Consumer Reports – High Chairs

You’ll want a stable, sturdy model that can stand up to spilling, kicking, and regular cleaning for at least a year (some babies can’t bear to sit in a high chair after that). A chair with a tray that can be released with one hand is also a plus. Picture your baby occupying your other arm while you’re opening and closing the tray; it’s just one of the many physical feats you’ll be asked to master as a parent.

A high chair usually consists of a frame of molded plastic or metal tubing and an attached seat with a safety belt and a footrest. There are still a few old-fashioned wooden high chairs out there with a removable tray or arms that lift the tray over a baby’s head, although they aren’t always as comfortable for babies as the modern, form-fitting models on the market now, and most of them aren’t certified as meeting the latest safety standards. You’ll also find a few hybrid units, which can double as a swing or convert into other types of gear, such as a chair for an older child or a play table.


Look for a chair that has a waist strap and a strap that runs between the legs. If a tray is used, there should be a passive restraint, such as a crotch post, used in conjunction with the harness straps. A high chair, like a car seat or a stroller, is one of those shake-rattle-and-roll buying experiences. We suggest visiting the baby store near you with the broadest selection. Then do the following:

Open and close the fastener on the seat’s safety harness (try it one-handed) to make sure it’s easy to use. If it’s not, you might be tempted not to use it every time your child is in the seat, although that’s imperative.

Adjust the seat height to see how well that mechanism works. Some seats come with as many as seven possible heights. You may only use one or two, but you can’t know for sure at this point.

Assess the seat cover. Look for a chair with upholstery made to last. It should feel substantial, not flimsy. Make sure upholstery seams won’t scratch your baby’s legs.

Make sure wheels can be locked (if you’re buying a model with wheels) or that they become immobilized when there is weight (like a baby) in the seat.

Watch out for rough edges.Examine the underside of the feeding tray to make sure it’s free of anything sharp that could scratch your baby. Also look for small holes or hinges that could capture little fingers.

Check for the absence of small parts. Make sure the caps or plugs that cover the ends of metal tubing are well secured. Parts small enough for a child to swallow or inhale are a choking hazard. Know when to fold ’em. If you plan to fold up your high chair as often as every day, practice in the store. Some chairs that claim to be foldable can have stiff folding mechanisms. Technically they may be foldable, but they’re not user-friendly.


Major brands of high chairs include, in alphabetical order: Baby Trend, Chicco USA, Dorel Juvenile Group (Cosco), Evenflo, Fisher-Price, Graco, J. Mason, Kolcraft, Peg Perego, and Scandinavian Child. There are three general price ranges:

Basic high chairs

High chairs at this end of the price range (under $70) are simple, compact, and generally work quite well. Essentially plastic seats on plastic or steel-tubing legs, such models may or may not have tray and height adjustments and tend to lack bells and whistles, such as wheels, foldability for storage, one-handed tray removal, or the capacity to recline, which you may not use anyway unless you’re bottle-feeding. The seat is usually upholstered with a vinyl covering or bare plastic, and the pad may be removable and washable. The tray is typically kept in place with pins that fit into holes in the tubing.

Pros: For the money, a basic high chair can serve you and your baby well. But it pays to comparison shop, as some brands may be more suitable to your needs than others.

Cons: Watch for chairs in this price range with grooves in the seat’s molded plastic (a gunk trap); cotton seat pads rather than vinyl, which tend not to hold up as well over time; and trays with side release buttons that are accessible to your baby. Some parents report that their babies can remove such trays–food and all–as early as 9 months of age.

Midpriced high chairs

In this price range ($70 to $150), you’ll find many of the features of higher-end chairs, which include multiple tray and chair-height positions; casters for mobility, with a locking feature for safe parking; a reclining seat for infant feeding; one-hand removable tray; foldability for storage; and a three- or five-point harness plus a passive restraint when used with the tray. Most have cushioned, vinyl seat pads that can be removed for washing, although you’ll also still see models with cloth covers in this price range; those are a challenge to keep clean. Frames and seats are typically made of molded, rigid plastic or steel. chauffeur melbourne airport

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