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Nowadays there are many different styles of highchairs available, and one of a new mama’s main concerns, besides safety, might be its design. In other words, how it looks in your kitchen or dining room, right? And that’s totally valid! The good news is that many brands are really starting to focus on a sleek, neutral designs that will not clash with your kitchen. Whichever style or design you’re looking for, make sure to consider a few important features.
Basic safety features are a must, and these probably won’t be an issue with any highchair that you purchase new, but it’s a good thing to know anyway, or if you think you might accept one secondhand. (If you do use a secondhand one, look it up by the model number first to make sure there are no recalls.)
The chair must have a piece at the crotch (aka crotch bar) to prevent the baby from slipping out of the chair. Sometimes the post is attached to the seat itself, and sometimes it is attached to the tray. Either will work. It must also have a safety restraint. Mine has a five-point harness but some have a three-point harness, which is acceptable too. If your chair design has wheels, make sure they either lock, or that all four legs aren’t wheels. Point being, you don’t want the whole chair to take off rolling nilly-willy. Also make sure the chair you buy is generally sturdy. Like everything, some are simply made better than others.
A really great feature to keep an eye out for is a highchair that can be adjusted to be taller or shorter. Not only will this allow you to customize it to the height of your table, but you can also adjust it as your little one grows taller.
Unless you have a very large kitchen, you may want to consider a highchair that folds so that it doesn’t take up as much floor space–or visual space–when not in use.
If you want a folding style, it’s a good idea to try folding it in person to see how easy this is to do. (Same goes for strollers!) If a chair can fold, but to do so is tedious and difficult, you most likely won’t bother doing it and then the feature is worthless. If you can’t test it in person, read specifically about how easy it folds in customer reviews.
Are you looking for a highchair that will grow with your baby? A multi-purpose highchair can usually be used multiple ways. My Graco Table2Table highchair is a 7-in-1 folding model.
As a regular infant highchair, it has multiple reclining positions (for bottle-feeding) and it also converts to an infant booster seat which brings baby right up to the table (with the tray off), a a toddler sized table and chair set, or a separate toddler chair and booster chair that you can use with two children at one time. I love all the options! It folds easily and has 5 height adjustments.
The tray has a grooved insert with a spot for a cup and plate that very easily comes off to be washed. Or you can just use it with the flat tray underneath.
My favorite feature: There is a groove in the tray piece that allows it to hang on the back bar of the chair out of the way when not in use which I think is genius!
Check the model of highchair you are interested in to see if there are any grooves or pockets that might fill up with crumbs or spills and be difficult to clean. Try to imagine goopy puréed baby food and crumbs from finger foods raining down onto it from all angles and consider if there would be any problem areas! Check the fabric of the seat cushion, if it has one. Is it easily wipeable? If not, could it be removed to be washed? What about the straps, are they wipeable? If not, can they be spot-cleaned if needed?
Feel the seat material and the seams, as well as the underside of the tray, to see if there is anything that may potentially be uncomfortable as your baby sits in the chair. Make sure the fabric isn’t cheap and scratchy and the seams aren’t too rough.
Make sure the tray can be adjusted to fit closer up to your baby or farther out when they get bigger. Because having your thighs pinched while eating is a real appetite killer! Make sure the underside of the tray doesn’t have sharp ridges that would poke into your baby’s thighs either. Your baby won’t be able to tell you if the seat is uncomfortable, but they may fuss every time they’re in it if it’s not.
Keep these things in mind while shopping for a high chair, mama, and you will be sure to pick one with the features you want and need for you and baby!
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