Little ones spend a good amount of time in their high chair, so it is important for them to have a great one, especially when they are ready to eat solid foods (usually around 6 months of age). The best high chair should keep your child secure, safe, and promote good posture during meal times.
So, how do you as a parent decide which high chair is best for your child? Our guide to the Best High Chairs of 2016 breaks down each nominee into the most important elements:
The ideal high chair adapts with your growing child and their changing needs. Early on, little ones require stability and external support to maintain upright sitting posture while in their high chair. As children grow and develop trunk strength and stability, we want our high chair to continue to promote proper posture and alignment. The ability for the child to maintain hips, knees and ankles at 90 degree angles with the child's feet weight bearing through a support surface offers optimal positioning and enables the child’s trunk and upper body strength to focus on the task at hand while eating.
Tips for keeping children safe in high chairs, according to the Center for Injury Research & Policy of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital include:
Always use the safety straps. Buckling the child in the seat with the straps every time they are in the high chair will help set a routine and keep them safe by keeping them seated and securely in the chair. Make sure the straps are in good working order and firmly attached to the chair. Only use chairs with either a 3-point or 5-point harness that includes a crotch strap or post. Remember – the tray is not enough to keep children in the seat.
Use high chairs appropriately during meal time. Teach your child that the high chair is where they sit for eating. Allowing them to play, climb or stand in the chair can cause it to tip over.
Be aware of where you put the high chair. If it is too close to the table, a counter or the wall, the child may knock the chair over by kicking their feet into these objects.
Before selecting a high chair for your child, test it out and make sure the chair is stable. Chairs with wide bases are often more stable.
Check for recalls and make sure the one you are using does not have any known injury hazards. Check www.recalls.gov to see if your high chair has been recalled.
It’s important to look for a sticker on the back of the chair, or on the product box or brochure, from either JPMA (Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association) or ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials). This means the high chair has been approved for safety standards.
Safety: This chair includes a 5-point restraint and passive restraint bar that are built into the chair. As an added safety feature, this chair features an auto-lock brake system that is controlled by hand at the top of the chair, rather than down on the wheels. JPMA Certified.
Postural Support/Positioning: Soft luxurious seat material allows child nice amount of cushion while feeling secure in their highchair. For younger babies, legs are often not long enough to reach the footrest on the Siesta. However, using the lever on the sides of the footrest, it can be adjusted so that baby is sitting with their legs straight out instead of dangling. Once child is larger, footrests can be adjusted to allow child to weight bear through both feet to encourage more aligned symmetric posture.
Portability: Although it is heavy (23 lbs) and does take up a slightly larger amount of floor space than other high chairs, it does fold flat. It also has extremely efficient wheels, so you really never have to pick up the actual chair unless moving it up or down stairs.
Adaptability: Adjustable height, footrest, and recline options offer opportunities to adapt the set up as the child grows and their needs change. This chair works from infancy through the toddler years (weight max = 45 lbs).
Safety: The chair's 5-point harness attaches to the back to secure little ones, and can be removed for older children. The Tripp Trapp Baby Set is made specifically for the Tripp Trapp Chair. The Baby Set includes a high back, a solid plastic yoke between the legs and across the midline, and extended gliders to provide additional support and stability. JPMA Certified.
Positioning: This chair offers optimal ergonomic positioning options, with the seat and footrest easily adjusted to promote that ideal 90/90/90 of the child's lower body (see photo above) to encourage trunk stability and strength. No padding is offered on the basic chair, but this leads to more incentive for child to maintain upright seating posture, rather than lounging. The chair is designed to fit right up to your dining table (or can be used free standing with add on tray), bringing your little one into the heart of your family, allowing him or her to learn and develop alongside you.
Portability: The Tripp Trapp has a small footprint in square inches. Gliders on the back legs of the chair provide additional backward stability, something you will appreciate for safety sake. So, although this chair has no wheels, the gliders do help with maneuverability. It is also relatively light, weighing in at 15 pounds. It does not fold flat, however, you can slide it in to store nicely around your dining table, much like a regular chair would.
Adaptability: This chairis a highly adjustable and ergonomic seat that grows with children from infancy to adulthood with a maximum weight limit of 300 lbs! Once your child is finished using the high chair, it can be converted to a stool or an adult chair.
Safety:The Height Right Chair includes a 3 point pelvic belt (rather than the previous chairs offering a 5 point harness). The Infant Insertoffers a soft cushion to provide a comfortable and safe seating solution during mealtime for your child under 3 years old. A built in pommel and 3-point safety belt help to keep your child seated properly. When used with the included tray with cover, the Keekaroo high chair and Infant Insert are JPMA certified to the highest ASTM standards for children up to 3 years old.
Positioning: This chair promotes proper posture and offers excellent seating ergonomics.
Portability: The chair weighs 21.1 pounds and has a small footprint, at only 470 square inches. When pushed in, it can fit around the dining room or kitchen table. Although it does not come with wheels it slides nicely over tile floors. If you have hardwood floors you may want to consider some type of protective pads, much like you would put on regular dining chairs.
Adaptability: The High Chair is ideal for children aged 6 months on up with a weight limit of 250 pounds.
Safety: The BabyBjörn High Chair design features a 3-point pelvic belt and foldable safety table, which works both as an eating table and as a restraint system. A childproof two-step lock keeps the table securely in place when using the chair. The chair also features a safety harness that complies with ASTM Standards.
Positioning: While the rounded backrest encourages upright sitting posture, the footrest is not adjustable, which means that smaller children will not be able to reach footplate and larger children may feel crowded by footplate at too high of a height to accommodate their longer legs. Not ideal for proper lower extremity positioning.
Portability: The BabyBjörn High Chair is 10 inches wide when folded, which makes it easy to travel with or store when not in use. When open this chair will only take up about 454 square inches of space. It does not have wheels, so maneuvering around the space can be a bit tricky.
Adaptability: The BabyBjörn High Chair is marketed for children 6 month to 3 years or those under 38" tall. While not as universal as our other options, it is still a great pick for younger children!
Safety: This chair is adjustable and includes a 5-point safety harness with a stationary crotch restraint that provides maximum safety and a perfect fit. Tray rests flat on table to prevent bowls and cups from tipping when removing baby from chair. Generous footprint provides balance and stability for reclining high chair. JPMA Certified.
Postural Support/Positioning: The seat has three reclining positions for optimal comfort and five height settings. The adjustable, contoured seat is perfect for tots from 4 months to 3 years. The tray, which has several depth adjustments, allows enough room for the baby. The seat has a high back support and is deep enough so the baby cannot climb out or tip out the side.
Portability: Lightweight (weight = 21lbs), scratch resistant, locking wheels provide flexibility and mobility. The footprint is 726 square inches and should be taken into consideration, especially if you have a small size kitchen. It does not offer a folding option but can collapse into several pieces if there is a need to store it.
Adaptability: Five height settings. The tray stores on back of the legs for added convenience. Tray is light and easy to remove or replace with one hand. The frame can be disassembled into two parts for convenient storage. This high chair is a tool free seat height and depth adjustability that grow with the child. Safe for tots up to 45 lbs.
Safety: This chair has a 5-point harness for added stability and security with crotch post and tray. Adjustable height seat with smooth EVA foam cushions for support and comfort. The base and legs are very sturdy. The chair has no recline so if your child has a hard time sitting up, this may not be the best choice. Meets ASTM Standards and is JPMA Certified.
Positioning: Converting this chair to a higher child’s dining chair provides correct posture at the dinner table. It also places your child at the right height so they don’t have to kneel on an adult chair at the dinner table.
Portability: The footprint is compact and does not take up much room however it is not foldable. The tray can be removed with one hand. This chair is heavy and weighs approximately 31lbs, so it is not recommended for those that need a high chair to be in anyway portable.
Adaptability: This chair converts to a youth chair when the seat is adjusted to the lowest setting. A new seat pad, which is included, replaces the infant seat pad, and the tray and straps are removed so your growing child can sit at the table. This chair is suitable for children 6 months to 5 years. The footrest has 4 height settings that adjust independently of seat height. The weight limit for this chair is 60 lbs.
Safety: This chair includes a 5-point buckling system and has a nice and sturdy frame. It also includes a 3-position removable footrest and 3 recline positions to ensure that your child stays comfortable and secure at mealtime. JPMA certified.
Positioning: The crotch restraint is attached to the tray so the tray is heavy when it needs to be removed. Allows for upright sitting posture with an adjustable footrest.
Portability: It has a large footprint and weighs approzimately 29 lbs. This is a heavy chair but it does have wheels that maneuver easily around the kitchen. This chair does not fold for storage.
Adaptability: Easy to clean, easy to assemble, and comfortable. This chair is a multi-function chair that can accommodate children in various ages and stages. This chair transforms seamlessly from an extremely functional highchair to an infant feeding booster, a toddler booster, and finally a youth chair. This chair can accommodate up to 60 pounds. Below is the recommended use of this chair:
Stage 1 (Highchair): Up to 3 years old, Max weight 40 lbs
Stage 2 (Infant Feeding Booster): Up to 3 years old, Max weight 60 lbs
Stage 3 (Toddler Booster): Use removable seat back insert through 3 years old, Max weight 60 lbs
Stage 4 (Youth Chair): Use removable seat back insert chair through 3 years old, Max weight 60 lbs