It’s an exciting moment when you can pull your child up to the dining table with the rest of the family. However, because this event doesn’t usually happen until a child can sit and eat some form of solids, we often don’t think about purchasing a high chair until post-birth. As a result, you’ll be shopping for a high chair right when you’re in the thick of parenting, with your bundle of joy already in your arms.
At this point, you may already be deep into a design theme, in which case the most important factor is to buy the matching high chair. Alternatively, you may already have a brand you love and trust, making your high chair purchase very straightforward. Of course, these considerations may be trumped by space constraints that make the high chair’s footprint, both in use and in storage, the biggest factor.
Need help picking the chair that’s right for you? Here’s a quick guide to get you started.
Graco Slim Spaces Chair
Children up to 3 years (up to 40 lbs)
The Graco Slim Spaces Chair is the winner when it comes to the most compact chair in storage with a folded depth of only 8-1/2 inches. At such a slim fold, this chair is easy to stash when not in use. A thoughtful detail is how the tray folds down and remains securely attached to the chair, preventing it from falling off as it’s moved from place to place. So natural in the folded state, this chair even came pre-assembled in the box – just open and use. The chair opens up to a full-sized high chair, with a roomy seat for your child and a large tray. The chair grows with your child with 6 height positions, 3 recline angles and a harness that can convert from 5- to 3-point. The material is easy to wipe down and comes in great neutral colors.
Summer Infant Bentwood High Chair
Ages 6 months to 3 years (up to 50 lbs)
If you’re a fan of real wood furniture, the Summer Infant Bentwood High Chair is the chair for you. An elegant piece with bentwood legs and a molded wooden seat, this chair is gorgeous. And, it’s highly functional, too! A sturdy chair that also folds up surprisingly well, the Bentwood chair comes with both an attached snack tray and a larger, removable meal tray. For added comfort the chair includes a machine-washable quilted cloth seat pad (plus an infant insert for supporting smaller children) that extends up the back of the chair and a footrest. Highly impressive is how Summer Infant has managed to get a wooden chair to be so adjustable – you can raise the seat to 4 different height positions and recline to 3 positions. A 5-point harness and infant insert make this chair even more suitable for younger children.
Mamas & Papas Juice
6 months – 3 years (high chair) and 3 years – 5 years (junior chair)
The Juice high chair from Mamas & Papas is a versatile chair that transforms from a high chair to a low junior chair that is ideal for your child’s play room. Attractive in both modes, the Juice is made of molded plastic covered by smooth foam padding and perched atop metal legs. Cushioned without the use of fabric, this chair is easy to wipe down for convenient cleaning. Holes cut into the back and sides of the seat as well as low friction, rounded feet provide an easy means of moving the chair without scratching your floor. Includes an easy to remove 1-piece tray that is small enough to wash in your kitchen sink and a footrest for comfortable dining. The Juice comes in rich, saturated colors that look great in any dining room. Note that this high chair doesn’t fold, making it incredibly sturdy, but also more difficult to store. Its wide base does occupy a larger footprint, so take this into consideration, should space be a constraint.
Combi High Chair
Children up to 3 years (up to 40 lbs)
Made by Combi, a brand originated in Japan, this seat is perfect for a smaller home. The full-sized high chair folds down to a compact size, both in terms of depth and height. Also appreciated is how well this chair stands in its folded state, making it easy to stow anywhere. A chair that will easily accommodate your child for several years, the Combi High Chair can be raised to 5 height positions and easily reclined to 3. A 5-point harness keeps your child secure, and a fully cushioned seat, in combination with a footrest, assures that your baby will be comfortable for the duration of his meal. Given how messy new eaters can be, you’ll be happy to see how easy it is to wipe this fabric clean and appreciate the dishwasher-safe tray insert. Wheels facilitate moving this chair around. Available in all black, the Combi High Chair has a sophisticated look that blends in well with a more mature décor.
Ages 6 months to adulthood (up to 220 lbs)
The Nuna ZAAZ is perfect for small dining areas, with a compact footprint (17.7” wide x 22.8” deep), a modern, sophisticated look and evolving functionality that will serve your child for years to come. The first thing you’ll notice about the ZAAZ is that it looks nothing like your traditional high chair with a clean, white plastic seat covered by a gray foam cushion that sits atop sleek aluminum legs.
While the seat is not for the youngest of children since it does not recline, it will grow with your child from the point that they can sit upright (approximately 6 months) until adulthood. Start with a 5-point harness and then transition to a 3-point harness, eventually doing away with the harness altogether. The seat can be used independently with its own tray, but one of the parts we love best is that this tray can eventually be removed and the seat lowered so that you can pull your child right up to your dining table. Not only does this make your child feel more included in the meal, but it is also a huge benefit if you don’t have a lot of space around your table. Seat and cushion come apart for easy wipe-down cleaning. With a sturdy frame, this seat does not fold down.
Ages 6 months to 6 years (up to 50 lbs)
As the name implies, the Joovy HiLo has two height settings to accommodate growing children and extend the life of the chair. The innovative design features a molded plastic seat that can be rotated from a higher 38” infant chair to a lower 32” setting, perfect for pulling your toddler up to the table. The transformation is simple and fast – just pull two aluminum knobs out from the sides of the chair and spin the seat 180 degrees around a horizontal axis until you feel it snap into place. The 5-point harness can be flipped as well, to keep your child safe in either position. The plastic seat is available in seven punchy colors and stylishly pairs with solid wooden legs. Seat comes with a plastic tray as well as a dishwasher safe tray insert, but both can be removed, should you prefer to slide the chair right up to your dining table. A modern looking chair with sharp aesthetics, the Hi Lo is incredibly easy to clean given that the seat is one solid molded piece. While the seat does not fold for compact storage, rear wheels do make it easy to move the chair around your home.
BabyBjörn Booster Seat
MSRP: $60 – 80
Coming from well-respected baby carrier brand BabyBjörn, this booster chair is the ideal kids seat for both home and on-the-go use. It’s small, lightweight and can be secured to a seat with minimal effort – just buckle around a dining chair, then push and turn the knob at the back of the seat to tighten the belt. It weighs only a little over 2-1/2 pounds and has a convenient indentation just underneath the front of the seat that serves as a handle. Any loose belts can be retracted into the seat to keep them neat and out of the way. Securing and loosening this seat is easy to do and requires very little strength, so no wrestling with this booster. Recommended for children 3 years and up who can sit well independently, the BabyBjörn seat has no straps to secure the child to the seat. However, ridges on the top of the seat provide some friction, so that your child doesn’t slide off. All surfaces are hard plastic with gentle curves, making the chair easy to wipe clean and comfortable for your little one’s bottom. The elegant white design is pleasing to an adult aesthetic.
Bumbo Booster Seat
Bumbo, the brand behind the much-loved molded foam seat now brings you the Bumbo Booster Seat, providing older toddlers a seat at the family dining table. Like the original Bumbo seat, the Booster Seat is made from foam that provides comfort while curving up at the sides to help keep your child in place. For added safety, the seat has a 3-point harness and buckle. For a two year old, there is a bit of wiggle room, but I still feel confident that my daughter isn’t going anywhere. Also, it’s nice to know that this seat should last her awhile with the belt getting more snug over time. The belts swivel at the point where they connect to the seat, which helps with accommodating different sized children – a great grow-with-me feature. The seat fits well on most dining chairs with one buckle fastening under the seat and the other behind the back of the chair. The belts are really secure and don’t slide easily through the belt hardware, which is good once you have them pulled tight. However, it does make it somewhat difficult to adjust the belts and remove any slack. With smooth contours, this seat is easy to clean. The Bumbo Booster Seat comes in bright, fun colors like the original seat. A good height, the seat enables our daughter to easily reach her food, while also sliding nicely under the table.
Boppy Booster Seat
Ages 3 months – 1 year
The brand known for creating the most recognized nursing pillow has now branched out into a 2-in-1 floor-to-booster seat, making feeding time a great experience all the way through baby’s first year. The Boppy Booster Seat comes with a bolster that can be inserted into the seat to provide more support and a snug fit for the smallest of babies. When used on the floor, the seat stays securely in place with the help of a skid-proof bottom that keeps it from sliding around on hardwood floors. If you’d rather use the seat at your dining table, simply strap the seat to a dining chair and pull baby up to the table. Able to fit most dining chairs, the Bobby Booster Seat is great for taking along to restaurants. Fold it down with a pull of a strap, which can then be secured and used as a handle for convenient transport. Another great travel feature is that the straps used for securing the seat to a dining chair can be tucked into the bottom of the chair, keeping loose belts contained. To facilitate dining, attach the included dishwasher-safe tray by sliding it over a track on the front of the seat. A bit of a tight fit and angling inwards, this tray may be a tight fit for pudgier babies.
Prince Lionheart BOOST Plus
Ages 12+ months
Prince Lionheart, a family-owned company known for a variety of infant and toddler seating, including the bebePOD booster, has come out with a new toddler seat that can also be converted into a big kids’ booster, making for a great grow-with-me chair. The chair’s detachable tray moves forward, backward, up, and down, accommodating children at various ages. Removing the tray converts the chair to a big kid’s booster. The 3-point safety harness, dual strap system and a non-slip base make it one of the safest boosters available. Lightweight with a small profile, the BOOST is easy to transport, making it great for vacation. It’s made of easy-to-clean hard plastic and comes in four great colors. Like the bebePOD booster, this seat has an ergonomic design that provides a comfortable seat for your toddler or older child.
There are many considerations involved when choosing the best way to include your child at the dining table, and each person’s preferences and constraints are unique. Rest assured that with the many options out there, you’re sure to find a great solution that lets you enjoy many family meals with your little one for years to come!