How to choose the best high chair for your baby

Published by 
Jess Miller
Last updated: 
September 15, 2014
baby smiling while sitting in a high chair

Your baby is growing and is finally ready for solid food. At this point, a high chair is a very handy piece of equipment. Not only do high chairs give your baby a safe place to experiment with new foods, tastes, and textures, it also allows you to (hopefully) keep all the mess from feeding your fussy baby in one place.

With so many different styles and shapes of baby high chairs, it can be quite an effort to find one that is suitable for your specific situation. Fortunately, I have you covered. Read on to not only learn about the different types and features of baby high chairs.

When to buy a high chair

Most parents purchase a high chair for their baby between the age of 4 and 6 months, or when a baby can start to hold himself upright. If you want to be super prepared, keep an eye out from the time your baby is born, you might just be able to grab one during a sale period.

The different types of high chairs

Now before we jump right into things it is worth mentioning that the word "high chair" loosely covers any seat that keeps your baby off the ground. It may surprise you to learn that there are many different types of highchairs available.

standard highchair for babies

Standard High chair

This is what most people think of when they think of a high chair, just like a regular chair, but higher. While standard high chairs are not the cheapest, they are one of the most commonly used baby-feeding seats. Standard high chairs can be made out of wood, plastic, or any other material.

space saver high chair for babies

Space Saver High Chair

Also known as a booster high chair, this type of high chair is essentially a booster seat with a feeding tray. Because the space saver high chair allows you to use your existing seats it is a fantastic solution for those of you living in apartments where space is at a premium. When feeding time is over you can easily stash the seat away in a cabinet, away from sight.

adjustable high chair for babies

Multifunctional High Chairs

Multifunctional high chairs allow you to adjust the height up and down, the seat backward and forwards, and even raise and lower the tray position. Multifunctional high chairs are particularly useful if the whole family pitches in and feeds the baby. The adjustments on the chair can quickly be implemented allowing anyone to get comfortable while trying to feed a fussy baby.

Convertible high chair for babies

Convertible High Chairs

Convertible high chairs are also known as "3-in-1" combinations. These high chairs were designed to adapt to your baby's rapidly growing body. Convertible high chairs vary from brand to brand but generally will transform from a high chair to a to a child-sized seat or a toddler-friendly chair and table.

hook on high chair for babies

Table Chair

A table chair, also known as a hook on a chair, keeps your baby suspended off the ground with help from your existing table. Table chairs will clamp down on your tabletop, allowing your little one to sit at the table with the feet dangling in the air below. The table chairs ability to fold up into a small package means that you can take it with you when you visit friends and family.

fabric high chair for babies

Fabric High Chairs

While not technically a high chair, it still holds your baby in place during mealtime.

By far the most portable of all the high chairs, fabric high chairs will require a regular seat in order to be usable. Simply slide your fabric over the regular chair and your baby will clip right in. Brilliant for parents who take their baby on the go.

High Chair Buyers Guide

Besides the type of high chairs that I discussed above, there a number of points you will need to take into consideration when looking to purchase a new high chair for your baby.

High Chair Trays

As you may have already noticed, not all high chairs will come with a tray. High chairs that don't come with a tray will rely on a table to rest your baby's meal and utensils.

While some trays are built into the high chair itself, other can be detached for ease of cleaning. Some detachable trays even go so far as to be dishwasher safe, allowing you to throw the tray in the dishwasher with the rest of the dishes.

How easy is your high chair to clean?

Feeding time is messy. Not only will food end up all over you and your baby, but there is a good chance the high chair will get a good coating as well. A hard to clean high chair can soon become the bane of your existence.

I am confident the picture below will be all too familiar. The saddest part? This is a baby eating neatly.

baby making a mess in a high chair

When deciding on a high chair to buy, keep a look out for areas of the high chair that may be difficult to clean. Glance your eyes over the harness, tray, and frame. Look for any hard to wipe areas and small crevices that have the potential to catch and trap food.

Also be mindful of the material that the seat and harness are made from. Faux leather and plastic are incredibly easy to wipe down while regular fabric will quickly stain and become unsightly.

Sturdiness

It goes without saying that if you are going to suspend your baby three foot off the ground, you are going to want to make sure that the high chair holding him in place is solid and sturdy.

While some baby chairs rely on your existing furniture for support, the traditional high chair relies on its own legs to keep your baby propped up. Generally speaking, the wider the base of the high chair, the harder the chair will be to tip over.

Adjustability of the high chair

As mentioned earlier multifunction high chairs have an absurd amount of adjustability. Other high chairs may only have one or two adjustable points.

When looking at high chairs with adjustable points, be mindful that each point locks securely in place and cannot be moved by your baby.

Safety Harness

If your baby wriggles and fidgets while being fed then a safety harness is just what you need to prevent your baby from standing or falling out of the high chair.

Check to make sure that the buckle cannot easily become undone by clipping it into place and then tugging on the harness it joins to. The harness straps should also be adjustable to easily accommodate your rapidly growing baby.

Comfort

It is difficult enough feeding a comfortable baby let alone one complaining of discomfort. When looking to buy a high chair, padded seats are much easier on your baby's behind than hard plastic.

If your high chair has a padded seat, run your hand over the seat and feel for any seams that may scratch or stick into your baby. Remember, your baby has much more sensitive skin than you and what may seem like a minor annoyance to you can be aggravating to your baby.

It's not only the seat that can cause discomfort to your little one. Check the side and underneath of the tray of the high chair for sharp corners and pieces of plastic that may stick into your baby during meal time.

High chair wheels

If you are nomadic and alternate which room you feed your baby in for each meal then you are going to want an easily transportable high chair. Wheels on your high chair will allow you to easily move the high chair from room to room without lifting. Just be sure to lock the wheels into place when feeding your baby. You don't want any accidental rollaways!

Aesthetics

While this should be a minor contributing factor to choosing a high chair for your baby, it is important for many parents. You do not want to purchase a high chair that can be spotted from the other side of the house simply because it clashes with your interior design.

Durability

After looking at all other aspects of the high chair, take a step back and think to yourself "Will this high chair last?". Some babies will use their high chair right through to the age of three. That's over two and a half years! With all the other expenses that come with being a parent, you simply do not need to worry about purchasing a new high chair because the old one did not last the distance.

If you have any suspicions that the high chair will break before it is outgrown, move on to a new brand. Fortunately, there are plenty of different high chairs available for you to choose from.

Buying the high chair

It's no secret that buying online is cheaper than buying in store. So how do you make sure you choose the right high chair for your baby if you can't physically see or touch it?

Many mothers will physically sight the high chair at a traditional brick and mortar store. When a suitable high chair is found, they then buy the chair online. In some instances, purchasing online can save you up to 40% of the high chairs recommended retail price.

And that brings me to the end of yet another buyers guide. Which high chair did you find best for you? Let me know in the comments below.

Related Resources
Mango baby food recipes.
Fig baby food recipes.
How to clean high chairs.
High chair template.

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