• Nicole

Hook-on High Chairs Safety, an illustrated guide.

Updated: Jan 16


Hook-on High Chairs Safety

As we were getting familiar with all the seating solutions available for our first child, we came across the Hook-on High Chair, also known as the Clip-on High Chair. Even though it seems like a very interesting concept, the way you are supposed to use it in combination with a table does raise an important question right off the bat:


Are Hook-on High Chairs safe?

Hook-on High Chairs long for a bit more caution then a regular High Chair because they require a different setup. However, they can be a safe and useful solution if:


  1. You use the right kind of table to mount it on.

  2. You install it in the correct manner.

  3. You use it as is intended by the manufacturer.

  4. It has the correct safety labels.

  5. You make sure it has all the safety features and the product is not malfunctioning.

When we first heard about the need for this extra caution, we were a little bit weary about the whole Hook-on High Chair category. Nevertheless, they can be an interesting and useful seating alternative for the regular High Chair. Please read along with us and discover all the benefits this type of seating has to offer and learn how to use it properly.


Hook-on High Chair vs Traditional High Chair, which is better?


As with all High Chair solutions on the market, it is the use case that you foresee that determines what will be the best solution for you and your child. Let’s have a look what they are designed for and compare both models in an easy overview.


1. Hook-on or clip-on High Chairs are designed for travel and camping. However, due to their small sizes they can be a very suitable solution for parents with limited space at home.

2. Traditional High Chairs are designed as a permanent seating solution for at home. If you have enough space and you are looking for a sturdy seating that you can move around the house, then a traditional High Chair is for you.


If you would like to have a clear overview of all the different type of high chairs on the market, then please read this article that compares all the benefits and features.

https://www.babyboosterseats.com/post/what-type-of-high-chairs-are-there


Hook-on High Chair vs traditional High Chair comparison table.


The Pros and Cons of Hook-on High Chairs compared to traditional High Chairs


Pro’s

  • Hook-on High Chairs are smaller and more mobile friendly, most of them can fit in a suite case.

  • They are lighter and easier to handle.

  • They are easier to clean thoroughly.

  • It is easier to clean underneath than with a traditional High Chair.

  • Overall, they cost less than traditional High Chairs.

  • They always have the same seating height for every table you can mount it on.

  • Your child can sit closer at the table than with a traditional High Chair.

Cons

  • You need a table to use it, in that sense, local mobility is rather low.

  • It can’t fit on every table, there are numerous exceptions.

  • If installed incorrectly, there is a hazard of falling.

  • The stability also depends on the stability of the table.

  • They often come without a tray.

  • They don’t come in an easy to wipe seating material like some traditional High Chairs.

  • You can’t adjust the height to your needs, the table height is what you get.

All you need to know before you install a Hook-on High Chair?


Even though Hook-on High Chairs are quite simple in their setup, it is very important that you fully understand how to install them in a correct manner. They don’t just fit on every table and there are some things to consider during the installation:


  1. Hook-on High Chairs: tables you can’t use.

The stability of a hook-on High Chair fully depends on the table you use. That said, you should never use the following types of tables in combination with a Hook-on High Chair:



  • Table with a glass table top:

The glass table top will experience a lot of stress by the added weight and torsion. This might cause the table top, on which you installed the Hook-on High Chair, to break or shatter.

  • Tables with a loose table top:

Loose table tops offer very little stability, they are not strong enough to hold the weight of the Hook-on High Chair and your child. There is also the risk that the top slides off.

  • Tables with a thin table top:

The table top should have at least 0.8 inches or 20mm thickness to carry the weight of your child. Anything less won’t be strong enough to hold up to 37lbs.

  • Table leaf:

A table leaf is often a loose part with limited structural support underneath. It won’t be able to support the full weight of your child.

  • Light weight tables with a small footprint:

Tables like card tables or plastic garden tables are often too light to support the full weight of your child. Tables with a small footprint tend to tip over very easily.

  • Single pedestal tables:

Tables with a single or central pedestal have a very narrow base to ensure the balance. If you add weight to the side of the table, the chances of tipping are high.

  • Tables with wobbly legs:

The table should have strong legs that are mounted firmly onto the table. Tables with loose or damaged legs are not a good option. Pay extra attention to this with second hand tables. Check if all the screws and bolts are still firmly fixed.

Flimsy tables that tend to dance when you give them a little push are also not strong enough. Your child will not sit still all the time. If the whole table starts moving, one of the legs could break off at the joint.

As you can see, there are quite a few restrictions as to what type of tables you can use. However, that doesn’t take away the fact that Hook-on High Chairs offer a practical, low-cost and very mobile friendly seating solution for your sprout.


Now that we covered the overall requirements of the table, let’s also have a look at some mounting details that you should know of.




2. In the below illustration you can see in what situation you should not use the Hook-on High Chair.

Hook-on High Chairs Safety

3. Common mistakes with the use of a Hook-on High Chair


As with any other product, there are numerous mistakes you can make when using it. Hook-on High Chairs are no exception to this rule. Foremost, you should always read and understand the safety guidelines and user manual before you go over to action.


However, over time some parents forget things they learned or just didn’t think about it in the first place. Here we cover some of the most common mistakes parents make with Hook-on High Chairs:

  • Insufficient tightening of the clamps:

The clamps of a Hook-on High Chair need to be fastened firmly for good grip. You want to make sure that your child won’t be able to push itself and the chair away from the table.

  • Using a table cloth:

Most Hook-on High Chairs don’t come with a tray. This means that the mess your baby makes will end up on the table. At first it might seem like a good idea to use a table cloth or placemat to protect your table. However, this extra layer of material can be really slippery and take away all the initial grip the clamps had to offer.

  • Greasy table top:

It happens all too often, in the hectic of the day you quickly wipe the table and forget a couple of spots. If the rubbers of the clamps are mounted on one of those greasy spots, there will be no grip and your child could push her- or himself off the table. Therefore, it is good practice to always thoroughly clean the table top and the rubber parts of the High Chair clamps.

  • Your child is still too young:

Having your child with you at the table is nice, so nice that many parents want to do this as quickly as possible. However, it is important that your child can sit unsupported in an upright position for longer periods of time.

This is especially true when using a Hook-on High Chair. From an ergonomics point of view, they offer less support than the more rigid Traditional High Chairs. This can be more exhausting for a child who is only just learning to sit. If your child starts slouching after 10 minutes, then he or she is not ready for the Hook-on High Chair yet.

  • The child is too heavy:

Some parents tend to use a Hook-on High Chair too long because it is just so convenient. This is not without any risk as they have a maximum weight limitation of about 37lbs. If you keep on using it after your child reaches that limit, there is a risk that the Hook-on chair breaks, which can lead to serious injury.

Keep in mind the maximum weight limit and regularly check the weight of your child to avoid this mistake. Also, if you have more than one child, also make sure the bigger brother or sister is not hanging on the Hook-on High Chair for play.

  • Poor strapping in of the child:

Strapping in your child 3-4 times a day is cumbersome, we know. Yet, it is paramount to ensure absolute safety. At some point, most children will try to escape their seat, whether that is a Hook-on High Chair or a traditional High Chair. For this reason, strapping in your child needs to be done with upmost care and attention.

  • Wrong positioning on the table:

We have witnessed it ourselves! We are at a party, other parents with babies join us and they too, have Hook-on High Chairs. “Have them sit next to each other, so they can play!” It sounds like a great idea and the kids will have a blast but adding all the weight of multiple children to one side of the table is not a good idea.

The center of gravity will move to the edge of the table and before you know it, the table tips over. Usually this happens after everything is installed and people are getting up from the table, the counterweight is removed and the table tips. Luckily in our story the ending was good.



Can you buy a second-hand Hook-on High Chair?


In principle yes, you can buy or use a second-hand Hook-on High Chair. If you decide to take this road, there are a couple of things you should check before you start using the used Hook-on High Chair:


  • Safety labels:

The first thing you should look for are safety marks provided by the CPSC or the CEN.

The CPCS and CEN are standardization institutions that aim to minimize the risk of deaths and injuries by providing a list of safety standards for the manufacturer to follow. Products that are designed and manufactured according to these standards are safe to use.

These standards are launched in 2018, so this excludes all the older models. This is a good thing as product standards are being improved as time goes by.

  • Completeness of the product:

For safety reasons, the Hook-on High Chair that you are about to purchase or use, should have all parts included. You should ask the seller for the user manual or find it online to check if all the parts are there. You will need this document anyway before you can use the product. If you don’t know if the Hook-on High Chair is complete, don’t buy it.

If there are missing parts, don’t try to fix them yourself by tinkering something together. Hook-on High Chairs are not that expensive, and it is not worth the risk.

  • Product damage:

Make sure that the Hook-on High Chair still works properly. Can you tighten and close the straps? Are the clamps still working well? Are the folding mechanism still working the way they should?

Signs of wear are not an issue but if you detect any damage on these crucial parts, it is not worth taking the risk of using it.

The above checkpoints are also worth considering if you buy a new Hook-on High Chair, as you are using it, components might get broken or malfunction and it is your responsibility as a parent to ensure your child is safe.


This information is by no means a substitute for the user guidelines provided to you by the manufacturer, which you should always carefully read and understand!


For what age groups are Hook-on High Chairs?


Hook-on High Chairs are for children starting from the age of 6-9 months and up to 3 years. What is more important though, is that your child has a good seating posture before you start using ANY High Chair and that the maximum weight limit is not exceeded before you make the switch to a Booster Seat.


We wrote a complete article about the right starting point for your child to use a High Chair here.


You will learn why the starting age varies and why it is important to respect the correct conditions before getting to this wonderful milestone.


As for the weight limits, most Hook-on High Chairs have a weight limit of 37lbs. By average, children won’t reach this limit until they are between 4 and 5 years of age. At this point, they are usually tall enough to make use of a Toddler Booster.


What are the safest Hook-on High Chairs?


Hook-on High Chairs don't need to be very expensive for them to be safe or good quality. We found that the more expensive and known brands often lack the right kind of safety features for maximum security.


To make your life easier we made a selection of the safest Hook-on High Chairs currently on the market. For the safety criteria, we looked at:

  • Shoulder straps to keep your child secured in place.

  • Large ergonomic handles for easy and secure locking of the clamps.

  • A crotch post to ensure your child can't slip out the bottom.

Once we had an initial selection, we looked at convenience, comfort and price to narrow it down to our top 3 selection:



TCBunny Hook-on High Chair


The hidden pearl in the Hook-on High Chair category. This Hook-on High Chair is stripped to the absolute minimum, yet it has everything your child needs for a very affordable price!





What we love:

  • 5-point harness

  • Clamps for 0.8"-3.3" in tables thickness

  • Deep hooks fit behind the bracing of some tables

  • Large ergonomic handles for tightening of the clamps

  • Foldable

  • Comes with a travel bag

  • Has an optional tray that is dishwasher safe!

  • Anti slip rubber clamps

  • Machine washable fabric

  • Up to 37lbs weight limit

What could be better:

  • Doesn't include a tray/optional

  • Seat tilts a bit forward




TCBunny Hook-on High Chairs do what they need to do, they are ideal for families on a tight budget or for those who want to have an extra High Chair for on the go. Check the price on Amazon.





Guzzie+Guss Perch Hook-on High Chair.

This Hook-on High Chair is not only all about safety with its 5-point harness and strong clamps, the designers also thought about convenience and comfort a lot. It can be folded flat for easy transportation and it has a high back for comfortable seating.






What we love:

  • 5-point harness

  • Clamps for 0.6" to 3.75" tables thickness

  • Good handles for tightening of the clamps

  • Bumper pad to protect your child from sharp table edges

  • Foldable

  • Comes with a Nylon travel bag

  • High back for optimal baby comfort

  • Anti slip rubber clamps

  • Machine washable fabric

  • Pouches to tuck away the straps when lowering your child into the seat.

  • Up to 37lbs weight limit.

  • Lots of available colors.


What could be better:

  • ribbed clamps sometimes collect dirt.

  • Harness locking system has a lot of nooks and crannies.



It is not the cheapest Hook-on High Chair on the market but it has enough positives to verify the higher price. Check the price on Amazon.




Phil & Teds Lobster Clip-on High Chair.

This is the flagship of Hook-on High Chairs. It comes with all the necessary safety features and a well thought through design. Nothing has been overlooked and your baby will enjoy the comfort it deserves.




What we love:

  • 4-point harness with padding

  • Clamps for 0.8" up to 3.75" tables thickness

  • Large handles for tightening of the clamps

  • Foldable

  • Comes with a Nylon travel bag

  • Comes with a tray that is dishwasher safe!

  • Anti slip rubber clamps

  • Up to 37lbs weight limit

  • Only 3.8lbs product weight


What could be better:

  • Clamp design doesn't allow for tables with bracing

  • The mesh can't be taken off for machine washing

  • Smaller leg holes so difficult to get your child in

  • Price




Phil and Teds is a well established brand that delivers with a great looking design. Many parent even opt for this Hook-on High Chair to replace their traditional High Chair because it is so convenient. Check the price on Amazon.




Now you know everything there is to know about the safety of Hook-on High Chairs. As you can see, if you consider all safety measures, they are a valid option for both you and your child.


If you liked learning with us and find this article helpful, please share it and help other parents in their search of knowledge. Thanks for reading!!!

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