High-chair shopping might feel as daunting as getting your little one to sit still for a feeding, but choosing a chair you love is worth the effort. Just think about how many meals your munchkin will munch there — and how many hours you’ll spend in front of (and cleaning) that chair. To find a chair that sits right with you both, check out these high-chair shopping tips.
WHAT ARE MY OPTIONS WHEN I’M HIGH-CHAIR SHOPPING?
There are four different types of high chairs to choose from:
- Hook-on high chairs, which clip right onto the dinner table
- Kitchen-chair high chairs (also called booster seats), which attach to adult kitchen chairs
- Basic freestanding chairs, which come with very few bells and whistles
- Full-featured freestanding chairs, which can come with extras like toys, dishwasher-safe trays, and kits to convert the chair into a booster seat later on
You’ll also have a choice of materials:
- Wooden high chairs look great, and the latest models are every bit as functional as their plastic counterparts, thanks to easy-to-clean finishes and lightweight designs.
- Plastic or metal high chairs are extra light, fast to fold, and easy to move around the kitchen.
WHAT DO HIGH CHAIRS COST?
Prices range from about $20 for a hook-on high chair to about $400 for a top high chair with every extra imaginable. For around $70, you can get a nice-looking high chair with plenty of parent-friendly features.
WHAT SHOULD I ASK MYSELF BEFORE I GO HIGH-CHAIR SHOPPING?
Answer the following questions before you set out on your search:
- How much room do I have? If space is tight, a chair that’s easy to fold and stash or a seat that attaches to your table or chair might be the way to go.
- Do I want the high chair to match my kitchen decor? There’s nothing like a honking piece of plastic to un-sleek the look of those sleek granite countertops. Luckily, high-chair styles have come a long way, but if you can’t find one that looks pretty in your pad, choose a model that folds up easily so you can hide the thing after each feeding.
- Who will do most of the high-chair feeding? If you and your partner plan on sharing baby-feeding duties, an adjustable high chair is a must. This way, the seat can simply scoot up (when your husband’s putting the “train” in the “tunnel”) and down (when you’re the one coaxing your sweet pea to eat peas).
WHAT PARENT-FRIENDLY FEATURES SHOULD I LOOK FOR WHEN HIGH-CHAIR SHOPPING?
Some of the top high chairs come fully equipped with extras that make feeding a breeze:
- Storage baskets underneath for holding books, toys, and other distractions to keep your baby busy while you get cooking
- Conversion kits so the high chair can grow as your baby does. Some top high chairs morph like magic (well, magic plus a screwdriver) into toddler booster seats. Helpful hint: Store the instructions in a designated drawer (along with the booklets for putting together the crib, stroller, and other baby gear).
- Dishwasher-safe trays make cleanup a breeze. Make sure yours has a spill-resistant rim (for obvious reasons).
- A reclining seat if your baby or toddler prefers to lean back while he dines
- Vinyl seat covers for easy cleaning. Some are even removable and machine-washable. If you go with a cloth seat cover, get one that’s stain-resistant.
- Adjustable height options, which let you tweak the chair to make it work best for you. Some require tools to adjust the seat height; others scooch up and down with a lever on the side.
- Wheels or gliders to protect floors from scratches (make sure the wheels lock so the chair stays put when your baby’s in it).