Choosing a High Chair for your baby: an illustrated guide
Updated: Nov 22, 2020
If you are raising your first child, a whole new world opens-up to you and there are many unknowns. Choosing a High Chair for your child is one of those unknowns that seem easy enough, until you see the myriad of choices available on the market these days.
In this article we help you to see the wood for the trees. By answering a couple of simple questions, you will narrow down the options until you find the perfect High Chair for you and your little sprout. Choosing a High Chair now becomes easy!
In the below chart, you can see the way this universe of seats is constructed. There are two main categories based on the primary use case: At Home or On The Go.
These are then further subdivided for the specific environment they will be used in:
Spacious homes: Allow you to leave the High Chair where it is at all times.
Cozy homes: Need a High Chair that can be stored away in a compact manner.
On the Go:
Occasional Visits: Require High Chairs that are light and easy to compact.
Hardcore Outdoor: Require High Chairs that have a Bear Grills factor built in.
Now that you have made a decision regarding the category of High Chair, it is time to look at some general checkpoints that a good High Chair should have. These checkpoints will ensure that the product you are buying is safe and easy to use. After all, a High Chair should be an investment into the life quality of your baby and yourself.
What makes for a good High Chair?
Whether you are purchasing a brand new High Chair or a used one, it is always a good idea to check if all the safety features are in place. There are still High Chairs on the market that do not meet all the safety standards as issued by standardization institutions like the CPSC or the CEN.
These standards have been issued in 2018 so, for older models that don’t have these labels yet (lets say you get a High Chair from a friend) it is good practice to do this safety check yourself.
This may sound like an obvious point but it is far too often skipped when purchasing a High Chair. This is especially true for second hand High Chairs, as during use, small elements might get lost. If anything is missing, you should not use the High Chair until it has been replaced by an original part.
You can find all the components listed in the user guidelines or user manual. It is advised to always read and understand this document before using the High Chair. In case you can’t find the guidelines in the package, you can always find it on the web or via the manufacturer of the High Chair.
Not every flawed product is stopped by quality control. Small damages like bad seams may go undetected and become a serious safety hazard. It is advised to do a good check-up with the user guidelines at hand to see if everything is working properly before placing your sprout in a High Chair.
Chairs with a robust and stiff construction, together with a wide base, ensure a firm stability. Chair legs that are connected midway or at the bottom, are a good indication for a sturdy frame. Parents of children with special needs often find wooden High Chairs to be the best choice in terms of stability.
All High Chairs should have a safety harness, either a 3-point that straps around the waist or a 5-point that also straps around the shoulders. The better your child is strapped in, the less likely it is she or he will be able to escape.
Straps should also be tightened snug, this way your child won’t be able to wiggle itself free to attempt an escape. You can check if the strap sizes allow you to obtain a snug fit when using the High Chair for the first time.
Also check if the strap locking system still works well. It should be impossible for your child to open, yet easy to open with one hand by yourself.
A crotch post prevents your child from slipping out of the High Chair. It is best to have a High Chair with a fixed crotch post that stays into place, even when you take away the tray to remove your child.
All movable parts such as the tray, foot- and back support must be baby proof. Only you, the parents, should be able to unlock and move components.
The overall design should be soft with rounded edges, without brims, splinters and small gaps.
The right setup:
Choosing the right High Chair also depends a bit on the environment in which you will be using it. This is true for the following models:
Foldable High Chairs
Foldable High Chairs are convenient for smaller homes. However, once they are folded down, it is advised to store them in a separate room, out of reach for your children. In a folded state, the footprint is a lot smaller and part of the stability is lost. If your child or children can try to climb it, accidents can happen easily.
Space Saver High Chairs
The stability of a Space Saver High Chair primarily depends on the stability of the dining or kitchen chair it is mounted on. Before you purchase one of these models, you should have a look at the manufacturers guidelines if your furniture is a good match for the Space Saver High Chair.
Hook-on High Chairs
Hook-on High Chairs safety greatly depends on the type of table you are using it with. If the table is too light, to thin or made from the wrong material (like glass) it is not safe to use this type of High Chair.
If you would like to know more about the dos and don'ts regarding Hook-on High Chairs you can have a look at this illustrated article we wrote here:
It also contains our selection of the best Hook-on High Chairs on the market right now.
2. Easy to clean:
Cleaning a High Chair is not a fun job, especially because you will be doing this up to 4 times a day. Therefore you should always look for a design that makes your life as easy as possible. Just follow the below rule of thumb and you are good to go:
"The simpler the shape, the easier it is to clean!"
High Chairs with few corners and crevices are much more forgiving during cleaning. Make sure you have large surfaces that are easy to wipe down with a damp cloth and some mild detergent.
Removable parts such as dishwasher safe trays or machine washable harness-straps and seat covers make cleaning a breeze and keeps your High Chair hygiene at a top level.
Convenience is all about simplifying the handling that you do the most on a day-to-day basis. Below we listed up some features to look for that simplify a High Chair related handling:
Getting your sprout in and out the High Chair quick and safely.
Features to look for:
A recline function creates more space to maneuver your child in and out without the need to remove the tray.
A feeding tray that can be removed single handedly leaves you with a free hand to hold your baby.
A feeding tray that pivots is even better as you don’t have to worry where to place it.
Cleaning up the battlefield after a meal.
Features to look for:
A large tray with a cup holder and a fluids reservoir helps you to keep most of the meal from the floor. Some High Chairs come with a snap on tray cover that is even more convenient.
High Chairs with lockable castors are easy to move away for a quick swipe of the floor after each meal.
Storage and transportation.
If storage and transportation are important, you will most likely end up with a foldable- or a Hook-on High Chair.
Features to look for:
High Chair on a diet: The thinner and lighter the folded High Chair is, the easier it becomes to use it for occasional visits to friends and family.
Simple and intuitive one handling fold: Foldable High Chairs or Hook-on High Chairs aren’t necessarily easy to use. Look for the ones that you can fold down with a single hand. Like this one we found on Amazon.
High Chairs with a X-in one setup are great for trips too. You can use the Booster Seat component when you are on the go while having the comfortable High Chair mode for at home.
It is important to note that a positive physical development of your baby depends on good ergonomics of the High Chair. Besides that, good ergonomics also influence how you, the parent, will be able to interact with your child. The following features can help your child with its development and improve the overall comfort level for both you and your child:
Features to look for:
An adjustable foot support to allow for a 90° angle of the knees.
A height adjustable seat to allow for an optimal height setting for your child and yourself.
Trays with different depth settings allow you to place the tray close to your baby, regardless of the size.
Padding of the seat and back, although not a necessity it is comfortable.
The back should have a slight curve to follow the natural shape of the spine.
So, there you have it. With this information at hand you are well informed to make an educated decision when buying a High Chair for you child. We hope you liked learning with us, if so, please share it with other fresh parents and help them to see the wood for the trees!
Thanks for reading!!!