#1. Choose the type of high chair
a). Standard high chair
High chairs of this type cannot be transformed into portable seats or extra chairs like the multifunctional or evolutionary models. But they are ideal for everyday use at home. Many are foldable and have practical features such as the possibility of adjusting the height, tilting the backrest, or adding a tray cover. Three of our six “best choices” fall into this category.
b). Multifunctional highchair
Multifunctional chairs are a little more versatile than standard models. Most of them transform into portable seats which you can install, using straps, on an adult chair: practical to sit the child at the table when he is older, or if you want to have a seat easy to transport to Aunt Agnes or camping.
Also, several models can be transformed into side chairs for an older child (from around three years old), like the Trio 3-in-1 by Ingenuity, or into a low chair and table, like the Table2Table 7 in 1 by Graco, and even in a swing in the case of the Tatamia by Peg Perego.
Before setting your sights on this type of chair, ask yourself this question: do you really need all the functions offered? One thing to remember: a multifunctional model with a portable seat will be useful only if mobility is an important criterion for you and if, of course, you do not already have such a seat.
c). Scalable high chair
A scalable high chair adapts to your child’s growth. You can change the configuration so that he can sit at the table of “big”. What sets it apart from a multifunctional model? The scalable chair transforms into a table chair, the height of the seat and footrest of which you can adjust (except in the case of the Langur by Ikea) to give your little one an optimal position at the table. Once properly installed, it will be less likely to move or kneel than on an adult chair.
In general, scalable chairs can support a higher weight than models in other categories. The OXO Tot Sprout can be used until Junior reaches 27.2 kg, around the age of eight, and the Zaaz de Nuna can even support the weight of an adult, up to 100 kg!
2. Determine the space available
The space available in your kitchen or dining room is limited, but you want to be able to move freely around the high chair? Choose a model that takes up little space on the floor. Even better: opt for a scalable high chair; chairs of this type are distinguished by the little space they occupy.
3. Consider the foldable high chair
Another possible option: choose a foldable high chair. Once you have closed it (and locked its wheels), you can press it against a wall and give a quick sweep all around. The Oribel Cocoon stands upright without support thanks to the positioning of its wheels, and the Chicco Polly Single-Pad becomes very small when folded and can be easily stored in a cupboard.
4. Use the chair as a deckchair
Most manufacturers recommend using their high chair when the baby is at least six months old. At this age, the child is able to sit alone and the muscles in his neck are strong enough to support his head well. If you want to use a high chair earlier, the back of the chair or the entire seat should tilt at an angle of at least about 135 degrees. Thus, the baby’s head is well pressed against the backrest and the high chair is used as a deckchair.
Several high chairs, such as the DuoDiner by Graco, the Seedling by OXO Tot, and the Siesta by Peg Perego, allow babies to be placed in their high chair from their first months of life. In all cases, consult the instruction manual to adjust the chair optimally.
5. Find an easy-to-maintain product
Of course, by its very function, a high chair requires a lot of maintenance. In general, smooth materials, such as imitation leather, foam, plastic, and wood, are easier to clean than polyester. The latter often has many folds and requires more care when cleaning. However, two chairs escape this rule: the Seedling by OXO Tot and the 3-in-1 Trio by Ingenuity, which clean themselves well despite their polyester seat.
In-store, pay attention to models whose armrests, tray, seat, or cushions have slots or small openings: food can accumulate there and require a fine job to be dislodged. This is the case in particular for the Evenore 4 in 1 Quatore and the Chicco Polly Single-Pad.
Finally, watch out for chairs with light-colored straps. These get dirty easily and can remain stained, as we found during our test with tomato sauce. In addition, you will need to remove the straps from time to time to thoroughly clean them.
6. Determine the practical characteristics
a). Reclining backrest
The majority of standard and multifunctional high chairs have a backrest that reclines to adopt two to five positions. Some recline enough (up to about 135 degrees) to be used as a deckchair for a child. He can comfortably start his nap after the meal. Once he is asleep well, you can take him gently and put him in his bed.
Note that most evolutionary chairs do not have a reclining back.
b). Tray cover
A tray cover can greatly simplify your life. After the meal, you just have to detach it to clean it at the sink or place it at the top of the dishwasher. The board remaining in place can then be used as a playing surface.
c). Height adjustable
You will appreciate a height-adjustable chair. You will be able to adjust it so that it is at the same level as your kitchen table. Later, you can remove the tray so that your child can eat at the table with all the members of the family.
On most models, the adjustment is made using handles located on the sides of the base, which you raise or lower by notches. The height of the Zaaz de Nuna, a scalable chair, can be adjusted as child’s play by simply raising the footrest.
Some chairs are lowered very low; they are practical in the living room, for example, if you want to adapt the height to that of a sofa. The high chair then becomes a companion chair, and its tray, a playing surface.