Guide: Choosing the right High chair

As parents, sometimes we feel like we have to provide the latest and greatest for our children… and we do this out of love! But googling the “best baby high chair 2020” may not exactly do this for us when it comes to getting your kid a comfortable, easy to clean, and safe high chair. Fact of the matter is, the best high chairs out there aren’t necessarily the most expensive, or the “fanciest”!

In this blog post, I hope to simplify this search for you!

Seating position for a baby 

Did you know that having your baby and toddler positioned correctly during feeding is crucial for safe and focused feeding success? And to get us started, it wouldn’t be a blog post about high chairs without first going over the proper seating position for feeding a baby! 

Here is a list of things that your baby should be able to do in their high chair to achieve optimal feeding success!

  • They should be able to hold their head upright and steady without tiring.
  • Their torso should be positioned upright and airway unrestricted. This means their bum and pelvis are positioned directly under their hips (at a 90 degree angle).
  • Their shoulders are angled just slightly in front of the hips. They can also lean forward if wanted and turn slightly to the left or the right without restriction.
  • Their arms are freely movable and not restricted in any way.
  • Feet are supported with a footrest appropriate for their height, with their ankles also resting at 90 degrees under their knees!

*PS Babies should be able to sit upright unassisted without tiring easily before starting solids. Unassisted means without your help, or the help of a seating device or high chair. For these exact reasons, I never recommend using a Bumbo chair to feed your baby!

Proper sitting position for feeding

Why is proper seating so important?

One of my biggest tips for how to help your toddler sit and stay at the table is to ensure proper and comfortable seating! 

Proper seating is often skipped over, but is sooo important for feeding success!

If a toddler or baby isn’t seated comfortably and with good stability, you may start to see things like:

  • Wanting to skip meals to leave the table early
  • Being fidgety/squirmy or trying to eat in odd positions
  • Struggles with developing fine motor and eating skills – for example, using utensils!

You’ll especially see these signs start when your baby isn’t held upright and has no footrest. Think about what it’s like when you eat off a really tall bar stool… do you struggle with your feet dangling with no support? How does this impact your chewing, coordination, maintaining your posture, and your comfort? It all becomes sooo much harder!! Notice often in these scenarios we try to find something to naturally rest our feet on, or we wrap our feet and ankles around the legs of the chair.

What to look for in a high chair 

A proper high chair is the most beloved and most important feeding gear to get! Remember that a proper or good high chair doesn’t mean it has to be the most expensive one! Though some add ons can be helpful if you can spend the money on them, add ons are not necessary.

High chairs can come in everything from bare-bones models to deluxe, every-bell-and-whistle options. Here are some of the most common features that you may want your high chair to have.

FeatureWhat It Does & Why You Want It
Dishwasher-safe trayPlastic trays that can be easily removed and thrown right in the dishwasher make post-meal cleanup a breeze.
WheelsIf you’ll regularly need to move the high chair from room to room-or simply off to a corner after feeding time, wheels can make it easy to get it where it needs to go.
ReclinableA seat that reclines can make it easier to bottle feed in a high chair.
Adjustable heightSome models allow you to change the height of the high chair to make feeding comfortable for you and your baby, from a standing to a seated level-or even sit right up to the table, by removing the tray.
Safety straps and crotch postThe crotch post keeps baby from slipping and sliding out beneath the bottom of the tray. Many models include that along with a three-point harness; safest yet is the five-point harness, which won’t let kids climb out over the top of the harness.
FoldableIf you’re short on space or just want to be able to move the high chair out of sight, a foldable one will be a real boon.
Soft seatingFor your child’s comfort, most high chairs feature cushioned seating. Look for seats with easy-wipe vinyl covering or which are easily removed for washing, to make cleanup a breeze.

High Chair Construction

High chairs are generally made out of wood, metal or plastic. The seats are often molded plastic or wood, with a cushion.

MaterialBenefitsPoints to Consider
WoodClassic look and styling that can match your table and chairs. Wood is easy to wipe down.A wooden tray won’t be dishwasher safe (though some have a plastic insert to make cleanup easier).
PlasticEasy to clean; can come in different styles and colors.Can be less sturdy than the wooden models.
MetalSturdy, with a sleek, contemporary look. Usually accompanied by a molded plastic seat.Commonly found on the more basic models.

Life Span of a High Chair

Consider how long you’d like to use the high chair. A simple high chair is generally only used for about a year or so before a child graduates to a booster, but an adjustable seat that can be pulled up to the table without the tray may be used for a few more years.

Some chairs convert even further, to stepstools, or even a child table and chair. Consider how you might use the high chair in the future.

Safety Considerations

Safety and sturdiness are important in high chairs. Here are some things that you should consider:

Five-point harness: A five point harness keeps your child from slipping out the bottom of the seat, or climbing out of the harness.

Wide base: A wide base and a bottom-heavy design can help keep the seat from toppling when your baby’s seated.

Foldable Safety: The seat should lock securely when set up, to prevent an accidental folding while your child is seated. Make sure that the seat won’t pinch your child’s fingers (or yours) when you’re folding it.

Locking wheels: The wheels should lock when you’re feeding your child.

Crotch post: A permanent, solid crotch post will help ensure your child won’t slip out the bottom, and is more secure than a fabric strap.

A secure tray: The tray should snap in securely, so your child can’t slip it off, but should be easy for you to remove when feeding’s done.

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