Types of High Chairs

Your high chair is a well-used piece of baby gear, serving as the spot where your child dines daily. As a result, you want to select a style that maximizes your child's comfort and works for your family and home. A variety of high chair styles are available, and selecting the right one requires considering your room layout and key features. Learn more about the different types of high chairs and important features to consider when shopping.

High Chair Styles

When you envision a high chair, you might first think of the most traditional style: a free-standing high chair that sits sturdily on four legs. This high chair is often made of wood, plastic, metal or a combination of these materials. It includes a bucket-style seat, sometimes with a fabric cover, and a tray that sits in front of your child. Your child's legs slip between two slots under the tray, and you can buckle your child in securely to the seat to maximize safety.

Traditional high chairs are reliable styles available at a variety of price points, allowing them to fit into any budget. Some come with only basic features, such as a buckle and removable tray, while others have a variety of other features, including a padded seat cover for extra comfort and wheels for improved mobility. Because these styles do not fold, they take up a larger footprint in a room, which can be problematic if you're short on floor space.

Folding high chairs simplify storage of the high chair when it's not in use. Their design is similar to that of traditional high chairs, with a few exceptions. Folding high chairs will feature buttons or a lever that allows you to fold the high chair. As a result, you can tuck the high chair into the corner of the kitchen, pantry or closet when your child isn't using it. This convenient feature makes folding high chairs ideal for smaller kitchens where floor space is limited.

Modular high chairs might look like a traditional high chair at first glance. These high chairs come on traditional frames, allowing you to use them just like a traditional high chair. This setup is ideal for a child under 1-year-old who is learning to sit independently. Unlike traditional styles, these high chairs are adaptable as your child grows. The chair and tray lift off of the high chair frame, allowing you to strap it to a dining chair so that your growing child can sit with the family at the table. In time, you can also remove the tray so that your toddler has a size-appropriate seat at the kitchen table. The biggest advantage of modular high chairs is that they grow with your child, thus requiring you to invest in just one high chair.

Portable high chairs offer unmatched versatility, allowing you to use them at home or on the go. These high chairs feature smaller, more compact silhouettes, and they fold for easy transporting. They include straps that allow you to hook the high chair onto any dining chair, either at home or in a restaurant.

Hook-on high chairs are one style that fits in this portable high chair category. These high chairs can be pressure mounted to the edge of a tabletop, giving your child a spot to sit at most tables. The only disadvantage of these hook-on styles is that they don't work with every table, especially thin tables or tables with a lip. However, they can serve well as a practical second high chair perfect for keeping in the car for travel or restaurant dining.

High Chair Shopping Guide

Selecting the right high chair for your family's needs begins with a thorough assessment of its features. Foremost, focus on safety. One simple way to confirm that the high chair meets basic safety standards is to look for an ASTM or JPMA sticker, which indicates that the high chair is certified for safety. Other important safety features to look for include a three-point or five-point harness with a buckle, a tray that locks into place with latches that your child cannot reach and lockable wheels for stability.

Once the high chair meets these safety requirements, focus on those features that will make your life easier. A removable tray makes cleanup easy. You can simply unlatch the tray, place it in the sink and wash with warm, soapy water. Likewise, look for a seat cover that's easy to clean, whether you can simply wipe it down after a meal or remove it and place it in the washing machine.

Next, consider the comfort of your child. An adjustable seat height allows you to offer positions that maximize your child's comfort as he or she grows. This feature is especially important for babies. A padded seat is another comfort feature worth considering. While you're assessing the seat, also consider its design, and choose a fabric or pattern that complements your home.

Finally, focus on durability. High chairs see daily use, so they need to be built with sturdy materials. Choose a high chair with a sturdy, not flimsy, seat cover. A wide base offers more stability for your squirming child. When possible, check out the high chair in person before buying and lift it or push it, if it's on wheels, to get a sense of how well it holds up when it is moved around.

Purchasing a high chair is an investment, and you want to make the right choice. By evaluating different high chair styles and their features, you can discover one that's well suited for your home and your child. When you do, meals will be more enjoyable for your family, and cleanup will be a cinch.

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