• Nicole

Can you use a Booster Seat for backless- or bar stools?

Updated: Jan 16


Bar stool and booster seats?

Last week as I was sitting at our kitchen bar, I was wondering if we could use the Booster Seat for our little one in combination with one of our bar stools. We often eat there for a quick meal and I thought it would be nice to have the whole family together at the bar.


Even though it is physically possible to place the Booster Seat on one of our bar stools, I was very eager to know if using a Booster Seat on a backless stool or a bar stool is a good and safe idea in the first place.


This is what I’ve learned during my research:

Using a Booster Seat on a backless stool or a bar stool is not recommended. To fully constrain the Booster Seat, one belt needs to go around the bottom and one around the back support of the kitchen or dining chair. In case the bar stool has a back support, it still lacks the footprint requirements for optimal stability.


Ok, with some backless stools it is plain to see why it won’t work to mount your child’s Booster Seat on it. They have a rounded seat and no back support, so the safety straps won’t fit.


But what about the bar stools with a small back support and a square seat? Technically you could mount a Booster Seat on it, but for safety reasons you shouldn’t.


Below we will cover the reasons why this is a bad idea and show you some alternative and safe solutions to bring your little sprout up to the height of the kitchen bar.


A Booster Seat in combination with a backless stool or a bar stool: a bad idea!


Booster Seats are designed to fit on kitchen or dining chairs that provide the right kind of support to have an overall safe and sturdy setup. Backless stools or bar stools do not provide this level of support as they have a different shape and proportion than most regular kitchen or dining chairs. They lack the correct requirements in the following features:

  • Seating

Firstly, most bar stools or backless stools have a seat that is too small to securely fit a Booster Seat. The Booster Seat footprint should fit entirely on the seating area to prevent it from slipping off in case your child starts moving.


Lot’s of backless stools and bar stools have a rounded seat, which makes it close to impossible to correctly mount on the bottom strap of the Booster Seat.

  • Back support

Secondly, most Booster Seat manufacturers require you to also strap the Booster Seat around the back of the chair. This prevents the Booster Seat from making any side way movements.


This is a problem since all backless stools and most bar stools lack this back support. It means you can only place the straps on the seating and there is no side way fixation. If your child starts to move around too much, the Booster Seat could partly slip off the seat making the whole thing unstable and possibly tip over.

  • Footprint

Ok, but we have bar stools with a back support and a large enough seat, so now it must be ok, right? Unfortunately it still isn’t a smart thing to do. Bar stools are much taller than your regular kitchen or dining chairs, yet they have about the same footprint, sometimes even smaller. This means that they are a lot less stable and can easily be tipped over with a small push on the table or a bit of side-ways rocking (which just about any child will do at some point).


Considering the height of a bar stool, it comes as no surprise that the risk of a lethal injury in case of an accident is much higher than with a normal dining chair.


As you can see, what appears to be a nice idea to bring the family together at the kitchen bar can quickly result in a recipe for disaster. Luckily this doesn’t mean that you can’t have your child to join you at your kitchen bar. There are perfectly safe alternatives on the market, specifically designed for this purpose.




Alternatives of using a Booster Seat at the kitchen bar.


In general there are two categories of baby/toddler seats that you can use for a kitchen bar setup, a High Chair and a Hook-on High Chair. Depending on your family setup and your expectations, one will make more sense than the other.


Let’s have a look at both categories and compare the benefits and drawbacks so it becomes easier for you to choose the right category for your needs.

  • High Chairs

High Chairs have a lot in common with the bar stool + Booster Seat setup. Yet they are a much safer option as it is a single entity that is fully designed around the safety requirements for your child. The legs are sturdy and the footprint is much wider than any common bar stool, making them a very stable and secure solution.

Pros:

  • Very stable

  • Can be placed anywhere in the house thanks to the tray

  • All safety features in one product

  • Height adjustable (depending on the model)

  • Childs weight range up to 200lbs (depending on the model)

Cons:

  • A bit more pricey than a Hook-on High Chair

  • Wide footprint takes up space (especially around a kitchen bar)

  • Your child won’t be able to sit directly at the table with you because of the tray

  • Height doesn’t always match the height of the kitchen bar

For High Chairs with a relatively small footprint and good stability, we recommend to have a look at wooden High Chairs. We wrote a comprehensive article about wooden High Chairs here


If having the same height as your kitchen bar setup is important, you should measure and check if the High Chair can match the height of the table top. Height adjustable High Chairs might be the best solution for you. If you can’t find anything that matches your kitchen bar setup, you might be better off looking for a Hook-on High Chair.


  • Hook-on High Chairs

Hook-on High Chairs are a great alternative to use at a kitchen bar setup as they don’t rely on a set of legs for their height. As the name already suggests, these High Chairs are designed to be hooked on to a table top. This ensures that your child is always at the correct height to join you at the table or kitchen bar.


Pros:

  • Child sits directly at the table with you, regardless of the height

  • Compact and easy to store or transport

  • No legs that take up space

  • Easy to clean underneath

  • Very affordable

Cons:

  • Doesn’t fit on every table top

  • Childs weight range only up to 37lbs

If you are interested in purchasing a Hook-on High Chair, you can have a look at this illustrated article we wrote here. It covers everything from safety to our selection of the best Hook-on High Chairs on the market.



So there you have it, a complete overview as to why you should never use a Booster Seat in combination with a backless stool or a bar stool. Even though it might seem like a good idea, there are enough alternative and affordable solutions on the market.


If you happen to know any fresh parents that have a kitchen bar or you just enjoyed learning with us, please share!

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