High Chair Buying Guide

Time to eat!  And for babies and toddlers, that usually means time for mess!  To make feeding time easier for both you and your baby, select the high chair or booster seat that's best suited to your needs.  Our High Chair Buying Guide helps you choose the right high chair for you and your baby or toddler.

High Chair Buying Guide

How to Choose the Right High Chair For You and Your Baby

Ask yourself these questions to ensure that you choose the best high chair for your needs.

Safety:  High chairs are not required to pass any specific safety guidelines. Those that have passed voluntary safety regulations however will display the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) logo.  These regulations include having a passive restraint (crotch post), a locking device to prevent accidental folding, secure caps and plugs, no small parts, sturdy trays that cannot be kicked off by the child, stable legs to prevent tipping, and no springs or scissoring actions of the mechanisms.

Age Range:
  How old is your child?  If you're looking for a high chair for an infant, does it recline enough until your baby can sit up on his/her own?  Are you looking for a high chair that grows with your child?  Is your child ready for a booster seat?

  Look at how big the high chair is.  Do you plan on storing away the high chair when not in use?  If it folds closed, how compact is it?  In the case of hook-on chairs and boosters, are they easy to transport to Grandma's or to a restaurant?

  How comfortable does this high chair seem for your child?  Can you adjust its height?  If the tray comes off the high chair completely, it's nice to be able to adjust the chair to the height of your table so it can be used in place of a booster seat later on.  Does the tray adjust to the size of your child's waist?

  How easily can the high chair be cleaned?  Although cloth-covered high chairs may be more aesthetically pleasing, vinyl seat covers can be easily wiped clean for daily clean-ups or even thrown in the washing machine for periodic thorough cleanings.  Consider a high chair with a dishwasher-safe tray cover.

Look for other features such as a one-handed tray release.  Are there toys incorporated in the tray?  Although these toys may keep Junior occupied during longer meals, they may also prove too distracting to keep him interested in eating.  Make sure all toys are removable and washable!  You may also want to consider a high chair with wheels.  Wheels make moving the high chair from the kitchen to the dining room - or even to the other side of the table - easier.  Be sure all wheels lock as a safety precaution.

High Chairs:
High chairs are typically not used for feeding your baby until he or she is eating solid foods, usually around 6 months of age.  However, it's not a bad idea to buy a high chair earlier than that; many babies enjoy sitting higher off the ground to be included in family mealtimes, rather than in a bouncer or infant seat on the floor.  If you use your high chair for a young infant, make sure it adequately reclines. Prices range from $40 - $300.

High Chair Types
Fisher-Price Zen Collection High Chair
Portable Hook-on Baby Chairs:
Portable hook-on baby chairs are a nice alternative to a full size high chair while traveling or as another high chair option for your baby's visiting friends.  These chairs are a real space saver!  Hook-on baby chairs attach directly to your table with a vise-like grip and allow your baby to eat with you at the table.  They do not recline and therefore cannot be used for infants unable to sit up on their own.  These chairs are easily collapsible and often come with their own carrying bag.  They are great to use at restaurants too, as all too often, the high chairs supplied by restaurants are dirty with broken safety straps.  Since your baby eats directly at the table in a hook-on baby chair, he or she will require more parental supervision, especially if your child is likely to grab things off the table.  Portable hook-on baby chairs are recommended for toddlers up to approximately 37 pounds.  Prices range from $35 - $60.

Regalo Easy Diner Portable Hook-On High Chair
Booster Seats:
Is your toddler ready to sit at the table like a big kid?  Time to graduate from a high chair to a booster seat!  Booster seats have come a long way over the years…from the phone books we used to sit on to the ergonomically designed, safe and cushy boosters of today.  Look for booster seats with both safety straps to secure the seat to the chair and another to secure your child in the booster.  Prices range from $17 - $50.

We're sure that the High Chair Buying Guide was helpful in answering all of your questions about high chairs, hook-on baby chairs, and booster seats.  Don't forget to visit our Reviews to see which high chairs, hook-on baby chairs, and booster seats rate the highest.

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