How to Choose a High Chair

Medically Reviewed by Dany Paul Baby, MD on April 28, 2022
4 min read

Your growing child will continually undergo changes in their feeding routine. From that initial first taste of solid food until the point at which they can feed themselves, a high chair is very important. 

In addition to being convenient for both mommy and baby, a chair is meant to provide safety during meals as well. Every year, though, there are several injuries reported from improper high chair use

Make sure you know what makes a good high chair and how to keep your kid injury-free.

High chairs come in a variety of styles, from traditional to temporary. Many have functions included for shortcuts and conveniences. These can include:

  • Trays that are adjustable and can be placed in the dishwasher for cleaning
  • Reclining seats that are adjustable and can accommodate bottle-feeding
  • Settings for different heights to stay comfortable as your baby grows

The best high chairs are practical. An example would be a high chair that converts to a booster chair when it is time for your kid to sit at the table. Some chairs completely fold up. 

When you are dealing with space issues, a high chair that connects to a table is not necessarily a good replacement for a stand-alone chair, but if this is your only option or is planned for use while eating out or traveling, choose one that locks onto the table. It should be able to support the weight of your kid without tipping over. 

Also, your kid should not be able to swing their legs to kick the table support, because pushing against it can dislodge the seat.

The most modern and expensive high chairs must still be used safely and properly. One of the most important aspects is that any high chair should be sturdy and not easily tipped over. Additionally, you should never leave your kid in an unattended high chair.

Many high chairs can be suitable if the following mistakes are avoided:

  • Make sure your child only sits in the chair. Do not allow them to kneel or stand.
  • Make sure the chair has restraint straps. Buckle the straps as soon as the kid is in the chair, never utilizing the tray as the restraint.
  • Do not let older kids play on or in the high chair.
  • Keep the chair safe. It should be kept away from hot surfaces. It also should be positioned away from areas that would allow a child to push off of it, like a counter, table, or wall.

Safety should be a top priority when you are considering a high chair. The main components that determine safety are:

  • A five-point harness within a safety-restraint system   
  • Wheels that lock in place or no wheels at all
  • A crotch post 

Also, with folding chairs, check and double-check that it is locked every time it is set up. 

When examining high chairs, look for a certification sticker. The sticker will show that this manufacturer met the safety standard set by the American Society for Testing and Materials International. You also will be able to tell if it participates in the certification program overseen by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA). 

Most experts do not recommend taking in or buying previously used chairs. For those who still feel a secondhand chair is an option, you should get the date of manufacture and model name. Both should be indicated on the chair itself. Take this information to to ensure that your prospective chair model has not been recalled.

There are three basic types of high chairs. They are traditional, multipurpose, and grow-with-me.

Traditional high chairs include chairs from the most basic to high-end models. These chairs are meant for use in the home. Traditional chairs are not made for folding or travel, nor do they convert to on-the-go seats. The advantages of this type include simplicity and a sleek, upscale look in the high-end models. Many have nice fabrics and great adjustability. There are numerous models, features, and materials to choose from. Widely spaced legs can be a hazard for tripping, though. Meanwhile, some of the molded plastic in the tray or seat can become germy, trapping dirt and food.

Multipurpose or modular high chairs have a seat unit with a tray and base. This seat can be directly lifted off the frame of the chair with or without the tray. It can be strapped to a full-size dining chair as a booster seat. As a kid continues to grow, the booster can be removed and the base of the seat moved closer so that the child can eat at the table. Modular high chairs can potentially seat more than one kid if you use the high chair for the youngest and the base for the oldest. Unfortunately, many of these chairs do not have a foldable base.

Grow-with-me high chairs are mostly wooden chairs that convert into toddler chairs. Some models last into adolescence and adulthood. This type is popular due to its adaptability and design, which often resembles regular home furniture. One con is that the seat needs to be adjusted with an Allen wrench, which can be tedious.