look for a wide, well-balanced footprint. You want to ensure that, even when baby gets bigger and more boisterous, she won’t be able to tip the chair over.
  • Legs should be sturdy and not too wide-set. Chair legs that splay out wide are a tripping hazard for distracted parents in the kitchen.
  • Always follow height and weight guidelines. They’re set for a reason, and following them will ensure your baby is sitting safely.
  • Always make sure baby is buckled up. Your high chair should have, at the minimum, a T-style strap that goes across baby’s lap, through her legs and connects in the middle for a snug, secure fit. Curious little ones have been known to go exploring — and that can be dangerous. Just attaching the lap table is not enough to make sure baby’s secure.
  • If your high chair has casters or wheels, make sure they lock. You want to make sure baby doesn’t go for any strolls without you.
  • Never leave baby unattended in the chair. This should be a given. But baby might topple the chair, or choke if eating while not supervised.
  • Make sure your chair is a safe distance from the table or other edges. Baby loves to stretch her legs and push, and that could mean an unexpected topple.
  • Be super careful when folding and unfolding your chair. And make sure baby is at a safe distance. You don’t want little fingers or toes to get caught in hinges or locks.
  • Using a portable chair? Make sure the table can support the weight of the seat — and baby — before securely attaching the chair. And make sure to buckle baby.
  • Inheriting a hand-me-down? Make sure you have all the necessary parts, and thoroughly check the chair for rough edges, missing pieces or troublesome hardware and hinges. As beautiful as they are, vintage high chairs are usually not up to modern safety standards, since many lack passive crotch restraints or three-point lap belts.

Now that you’ve gotten your crash course in high chairs, it’s time to make a choice.

Here are the best high chairs on the market.

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