Intuitive, smart designs make highchairs safer and easier to use
Feeding a baby is a messy business. Liquefied rice, vegetables and fruit are just begging to be smeared around. After your child discovers how to blow raspberries with her tongue, you are likely to be sprayed, repeatedly, with carrots, followed promptly with a huge grin.
A highchair isn't going to make your child a more civilized diner. It can, however, safely contain her during mealtime. Feeding seats, whether traditional highchairs or portable boosters, have come a long way since we were kids, says Paula Motte, senior editor at Babycenter.com.
“Designers are getting really great at intuitive, smart design,” Motte says. Chair patterns now go beyond ponies and giraffes, she said, to fit more seamlessly into the design of your home, with sleek styling and modern fabrics in solid bold or neutral colors. Some models have a simple foot pedal to raise or lower the seat height, depending on who is feeding the baby, Motte says.
“People are looking for versatility,” Motte says. “Anything that makes life easier.”
Always use all of the restraining straps and locking devices. Make sure the harness is fastened as soon as you put your child in the chair, and don't unfasten the straps until you take her out, the Consumer Product Safety Commission says. Also, secure any wheel locks. If you have a folding model, be sure it is locked in the open position each time you set up the chair.
Never leave your child unattended in the highchair. As with other baby gear, keep your child within sight when he is in his highchair or booster seat, particularly if he is able to unbuckle the straps, according to the CPSC.
Placement matters. Place the highchair far enough away from tables, counters, walls and other surfaces that a child could use to push off and tip the chair or scoot it across the floor.
Clean it after each use. You're likely to find crumbs and sticky residue everywhere from the tray down to the footrest. After each use, wipe the highchair or booster with a damp cloth, Motte says. If necessary, use a mild soap or dish detergent to remove stubborn dirt.
If your highchair comes with a removable tray or tray liner, run it through the dishwasher daily to keep it clean and germ-free.
Low, medium, high
We asked Erica Tun, a marketing associate with Peg Perego, to recommend three highchairs at different price points. All of Peg Perego's high chairs are made in Italy.
Rialto. A booster seat that folds and has a carrying bag for eating on the go, the Rialto adjusts to five heights. It attaches to the chair and is suitable for children ages 9 months and older, up to 45 pounds. It has a three-point harness and removable tray and comes in orange, green or black. $99.99.
Prima Pappa Zero 3. Appropriate for children from infancy through age 3, the foldable Prima Pappa has a five-position reclining back rest and seven height positions. The tray is removable and dishwasher safe. The seat has a five-point harness and a bar that fits between baby's legs to prevent slipping. It comes in brown, beige, green giraffe and purple giraffe. $199.99.
Siesta. Peg Perego's best-selling highchair, this model has wheels that automatically lock for safety. It can be used from birth to 45 pounds and folds for storage. The seat reclines fully and the chair has nine height positions. The chair has a five-point harness, a bar between baby's legs and a removable tray with a dishwasher-safe liner. The seat cover is made of eco-leather, a synthetic material that is easy to clean. It comes in orange, green, beige, black and brown. $299.99.
1. If space is at a premium, consider a folding model. Highchairs are bulky and take up valuable real estate, particularly in smaller homes. Folding chairs, which can be stored in a closet or corner, have become easier to use, Motte says. Some collapse with a click of a button and can be stowed without being propped up.
Babycenter.com has an illustrated guide to shopping for high chairs on its website.
2. A booster seat can take the place of a full-size highchair. A booster seat that straps to a chair is a great option for traveling with your baby, but you can also use it as your highchair at home, Motte says. Many have removable trays and three-or five-point harnesses and are safe for young babies.
3. Think about the long term. Your baby will move quickly from gumming soupy rice cereal to eating mashed peas to dumping a bowl of spaghetti on his tray (or head). Shop for a high chair or booster that will grow with your child, Motte says. Some convertible models go from a reclining high chair suitable for infants to a seat you can pull up to the table to a booster seat for older children.
Mari-Jane Williams is a staff writer for The Washington Post.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers finalize 53-man roster
- Pitt cruises past Delaware in season opener
- Coping with Kids: Cool products for family road trips
- Pirates notebook: Morton status remains in limbo
- Former Steelers linebacker Harrison retires
- Woman killed in Fayette County van-motorcycle collision
- Outbound 376 reopened after man on exit sign caused closure
- AFL-CIO: Wolf out in front in city’s Labor Day parade
- Penn State edges Central Florida on last-second field goal
- Secret judicial ruling blocks release of sexually explicit emails
- 90,000 people could hit the North Shore for games, ribs