When your baby is ready to join you at the kitchen table, it's time to get them their own special chair! This chair will have many purposes: a place to eat, an area to play, a pathway for exploring solid food, and a gateway to socializing with family and friends. When it comes to starting solid foods especially, it's important to have a spot for your little one to eat that is safe and easy to clean. High chairs now come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and styles, which can make picking out a high chair a daunting task.
The perfect high chair should be easy for both parent and baby to use, as well as safe. It should be comfortable and ideally not a total eyesore. When introducing solid foods, be prepared to be blessed with a gigantic mess all over that area - meaning your ideal high chair definitely needs to be easy to clean too. A high chair also functions as a tool to keep your baby upright, which is important for eating solid food.
Nowadays it's all about the options! While this can make high chair shopping a scary thought, it also means that no matter what your preferences are, you're bound to find the perfect high chair for you and your baby. Think about your needs and start there. Where do you plan on eating your meals? In that space, how much room do you have to store a high chair and will it fit next to the table? Larger, standalone high chairs can sit anywhere, but also take up a lot of space. They usually have their own trays too, which can help with the clean up. There are more affordable, plastic options, but there are also high chairs that are loaded with all the bells and whistles! This includes, but isn't limited to: washable cushions, wheels, footrests, reclining seat (think bottle feedings), adjustable chair height, and so much more!
If space is an issue, consider a folding chair that can be stored away while not in use. There's also convertible high chairs that transform as your child grows, allowing you to get more use out of the one product. Take into consideration safety first (as always) then decide what features are most important to you. That's a great start!
Side Note: Portable High Chairs
A popular option is a portable high chair, especially for families that travel or eat out a lot. It can attach to the edge of a table but it has its downsides. The American Academy of Pediatrics actually warns against the everyday use of chairs that clip onto the table's side. The table must be heavy and stable, and the seat must be locked into place properly. Even then, a baby can kick and push if they can reach part of the table with their feet. It is possible to use these chairs safely, and they can be a great option for use depending on the situation. However, we are not including them in our guide to the perfect high chair.
About when are you going to need a high chair? The answer is not until about six months. You'll start getting use out of it around the time your baby starts solid foods, but your little one must also be able to hold themselves fully upright. Depending on the convertibility of the chair, you can get 2-3+ years out of it. The more the chair transforms with your child, the longer you'll be able to use it.
What to Look For
With so many options out there, it's important to pick what's right for you. That being said, here at the top things to consider:
- Safety. Safety first as always! A good high chair should have some type of safety belt that goes between their legs. Let's face it, kids are contortionists. If they want out of that chair, they will squirm until they get out. So strapping them in will help prevent injuries. The high chair should also have a stable base to prevent tipping.
- Comfortable. Your child could be spending a lot of time in this chair. So just like any chair you would enjoy sitting in, it needs to be comfortable. Its design should also help support your child in their attempt at sitting upright.
- Easy to Clean. If the chair has its own tray, is it removable? If so, is it dishwasher safe? Crumbs and juices will find their way into every nook and cranny and the easier it is to clean, the happier mom will be. A plus is when the pads or pad covers are removable and machine washable. Ease of cleaning is the factor that made most people either love or hate their high chair so don't take this lightly!
- Space. Based on how much space you have, this could determine the size of the chair should be and if it can fold or not.
- Multi-Purpose. While convertible high chairs are for everyone, they can get you more bang for your buck. They grow as your child grows, which means you can use it for longer.
- Durability. This chair will be used for years to come (even longer if it's convertible) which means it needs to be durable enough to take on the everyday wear and tear of a messy baby/toddler.
Best High Chair 2017
With all of that to take into consideration, here's our pick for this year's top high chair!
Ingenuity Trio 3-in-1 Ridgedale High Chair - Amazon's Pick
This high chair has the best all around options all in one chair! It's a convertible chair, meaning it can transform between a full-size high chair, booster seat, and toddler chair. The booster and toddler chair separate in a way that each can sit one child, perfect for siblings! It features a 5 point safety harness (3 point harness for the toddler chair) and a dishwasher-safe, removable tray that has 4 locking positions to give your baby growing room. The seat pad is removable and machine washable and the seat can be reclined into three different positions. To top it all off, it weighs only 21.4 pounds, which is less than the average stroller!
- Less than $100
- Locking wheels
- Dishwasher safe and machine washable removable parts
- Made of plastic
- Limited color options
- Max weight of 50 lbs
Graco Blossom 4-in-1 Convertible High Chair - High Ratings
As if a 3 in 1 wasn't enough, this high chair is a 4 in 1! It converts between a traditional baby high chair, infant feeding booster seat, toddler booster seat, and a youth high chair. It features six height positions and three recline levels so you're sure to find the right position for your child. There's a one-hand removable tray insert that is dishwasher safe, making it easy for clean up even when your hands are full. The seat pad is removable and machine-washable as well. You can simultaneously use the highchair and toddler booster or the infant feeding booster and youth chair to accommodate two children at once. This chair also features a convertible 3- and 5-point harness.
- 4 in 1 convertibility
- Dishwasher safe and machine washable removable parts
- Made of metal
- You'll pay more for different colors
- Weighs 32 lbs
- Max weight of 60 lbs
This high chair pairs functionality with long term use because it can be used as a traditional high chair, a toddlers chair with multiple height position options, or as a traditional dining chair for all ages. It's weight limit is 250 pounds and it weighs a mere 17 pounds! The tray cover is removable and dishwasher safe and the seat is stain resistant and waterproof, making cleanup a breeze. This product is BPA-free, latex free, lead free, and phthalate free. The seat comes in multiple color options: red, blue, green, black, cream. Plus, the seat comes in either mahogany or a lighter natural wood color.
- Convertible and built to last
- Multiple color options
- Max weight: 250 lbs
- Over $150
- Seat pad isn't machine washable
- No wheels
Cosco Simple Fold High Chair - Folding & Affordable
This chair is perfect for parents on a strict budget and/or parents who are limited on space. It folds and stands on its own, making it easy to hide away or take on the go. Plus, the product weighs only 13.9 pounds, making transportation that much easier. The three point safety harness keeps kids secure and the easy wipe seat makes all that baby goo easy to clean. This chair is a great affordable option that keeps the basics in mind.
- Foldable for easy storage
- Lightweight for transportation
- Extremely affordable
- Made of cheap plastic
- Max weight: 50 lbs
- Seat pad is not removable or machine washable
Fisher-Price SpaceSaver High Chair - Limited Space
This high chair is designed with small spaces in mind because it attaches to a regular dining chair. It has all the features of a full-size chair without being a space hog. It's 3-in-1 convertibility goes from a reclining newborn seat to a high chair to a toddler booster seat easily and comes with a 3 point and 5 point safety harness for added security. There's two height adjustments, three recline positions, and the product weighs only 1.1 pounds! The dishwasher safe tray has one-hand removal and the seat pad is machine washable. It's compact size is perfect for on-the-go families.
- Great for small spaces and on-the-go families
- Under $50
- 3 fun color designs
- Max weight: 50 lbs
- Requires stable dining chair
- Made of plastic
With so many options on the market today, you are pretty much guaranteed to find the right chair for you and your baby. If you plan on keeping the chair for as long as possible, you'll definitely want a convertible high chair. With this, you'll want to look at durability as well so you can be sure it will stand up to the wear and tear over the years. If you're looking for something more affordable, there's definitely products out there. You'll be able to find a good value for all the bells and whistles you do or do not want.
Just like how some of these high chairs are convertible, there's lots of convertible car seat options too! Check out our buyer's guide for the best convertible car seat.
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