Searching for a high chair should not be a difficult task. However, with the great number of makes, models, and styles of baby chairs available these days, purchasing this simple piece of baby gear has turned into a stumbling point for many new parents. Here's what you need to know about today's high chairs, from the simple to the extravagant.
There are many things to consider when looking to buy a chair for your baby. Look at the following aspects of the chair you are considering before making a purchase: safety, age range, size, adjustability, ease of cleaning, and other additional features.
Of most importance, is that of safety. Has this baby chair ever been recalled? If so, for what reason? And did the company correct the problem and/or make improvements? Does it seem sturdy? These questions may be obvious to some, but there currently are no safety guidelines that high chair makers are required to follow, so it is really up to the customer to do their research. High chairs that have passed voluntary safety regulations will display the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) logo, so this is a good place to start. These regulations include having a crotch post to prevent babies from slipping under the feeding tray, a locking device to prevent accidental folding of the chair, and stable legs to prevent tipping, just to name a few. It is recommended that the crotch post be a fixed structure on the chair itself and not attached to the tray, as this will prevent accidental falls regardless of if the tray is in place or not.
Consider also the age range the high chair accommodates. If you are looking for a high chair that will suit your baby, but the chair you are considering does not recline, then keep looking. Many baby chairs these days recline to allow even an infant to safely and comfortably sit with the rest of the family at the dinner table. Some chairs are made to convert into a booster seat and then even into a regular chair sturdy enough for an adult! As you will get the most mileage out of these types of chairs, you will also most likely pay the most money for them.
If size, or lack thereof, is of importance to you, make sure your baby's high chair can either collapse to be stowed away or is not too big and bulky to begin with. High chairs may not seem big in the store when you're looking at rows and rows of them together, but get it home and it may seem to consume your kitchen! This will be a long standing fixture in your house, so make sure it's the one you want.
Next on the list of considerations are adjustability, ease of cleaning, and any other additional features you may or may not want. Adjustability is important if you are looking for a high chair that will seat an infant and therefore needs to adequately recline. This feature may also be of interest to you if you are looking for a chair that will raise or lower so that your little one will be at the same height as your table. This generally is not a major factor in purchasing a high chair unless you plan on removing the tray, pushing the chair up to the table, and using it as a booster seat for your older toddler or preschooler.
Ease of cleaning (or lack thereof) is perhaps one of the most important aspects to consider in a high chair. This one piece of baby equipment will be subjected to spills, drips, stickiness, crumbs, and messes like you never imagined! Make sure you will be able to easily and thoroughly clean it after every use! Although the pretty fabric chair may match your kitchen decor better, if it requires hand-washing and line-drying, opt for the chair with the vinyl seat cover that you can just wipe down without thinking twice!
Some high chairs include other features that you may or may not want to consider, such as toys that attach to the tray. While some parents find this feature helpful in keeping their children occupied during mealtimes, other parents find it so distracting that their children don't eat! Do what you think is right for your family.
While you may not have considered a high chair to be one of your top decision-making pieces of baby gear, since it is something your baby will use every day, it is definitely something worth putting some thought into. You now have the information necessary to make this decision a good one.