When it comes to shopping for your baby, it’s completely normal to get a little overwhelmed at times. ‘Should I choose a forward-facing car seat,’ you find yourself asking, ‘or a rear-facing car seat?’ ‘Should I go with disposable nappies or cloth nappies?’ ‘What’s the difference between a sling, a backpack and a carrier anyway?’
For anyone shopping for their first high-chair, this dilemma is all too familiar. That’s why, in this week’s article, we’ve decided to provide our top tips for choosing the best and safest high-chair for your child. Take a look.
What are the different types of available high-chairs?
The most common type of high-chair on the market these days are those made of metal or plastic. Unlike some of the more high-end models out there, these basic high-chairs don’t come with all the bells and whistles. They simply provide a belt to strap your child in, a tray for food, and some simple padding on the seat.
The obvious advantage of these types of chair, of course, is that they are inexpensive and low maintenance. They usually tend to be lightweight and many are foldable, which means you can store them away easily. One of the major downsides, however, is they’re usually not as sturdy and comfortable as their more high-end counterparts. Because you want your baby to be comfortable - and thus well-behaved and happy - during meal-times, it might be wise to spend a little extra money, to avoid hassle down the road.
On the other end of the spectrum is the more expensive, better equipped high-chair. Usually, these kinds of high-chairs come with more comfortable padding on the seats, adjustable heights for the tray and chair, removable trays that can be safely cleaned in the dishwasher, and other helpful features.
Obviously, these more fully-equipped high-chairs tend to be more expensive than the basic models, but they are certainly more convenient and practical. Whether or not you can benefit from these more extensive features will be determined by you and your little one’s specific needs.
Wooden high-chairs - though not as popular as they once were - can still be found in many shops. One advantage of these chairs is that they are extremely sturdy and tend to last for a very long time. Not only that, but they look a little better than some of their plastic counterparts, and can often be chosen to match the colour of the other kitchen furniture.
There are a number of obvious drawbacks, however. Firstly, wooden high-chairs tend to be less comfortable than other models, as they don’t usually have padded seating. Not only that, but they are less portable and less easy to travel with, due to their weight. Additionally, many owners of wooden high-chairs find that - over time - the wood tends to scratch more easily than plastic, which can make the high-chair appear a little shoddy and unsightly.
Hook-on high-chairs can make great alternatives to the larger, more bulky models described above. These chairs attach to the end of tables and are usually easy to fold and lightweight, making them perfect for travel. Unlike these other models, however, they are less sturdy. Typically, these are not suitable for babies under 6 months old.
Similar to hook-on high chairs, these are usually smaller and more easily foldable than regular models. They are specifically designed for travelling and easy transportation, but might not suit all situations. Again, they aren’t as sturdy as regular highchairs and children tend to outgrow these quickly.
What features should I look out for when trying to determine the safety of a high-chair?
- Make sure the high-chair doesn’t have any jagged or sharp edges. Sometimes, in poorly designed high-chairs, there might be some screws or assembly pieces with sharp or rough edges, that could cause your little one to hurt herself.
- Every high-chair should have a durable and adjustable seat-belt attached to the seat. This prevents your child from slipping out, whether intentionally and unintentionally. It’s also important that this belt can adjust to accommodate different sizes, as you will want to adjust this as your child grows.
- Every high-chair should come with the necessary guidelines and documentation. Because different high-chairs will have different age and weight recommendations, it’s important that you take these into account before buying.
- For hook-on chairs, make sure these come with a sturdy and safe attachment to clamp these to the table.
- High-chairs should have wide bases - so that they can’t topple over easily.
- If you have wheels on your high-chair - to make it more portable - make sure these come with reliable wheel locks. If your high-chair were to move while your child was sitting in it, this could cause an unintended accident.