Are you looking to buy a baby high chair, but don’t know where to start? We’ve designed the ultimate high chair buying guide to help you. We’ll discuss all the options available and what features you should look out for to get the best high chair to suit your needs.
We’ll try to cover high chairs from all angles, so grab a pen and paper and write down what features you want or need from your high chair. This will help you narrow down your choices to a select few models.
Why you need a baby high chair
When your baby starts eating solid food you’ll want them to have their ‘own’ place at the dining table. Being part of the family dining dynamics teaches your child not only about nutrition but other important life skills such as socialization, communication and manners.
A high chair is more than just a dining area, it can be used for both play and naps. Your baby will be spending a lot of time in their high chair. It’s important you buy a high chair that you can deal with numerous times a day for a few years.
Baby High Chair Buying Guide
- Short Term – If you are looking for a high chair for only the weaning stage then a traditional high chair will see your baby through from around 4 months until 2 years old.
- Long Term – Investing is a modular chair will allow you to use your high chair from when your baby is 4 months up until they are around 10 years old. Versatile and designed to grow with your child or split into different styles as an ‘all in one’ high chair.
- Every day use – look to investing in a quality high chair which stays set up or is easy to assemble on a daily basis. These are usually not portable out of the house, however wheels and folding features can make them easier to move and store.
- Occasional Use – Best for when you eat out or baby is at friends or family. A travel high chair, seat harness or booster seat can transforms a regular adult chair into a secure seat for babies and toddlers. The small size and light weight makes them easy to move and store. With this type the stability is compromised and we would not recommend these for everyday use.
- Buying New – You don’t have to spend a fortune to get a great high chair, there are great models available for all budgets. A high chair gets a lot of usage in the first few years, and we recommend you always invest in safety features over anything else. A modular high chair will cost you more upfront but you’ll get many years of use by more than one child. Some brands such as Stokke have a high re-sale value if decide to sell it on.
- Second hand – You can get some fantastic bargains when buying a second hand high chair. It’s important to check the chair has not been recalled by the manufacturer. Check for breaks, cracks or large scratches which can compromise safety and hygiene. Buying a chair second hand will usually invalidate any existing buyer’s warranty.
Safety is the most important feature of a high chair. Compromising safety for cost or looks, can result in serious injuries or worse for your child. This is what you should look out for:
All high chairs available in the UK should conform to the British safety standard BS 14988.
- Sturdy – A heavy weight high chair with a large footprint will offer most stability and durability when in use. Lightweight, plastic high chairs are at most risk of toppling or breaking and causing accidents. Your high chair need to withstand dropped trays and the weight of a child standing up on the footrest.
- Harness – A five point harness is the best option for active babies who act like a mini Houdini in their chair. A happy medium is what you should look for, a complicated design will leave you frustrated whereas an easy release can be mastered by toddlers.
- Locks – If you choose a folding, reclining or wheeled high chair it’s important each feature is backed up with a locking mechanism so there can be no unintended movement when in use.
- Crotch Post – This is usually attached to the tray or built into the seat. The latter option is the safety as it still offer security for baby if the tray detaches.
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Ease of Use
Consider how easy your high chair will be to use when you have a wriggly, food splattered baby in one arm and trying to remove a tray with another. It may look good but is it practical for daily use?
- Adjustability – Check how easy the chair is to set up and adjust to your child’s age range. Is it as easy as a simple lever or do you need to use tools to adjust? Does the chair offer a range of height and room at the same time as offering comfort and safety? Is the tray easy to remove with one hand?
- Footprint – Consider how much room you have to set up your high chair. Remember that a larger foot print often means greater stability. With travel high chairs you need to make sure the high chair can be safely attached to an appropriate adult chair.
- Storage – If you prefer to store your chair after use it’s best to look for a folding high chair to save space. Check how compact the seat is when it’s folded as some can create awkward shapes which aren’t easy to store.
- Portability – lightweight high chair with wheels are great for moving around at home. Check your flooring won’t be marked by moving the chair around. Bulky and heavy chairs are best left assembled at the dining table for convenience. A fabric seat harness is the most portable option when your child is under one year, and booster seats when older than this.
It’s hard enough trying to feed a baby without throwing discomfort into the mix. Here what you should look out for to make your child more comfortable whilst dining.
- Padded seat – Provides comfort for your baby whilst in the chair which can cause them to become cranky.
- Recline – We’ve all seen those cute videos of babies falling asleep in their food. Your baby will probably nap in their chair often, A recline feature means you can leave them comfortably in the lad of nod without disturbing them. A slight recline can also help younger babies who get tired after long periods of sitting upright.
- Space – Ensure the harness can be adjusted to be tight enough for safety for loose enough for slight movement. You baby will get pretty cranky is the harness rubs or they don’t have room to move about.
The one thing babies love to do in a high chair is make mess. It teaches them dexterity skills and helps them to explore their food. However someone has to clean up that mess, and that’s where you step in. Check out these features to cut down on the cleaning workload.
- Material – Plastic high chairs are easy to wipe down, however they tend to have more padding and crevices which can hold onto crumbs and food splats. Wooden chairs tend to have a simple, unpadded design which is easier to clean.
- Machine washable – Using a machine can make it easier to clean stains from the high chair. Look for seat covers which can be machine washed and are easy to reattach. Some trays can be placed into the dishwasher but read reviews as sometimes the plastic can become warped by the heat.
- Stain resistant – Look out for stain resistant fabric seats and harnesses. Buying a light coloured chair will show up crumbs and food easier for cleaning. The downside to light colours is they become stained quickly, so dark colour may be preferable.
High Chair FAQ
When should I buy a high chair?
A baby can start traditional weaning (eating purées) from 4 months old. If want to start with baby led weaning start at 6 months old. Only place your baby a high chair when they are able to independently support their head.
What age do you stop using a high chair?
This depend on which chair you buy. A traditional high chair will usually last until baby is around 2-3 years old. At this stage they will be able to use a booster seat or sit at a children’s table and chairs.
Look out for high chair models which grow with baby and be used right up until they are teenagers.
How long should my baby spend in a high chair?
A mealtime can last up to an hour each time. Don’t rush your baby to eat, let them explore their food and the environment as calm and relaxed as possible. Young babies use a lot of muscles sitting up so they can tire quickly, and often fall asleep in the chair. Active toddlers get bored and feel restrained when sitting too long, and will want to explore. Don’t force your child to stay in the high chair if they become unhappy or distressed, it can become a battle of wills and make mealtimes harder in the future.
Should I buy a second hand high chair?
Buying second hand high chair can help you save money. You can get some fantastic high chairs at great prices these days, so we wouldn’t recommend it unless it’s an expensive model at retail price. Before you buy, check for any model recalls by the manufacturer. A through check for any breakages and stains is important for safety and hygiene purposes. We’ll be writing more on second hand high chairs in the future.