Choosing the right high chair for your baby can get very confusing and difficult, owing to varieties of this product that are available in the market. Keeping that in mind, this post presents some tips that will surely come in handy when you are looking at your options and trying to decide which high chair is the best for your baby.
Most Important Tip!
Never buy a high chair or any baby product that has been recalled by the manufacturer.
Please note: In this AptParenting excerpt, for the sake of consistency, we have applied the female gender to the baby.
A high chair is necessary for your baby once she is ready for solid food. The best thing about a high chair is that you can easily strap your baby in it and feed her properly. These chairs are helpful not only while feeding, but also if you are planning to start teaching your baby to identify shapes and textures.
Your baby will be spending a lot of time in this chair. So, choosing the right high chair is of utmost importance. AptParenting understands every mother’s concern towards the safety and comfort of her baby, and therefore, has compiled all the useful tips on how to choose the best high chair for your little bundle of joy.
High Chair Selection Pointers
Knowing and understanding the types of high chairs available in the market is very important. It makes the selection process much easier. Depending on your needs and space constraints, make your purchase. The types of high chairs available are:
Basic metal- or plastic-frame high chairs are very simple to look at, as they are just molded plastic chairs with the option of seat belts, trays, wheels, and cushioning. They are not heavy on the pocket and are light in weight, but are not very safe or comfortable for your baby.
Full-featured high chairs are equipped with features like wheels to roll the chair from place to place, cushioned seats with safety belts, detachable trays, height adjustments, and reclining options. They are on the expensive side due to all the features that they provide.
Portable and hook-on high chairs are those that are not freestanding, and can be hooked on to the table. They can be moved and stored easily, and they do not take too much of space. The best part about this type of high chair is that it can be attached to a regular chair, and it costs less than a regular high chair.
Wooden high chairs look awesome, but are full of drawbacks. They are expensive, heavy, uncomfortable for your baby as the seat is too deep, the footrest is too low, and it is not very safe. These chairs are difficult to clean because they are made of wood and also because these chairs have too many crevices where crumbs can get lodged easily. This factor makes it a bad choice for babies.
After you know and understand the types, safety is the next important concern. Make sure to buy a high chair that has the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) approval stamp on it. Apart from the JPMA stamp, look for safety features as mentioned below.
◆ Look out for blunt edges, points, and projections so that your baby does not sustain any injury, while in the chair.
◆ Opt for a chair with a sturdy construction and good stable balance so that your baby does not tip over or fall.
◆ The legs of the baby chair should spread wider than all the other parts of the chair.
◆ There should be no gaps, traps, or crevices, where your baby’s fingers and food might get stuck.
◆ The chair should not have small parts that can be a choking hazard for your baby.
◆ A secure locking mechanism should be present to keep the baby in place, the chair from collapsing, and operable only for parents.
◆ Wheels with a ‘lock and hold’ feature are the best.
◆ Go in for an adjustable 5-point harness that goes over the baby’s shoulders, between the legs, and around the waist to prevent her from slipping out or standing up, while in the chair.
◆ Choosing a chair with a crotch restraint is also very important.
◆ The back and side of the chair should not have very large gaps.
◆ The high chair should be devoid of pinch points to avoid your baby’s limbs from getting injured. This point also directly benefits parents, as even they might get their fingers pinched while adjusting or folding the chair.
◆ The chairs should be made of non-toxic material. Even the paints and glue used in the chair should be made from the same.
After you check all the safety features thoroughly, you should also think about other features that you would like to have for your baby’s chair. Things like size of the tray, ease of cleaning, adjustability, storage, comfort, and cost are also very important factors in determining your purchase.
Tray and Cleaning
Look for a chair that has an easily removable and adjustable tray. Also, the tray should be big and void of concavities and angular ridges. Choose a tray that has a high, curved rim. Selecting a tray that does not have any indentations for cup holders, or an angular rim is for the purpose of easy cleaning. The tray should easily fit in the dishwasher or sink, and should have a dishwasher-safe cover. Apart from the tray, even the chair, seat, harness, and legs should not have too many areas that are hard to clean. The seat and harness should be detachable, and you should be able to wash them in a washing machine.
Adjustments and Storage
The height of the high chair and the tray placement should be adjustable. A sturdy locking facility should be present in every adjustment. Another factor that should be taken into consideration is that the high chair should be easily convertible into a booster seat, or a small kid-sized chair so that you can use it for your baby up to the age of about 5 years. Easy to fold and keep away when not in use is a point that many new parents make. If you are new to parenthood, you should choose a chair that folds easily, which you can either keep against the wall, or one that can stand independently. Also, make sure that the tray won’t be a problem for you when you plan to fold the chair. Many parents complain that they have to keep detaching the tray whenever they fold the chair, and it gets a tad inconvenient. So, choose a chair whose tray can be folded with the chair without the added hassle of removing and attaching it all the time.
Comfort and Cost
Comfort is a factor that should never be ignored. Your baby needs to be comfortable in her seat. Therefore, choose one that has enough padding to provide comfort for your little one, but still not be too difficult a task for you to clean. Like all nursery furniture varieties, the prices of even high chairs can skyrocket. Hence, choose a chair that fits your budget and needs. If you see a model that has everything you need, but makes you extend your budget a little more, think about it because your child will be making use of it till she is at least 5 years old, plus the chair has to be safe. Compromises should never be made on a child’s safety and comfort.
At the end of the day, select a high chair that is safe, comfortable, and fits your budget. Take a look at many designs and styles of high chairs, and after thorough study, make your purchase.