High Chairs & Boosters

Parent Q&A

  • Getting dizzy looking for a good high-chair!

    (15 replies)

    Any recommendations on a good high-chair thats (1) easy to move the tray, (2) easy to clean, and (3) compact.  I keep looking online but there are just so many (with various reviews) and I cant seem to find the time to visit stores and test them out.  Any advice or recommendations?? Thanks!

    Easy! Don't get a high chair. Get a Fisher Price Healthy Care Booster Seat, or something similar. It straps to one of your dining room chairs, so it doesn't take up space in your dining room/kitchen, and it will be usable for years. It is adjustable, so it grows with your child, and you can take it with you when you travel. We love ours! 

    We really like the cheep Ikea high chairs. They are great. Lightweight and easily packable. It's not a chair that you can leave kids unattended in. But it has worked great. Cost is about $15. We take it camping and travel with it during local/car trips. 


    It's no frills, but compact, easy to use and cheap.


Archived Q&A and Reviews

Best long-term high chair for 5-month-old

Oct 2006

Hi, As first time parents, we're looking for recommendations on what to look for when buying a high chair. What features are must have and what can we live without. Our son is 5 months old and we're looking for a chair we can use now until he's a few years old. We're looking at middle of the road models ($80-$130) and they're so many of them that it is hard to figure out what are the best ones out there. Thanks Francoise

I was in your same position a few weeks ago. I was willing to pay $80-$150 for a high chair but didn't know which one to choose. Ultimately I went with my sister's advice (she's a mother of three) and purchased the avalon high chair from Target. It is very simple and without any bells and whistles, it only cost $25!! I've been extremely happy with it. The seat is totally flat with no seams or creases so food can be wiped away with no problem. The height doesn't adjust but it is the perfect level for me to sit in a standard kitchen chair and feed the baby. It folds easily and takes up hardly any space. The only drawback is that it works best for a child who already sits up on their own. I used a bouncy seat with a towel over it for the first month or so of feeding. You can only buy it at Target and it's not sold online. anon

Hi--I don't have a recommendation for a specific high chair, but I can tell you what I find most helpful (we've had a couple.) First of all, the simpler the design, the easier it is to clean, so don't go with a busy, ruffled model. Second, you don't need it to recline--feeding a baby in a reclining position is dangerous. Third, we found it useful to have one that folded up for storage, because they take up a lot of space and our kitchen is not that huge. Many people just get a ''portable'' highchair that attaches to a tabletop or to a regular chair, and those work great if your baby fits in them. Pretty much all highchairs have removable trays to make them easier to wash. Some have smaller inner trays that you can remove and put in the dishwasher, but we didn't find that helpful either because the food gets smeared all over the place and doesn't stay in that nice little tray once they're self-feeding. Hope this helps, and congratulations! Lisa

We used a Me Too chair from the time our kid could sit up until just recently, when we got another table on which it didn't fit. I LOVED that thing - it clamps onto the table, so you have no bulky mountain of plastic in your dining area, the kid is right up at the table with the family, and it's easy to fold up and put away (and really easy to install securely). It costs something like $40 and is worth every penny. The only problems with it are that it doesn't fit on all tables and its design makes it hard to clean really thoroughly. It's good up to 40 pounds. (Though I suspect that you wouldn't want to use it regularly once the kid gets independent and wants to climb up into their seat. We switched to a booster seat on a chair.) Me Too Devotee

The best high chair is well below your cost range. It is from Ikea and it is called ''Antilop''. It is white plastic chair with white metal legs. Attention--the tray is a separate purchase and they don't always have the chair and the tray in stock at the same time. The cost for the chair plus the tray is under $20. It is great because it has no grooves for the food to get stuck in. There is also a wooden model at ikea if that is more your style, which is similarly minimal. We love our ikea high chair! anon

Adjustable non-swiveling children's chair

April 2006

I am looking for a children's chair that has adjustable height,and a back but cannot swivel. I want to be able to use it with children of different heights. A leg rest would be nice.

Look at the Stokke chair. It is called Tripp Trapp or Kinderzeat. It is good looking, functional, adjusts from high chair age to teen-ager and is well-made. We have two. They are made of wood and are easy to put together and come in endless colors and natural wood stains. They are not cheap - I think retail for $199 - but will last forever. I think we bought our last one online - if you Google the name of the chair you will come up with many purchasing options and I am sure there are local retailers that you can search out to try it yourself. Tracey

Stokke Kinderseat. We got ours at Giggle on Union St. They sell them in various modern furniture places. Try Zinc Details, Rockridge Kids. We started our daughter at 2 but she could have been younger. They're supposed to last for kids up to 99. anon

March 2006

I'm trying to understand if we need a high chair. We got a hand-me-down folding booster seat with a tray that we have strapped into one of our dining room chairs and are using to feed our six-month-old. We've tucked a dishcloth underneath it to protect the chair seat. What advantages would we gain by getting a full-scale high chair? perplexed mama

No. -Anon.

It is true that you don't need half the stuff that people (and especially stores and books) say you do! I did without a monitor, a swing and a bassinet. But a highchair is something thst I found essential. Not only was it convenient because you could move it around from palce to place and even take it with you (to in-laws and such), it is also much safer than a booster - a 6 month old (even a 1 year) cannot be expected to keep their balance in a booster all the time. Also a good high chair will have some moderate reclining positions that help the younger baby (5 or six months) if they cannot sit up throughout the feeding. But the main reason I think for getting a highchair (other than safety) is ergonomic. Have you ever tried to eat with your feet dangling? Very uncomfotable. A highchair will have the appropriate footrest for your child that will make them much more comfortable when eating and will take the pressure off their back. hope that helps!

We have only used a booster chair for our now 13 month old son and it has worked well. It's nice to be able to scoot him up to the table when we are eating dinner or tuck the chair out of sight when not in use. The only possible down side is that the tray is small but that hasn't been a big deal for us. s

We never had a highchair. We used the booster/tray as well. We eventually out grew it and bought the restarunt style kids/highchairs which we still use. Rochelle

My son is now 2.5 and we still use his high chair.. In fact, it the most used piece of baby equipment in my house. He loves it. We have taken the tray off and just push it up to our table, which allows him to be at the correct height. I never thought that a high chair would be so important, but now I am so glad that we splurged on one that is so great. We have the Peg Perego Primma Pappa. Yes, it is expensive, but so much better and worth the money. Easy to clean and the tray slides out super easy. Definitely get one! high chair lover

In a word, no. So why doesn't everyone have a booster? Because they don't fit securely on all types of chairs, because they don't work with all heights of tables or parents, because some children don't fit well in one - too small, too active, too heavy. They can make some chairs too top heavy for the position of the legs, and as the child gets older, and in particular wants to climb in on their own, it's just not very safe. Always Careful

Yes! At least I do. Really, many of the baby items we thought we would need did end up being worthless, ie. the bottle warmer, teether blanket, swing (she hated it), changing table (we use the floor), play pen (kiddie prison he he he) etc.

But the high chair is really useful. Our nanny used a booster chair for awhile but it was unstable and awkward to use. If my daughter is really active I might use the high chair or a door bouncer while I cook/take shower. And when we all eat dinner, that's her seat. I wonder if others have found it as useful? Maggie

No - you don't if the booster seat is working for you. anon

With my first child I had the big high chair and it never quite fit in the house- we eventually just went to the folding plastic booster seat with the tray that you're talking about. With my second, I've used the booster-type from the get-go and I love it. Its easy to clean, easy to store, and you can always take it with you if you're having dinner at a friend's house. Oh, and it cost SO much less. Karen

Nope. We used a booster seat from 5mos to 20 mos and never regretted not having a high chair. booster user

No, a booster is fine. All you need is a place where the baby can be strapped in, safe, and can eat food. When my oldest child (now 6) was born, I went out and bought one of those neat, wooden, old-fashioned high chairs because it went with our furniture and looked ''classic''. The new plastic ones with all the features took up way too much space in our small dining area. We also bought a booster for travel. Now, with Baby #3, we're using the booster! It's simple, lightweight, works fine, and is easy to clean. (We keep a second booster in the car for meals at friends' homes).

The wooden one is a good ''extra'' for visiting babies, but the varnish is coming off, and the metal brackets that hold the tray have bent over the years, so we use the booster. One suggestion: instead of a dish towel, use one of those fabric, waterproof crib pads--it will protect your chair from wet spills as well as dry, and is machine washable. Heidi

Svan High Chair

Aug 2005

We're in the market for our first high chair, wondering if anyone has any experience with the Svan chair. We really like the design and the small footprint of this chair, but as first-time parents (and rather clueless ones as these things go), we're wondering whether it will satisfy our baby's needs as well as it does our own. Basically, we're looking for something not terribly big or offensive looking that will allow us to start feeding him solid foods at around 5 months but will grow with him for as long as possible. Would we really miss the reclining feature of some high chairs? Is the Svan's small tray an issue? Is it inconvenient to use if you are not feeding the baby at the dinner table? We'd appreciate any advice people have, including alternative recommendations.

I can't comment on the Svan chair. But I can tell you that we never, not once, used the reclining feature on our daughter's high chair. When we bought it (as first-time parents) we thought that would be an important feature. It definitely was not for us. We didn't want her to sleep in her chair, only to use it for eating. And when she had a bottle we always held her; never gave her a bottle in the chair.

We purchased a Svan high chair from Giggle in SF in Feb of this year and really like it (I would definitely get the chair cushion). We use a conventional high chair when we visit our parents-in-law, and I like the Svan much better. We have a small house, and it takes up less space. I also like the fact that you can either use the tray or just pull it up to the table. The downside is that you can't put the tray (which is wood) in the dishwasher, and the finish on our tray is starting to wear. I think the tray is plenty large enough. It might be possible to make a plastic liner for the tray, which would prevent some of the wear on the finish and may make it easier to clean. To clean it, we just put the wooden tray in our kitchen sink and wash with a sponge and dish soap, then either towel or air dry. An alternative may be the Stokke Tripp Trapp chair (http://www.stokke.com/specifications.asp?div=C=TrippTrappFR=EN=UK) - they do make an infant insert, but I'm not sure it's available in the U.S. It seems that they sell the KinderZeat in the U.S. (www.stokkeusa.com), which is only for older children, and the Tripp Trapp in Europe. You could try contacting Stokke to find out if you can purchase the Tripp Trapp in the U.S. kara

We have been using the Svan for almost a year now and we LOVE it. It is very petite and doesn't dominate the whole room. Our baby sits very comfortably and naturally in it, like he's sitting in a real chair rather than a holding device. We like the idea that he will be able to climb into his own kid-sized chair when he gets older. Because of the open design, it doesn't trap a lot of food in the seat, and the cushion is easy to clean. The small tray is fine, though not really big enough for, say, paper and crayons, if you are planning to use the chair for confined play-time. The tray is not designed as well as it could be (a tad wobbly; no lip on the inner edge; narrow so it's easier for kids to throw food over the side), but it is completely functional, and stores on the back when not in use. The chair is easy to use with or without the tray. My only other minor complaint is that the seat back is low, so that my kid hits his head on it when he thrashes around a lot. Overall, the benefits really outweigh these small inconveniences. As long as your baby can sit up on his own, you will NOT miss the recline feature. (We just fed our baby in our lap or in the carseat until he could sit up). I have posted a more detailed review of this chair on epinions.com, or email me if you have more questions; I know it is a big investment! We bought ours online (no tax, free shipping) and it has defenitely been worth the money. ekclowes

We've had a Svan for 9 months and I like it a lot, especially compared with other typical plastic high chairs. I don't miss the reclining feature, I don't think the tray is too small, and it's fine whether you're feeding the baby at the table or not.

You seem to know the upsides. The downsides are that it's expensive, the tray isn't dishwasher safe, and I believe that eventually--after thousands of washings--the finish will wear off the tray. I also wish it were a little easier to remove the straps for washing, but that is an issue with other high chairs as well, probably for safety reasons. David

We love our Svan! Like you, we were looking for a less-high- chair-looking high chair, and the Svan definitely fits the bill. Our son is still using the ''first stage'' of the chair (as a high chair rather than as a booster seat or regular chair), so I can't speak to how it will wear long-term, but he has been using it for nearly a year now with no problems. The small tray has not been an issue, and even though it's wood you can just remove it and run it under the sink. (In fact, I suppose its small size makes it more likely to actually fit in the sink.) It seems perhaps a little less stable than other high chairs with wider bases that he has used elsewhere, but on the other hand our son is very active and has not managed to tip it or even come close. You can use it at the dinner table or elsewhere; we do both. I've never tried a reclining high chair, but my son was never one to fall asleep in the high chair anyway. The pads come off easily and go in the washing machine. Fellow Svan-er

We have used a Svan since my son (now 2) was around 6 months old, and we love it. When I first put it together, it seemed too small/low compared to my friends' big high chairs, but it's grown on me. My son used the infant guard/tray till he was about a year old, and we found the tray roomy enough. It's a little hard to clean around the edges of the tray if you don't do it right away - you need to run a spoon or something around the joint to get anything that's dried, since it's not smooth molded plastic. And the tray didn't fit under or over our table, but we just turned it sideways next to the table. I've never missed the reclining feature, since I didn't really feel my kid needed to eat lying down.

These days, with the tray off, it scoots right up to our regular dining table (and matches the color perfectly, unlike a plastic chair), and my son loves the fact that he can climb into and out of it himself - it's very stable. He sits up there for art projects and other tabletop play, too. It's nice and light, easy to carry from kitchen to dining room and lift for vacuuming. Definitely get the cushion - it removes/washes easily, although the black faded a little. My only complaint is that the bolts tend to loosen up with all the climbing and we have to tighten them regularly, but I like the chair enough that we're considering getting a second for our second baby, so my son can keep using his. We've gotten a lot of compliments on the chair from visitors, too. JP

I don't know about Svan but I had a Pappa Prima by Perego and never used it. I am a huge fan of our booster seat. At 5 months we reclined it a bit for our newly sitting daughter. She is now almost 2 and we no longer use the tray. We just push the chair/booster up against the table. We can put it in the dishwasher and throw it in the car if we are going to a friend's for dinner. The best part is that it takes almost no room at all. Any of the ones at Toys R Us or Target are probably fine.

Unless you are absolutely set on getting a high chair, I would just buy a portable booster chair with tray and put it on one of your dining chairs. They cost about $15-20. My daughter started with this at 5 months and has not had any problem with it. We also take it with us for trips and to restaurants. And she can now just use it as a booster chair and sit at the table. No reason to buy an extra piece of furniture! That being said - I have friends who have the Svan and really like it for their kids... Our place is just too small to accomodate extra furniture. Mimi

Hi there, Our son is now 20 months old and still uses his svan chair. we bought it because we did not want to use a high chair for a while and then just throw it away - at least with the svan chair, you can convert it to a real chair as the child gets older. we also loved the design. he is now climbing all over it and it is sturdy and steady - it has never toppled over even when he climbs/hangs onto it from the outside. we bought it with the tray attachment which is very handy. and you're right, the footprint of the highchair is very small. my sister in law has a peg perego and it's SO big and bulky. plus, she never did use the reclining feature. for our next child, we will again buy another one of thes svan chairs since the current one will be converted to a chair in the near future! maria

I *love* our Svan highchair. Our child is 13 months, and we've been using the chair since she was 6 months. It's easy to clean (we don't have the cushion, though), easy enough to move around, and plenty secure as long as you strap in your wiggly baby. As our baby has gotten older, it's been easy to adjust the height of the seat and tray. I love the small footprint and I really appreciate the fact that the chair looks like an actual piece of furniture. And you can order the chair in a color or finish that matches (or close enough anyway) your dining room furniture. The chair is expensive, but worth it, since you'll eventually be using the thing 3 times a day for several years! The only thing I'm not crazy about is that the lap belt is a bit hard to adjust, and squirrely to fasten until you have some practice at it. Maybe if your kid is more docile than mine, you won't need the lap belt :) Svan fan

High chair versus Booster chair for 6-mo-old

June 2004

It is time for me to buy a high chair for our six month old. Does anyone have experience about using both the high chair and using a booster seat that sits and attaches to a chair. I was told about fischer price brand called'' Healthy Care Booster Seat''. Need help deciding. what to do?

A high chair is much easier, since it will have a big tray that can get very messy, and it's at a better height for you to feed baby. We have a portable booster chair w/ a tray that we brign on trips, and our daughter enjoys using it when we travel, but we clean up more of the floor with it, and it's harder on your back. Of course, you will probably want both eventually. anon

I used a high chair for the first few weeks that my daughter was eating solids. I gave it up to use a chair that locks onto the table instead (Graco Tot-Loc). I love it. It is so much easier to clean up after meals than the high chair -- with the high chair, you have to take the tray off, take it to the sink, clean it off, etc. Also, since most high chairs now have a 5- point harness, with straps that run from shoulder to waist, those straps are likely to get food on them and need to be cleaned, as well as the chair itself. With the chair that hooks onto the table, you only have to wipe down the table (no running around with the tray) and the seat is so trim, with wipeable material, it is a snap to clean up. It only has a 3- point harness, so no straps near her messy hands/face. I wish I never bought the high chair. (your baby should be able to sit well, though, before using the hook-on chair; for my baby, that was ~7 mos. old) Tracy

We have a small dining area, so I love our booster chair because it doesn't take up much space. It is by 1st years and has 3 positions -- probably not an issue for you since your child is sitting up. Strapped to the chair, it's small enough to fit under the table, so it's easy to store. Now that she's 2, we have removed the tray and she can still sit there (even get into by herself) Leslie

We just went through this very same decision! We live in a small space (1-BR apt) and didn't want a bulky high-chair, so opted for a booster seat with tray (made by First Years) that we bought used from BPN Marketplace for $8. It straps onto a regular chair and works just fine. The main drawbacks are-- it has a very small tray table relative to what you'll get with a regular high-chair. That means more food on the floor. Also, our baby is a kicker/squirmer, and at times is able to push/kick the tray table off (!) the booster chair. It does not latch as securely as a high-chair tray does-- this may be just the model we bought-- luckily there is a safety strap that we always use for back-up. Finally, food tends to fall between the regular chair and the booster chair, making it hard to clean without un- strapping it... but if you're like us you'll let it accumulate and just wipe up thoroughly once a week. So in summary, the strap on chair is perfectly functional, takes up much less space than a high chair, and is easily transportable-- just has the drawbacks above. I think it's a good option if you're short on space. Managing fine with booster

Easy-to-clean chair that isn't ugly?

June 2004

I'm getting ready to start my five month-old son on solids and have been researching high chairs and booster seats. Thus far I am really disappointed with the options out there. I'm looking for a functional, easy-to-clean chair that isn't ugly. Any and all advice is desperately needed! I've heard the Zooper may be a good option - anyone own the zooper high chair? Thanks!

IKEA - cheap, functional, good-looking, and easy to clean. Because the whole thing is plastic, we take it out in the yard and hose it off. We've used it for 3+ years, first with the tray and now just pulled up to the table so our tot can sit with us at the right height and still be somewhat contained. Alison

I faced the same dilemna a while back. Gingham and pink bears just don't go with anyone's decorating style (I hope). I went with one of the plastic booster-type chairs that you can strap onto any chair. It has a detachable tray. Most of the parts can go into the dishwasher (I don't remember the brand, but it is blue and yellow. All types seem pretty interchangeable. If I had the chance to do it again, I would have bought one that allowed me to recline the seat a little bit for the earlier feedings. Instead, I propped her up with travel pillose/towels until she could sit upright on her own.). This allows me to stash it in the pantry when not in use (thus cutting down on the ugliness factor). Also, it is easy to pop in the trunk to take to grandma's house and attach it to our picnic table chairs, etc.

I have just ordered a kinderzeat for her to use soon. They look cool and can be purchased in colors to sort of match your dining set. anon

When all our friends were spending BIG bucks on fancy high chairs we bought a inexpensive Fisher Price $29.95 high chair. It has survived two children and still looks quite good. Easy to clean, easy to take your child in and out of. Cheap! Big tray so food doesn't go every where and unlike the prima papa fancy high high chair you baby sits up higher(no need to prop up with blankets). Our high chair moves easily from inside to the outdoor patio and it's easy to wash down with the garden hose. I got it on-line and rcvd. free shipping. Anon

Booster chair like the Kinderzeat

April 2004

It's time to pack up the highchair and buy our 2 year old a booster chair. Can you recommend a good one that will grow with her for another few years? She's almost 30 pounds and about 35'', if that matters. I like the Stokke Kinderzeat one because there is a foot rest and her legs wouldn't just dangle, but it's extremely pricey. Does anyone have a seat like this and would you recommend it? I'd appreciate any other recommendations!! Thanks so much! Linda

There is something called Euro Highchair, sold by One Step Ahead (onestepahead.com), that looks almost like KinderZeat and costs about half of its price. Also, check out Svan chair, it's slightly less expensive than KinderZeat, has a footrest platform and ''grows'' with the child the same way the other two chairs do. One Step Ahead also has wooden ''graduate'' high chair that is up to 40# and looks like spiffed up restaurant high chair. We ended up buying Svan, because we bought it as our first and only (hopefully) high chair and neither of other two alternatives were suitable for 6mo old, but I think that Euro High chair might be just a thing for you. Zuzana

the stokke booster seat with footrest ROCKS!! i have two of them for my 3 and 5 year olds, and i can't imagine any better chair. not only is it so safe and easy for them to get in and out of by themselves, but it's also aesthetically attractive and can be purchased in just about any color and finish. and, it's incredibly sturdy (takes adult weight, so once the kids outgrow it as a booster they can continue to use it as a desk chair or whatever). gosh, do i sound like an advertisement or what? enjoy! johanna

I too lusted after a Kinderzeet and found it too expensive to seriously consider. What we ended up with is a Cooshie Booster -- a nice, soft, washable foam booster that sits on one of the kitchen chairs and costs about $30 (if I remember correctly).

As promised, he can take it off the chair and move it if he wants, sit on it on the floor if he wants, and it doesn't get in the way because its not attached to the chair. For the extra $150, I decided I could stay with this simple solution until he's so old its not an issue.

Its true that his feet dangle, instead of having a shelf all their own to sit on --- but he has no problem sitting at the table for as long as it takes us to have dinner, or to do puzzles or draw and can get out by himself when the time comes. I should mention that my son is approaching 2 1/2 and is big for his age.

Good luck on your decision! Heather

11-mo-old suddenly rejecting high chair

March 2003

Hi... Any advice about my 11 month old all of a sudden getting upset about eating in his high chair? The last few days he has been arching his back and protesting (cry-yell) when I put him in....Sometimes I have given in and tried feeding on the floor w/toys instead (which worked), other times tried to coax or just calmly put him in and ignore the fuss (which didn't work as well). I know I have to figure out something consistent soon, but am torn between not wanting mealtimes to feel forced/upsetting, and not wanting to always chase him around with food. By the way, these are times when I'm pretty sure he is hungry (especially because he did eat in a different setup). Plus, we often do give him a couple things to play with in his high chair to keep him busy if it isn't a finger food. (His high chair is the usual eating spot although it varies on the go or with playmates over.) Anyone have similar experiences or wisdom to share? Thanks so much. shoshana

That was about the time my daughter began actively fighting the high chair. She would shriek and wriggle out of the straps and try to escape. I realized that it was because the big tray and somewhat layed back position of it made it hard for her to feel like she was interacting with us/ had a claustrophobic feel. I bought one of those Safety First booster seats (that you strap to a regular chair) with the removable tray. It's much smaller than a high chair and can be pulled right up to the table with us (with or without the tray) and she has been happy with it for over a year now. Molly G

I was/am in the same boat. We just don't accept our 16 month old's behavior. He is the baby and he eats in his high chair. period. I've found that he fusses and cries for about a minute until we start his feeding. One thing I've done to make it easier is to immediately have food for him. I cut up dried plums as soon as I sit him down and he stops fussing and starts munching!

By the way, some friends recently visited with their 16 month old girl. She 'refused' to use her high chair too. I saw them chase her around shoving food in her mouth whenever they could for 2 days. It was disgusting. Not only that she NEVER had a proper meal, but there was food smashed all over our floor, chairs and sofa! They were amazed that our son used the high chair to eat proper meals and we were amazed that they let their daughter get away with that behavior.

Be firm - this is the start of a very long road of power struggles. Julie

High chair for traveling

July 2001

We travel a bit with our 1 year old, and this fall will be going on a 2+ week trip where we'll be staying with various friends and in motels (and flying 4 separate legs). I want to take some kind of high chair to make meals more enjoyable. Can anyone recommend a high chair that is easy to travel with? I see on the website that someone mentioned the Saftey 1st plastic folding booster seat for travel and someone else mentioned the Graco chair that clamps on the table which also apparently folds. But no one said how it is to lug them around airports or find tables/chairs appropriate for attaching them. We already have LOTS to carry! Someone told me of some sort of cloth thing you could attach to a regular chair - has anyone used one and can you tell me more? Charis

We had good luck with a folding version that essentially hung from most standard tables--extending on the bottom from between the child's legs was a long, hook-like leg with a rubber tip that curved up to connect with the underside of the table; on either side of the child's hands were similar, hook-like arms with rubber tips that curved down to connect with the top of the table. It would fold up to fit in a large diaper bag. It wouldn't fit everywhere & you had to be careful that it was stable, but it worked. It had no tray--the child ate at the table. Of course most restaurants, hotels etc. have high chairs. Some places will even lend you one to keep in your room if you ask. Mary Ann

We really love our Me Too seat which attaches to a table. It folds flat so it's easy to pack and it's pretty light. (We recently took it to the East Coast with us and were really glad we did.) I bought one for a friend at Rockridge Kids. I think they run around $25. Jana

There's a travel chair called the Me Too that folds completely flat, weighs only 2 pounds, and fits in a backpack-style diaper bag. They clamp onto most tables and are very stable once attached. They retail for around $50, but they work for kids up to 40 pounds and (after 2 years and 2 monthlong trips) ours shows no signs of wear. The only drawback is that small cafe-style tables can tip over under the weight of the child, and metal and glass tables (which we found in some restaurants) were too narrow to accommodate the clamp. You'd definitely run into the first problem with any chair; don't know about the second. Jennifer

Rather than taking a whole high chair, I recommend this great little seat called Me Too. It's washable nylon with clamps that fit on most (not all) tables. It folds flat and weighs nearly nothing. It's made in VT, but we got it at Rockridge Kids (or was it Baby World? They both carry them.) It costs a bit more than the Chico and the Graco (c $50) but has been worth it for us so far. Good luck!- Hilary

Years ago I was given one of the cloth ones you put over a chair. It was from Lillian Vernon catalog. I don't remember how well it worked. DW

What to look for in a high chair

April 2000

I am a first-time mom wondering if anyone has any advice about high chairs. My son is nearly six months old and I suppose we'll start giving him some food soon and start having him sit with us at the table in something other than his bouncy chair. So I realize I am probably going to have to acquire a high chair. I'm curious if people like the Peg Perego Prima Pappa or Chicco's version of that high chair (can't remember what is is called). They seem kinda expensive. Are the cheaper high chairs just as good? What about the old-fashioned wood style chairs? Erika

My sister-in-law bought a regular reclining high chair, which meant the tray reclined with the chair. Our mother-in-law went out and got her a ChiccoMama high chair where the tray stays flat when the baby reclines. One chair is kept downstairs in her apartment and one upstairs in our mother-in-law's kitchen. Her baby was about eight months old when I visited them for three weeks. Not once did I see her recline the chair for the child. I think the recline feature is only necessary when they're very young, or until they can consistently sit up. I picked out an old-fashioned chair with no special features for my four month old baby. I returned it because she slumped to her side in it. I got a regualr reclining high chair and detach the tray when I'm feeding her. I don't think it's too hard to hold her bowl in my hands or to leave it on the table. I figure by the time she can feed herself, and need the tray, she won't be reclining. Consider other things like, do you need to move it around a lot so you'll need wheels, and the amount of space you have. Marian

we love our simple wooden high chair. we bought a cloth thing by nojo brand that attaches to the chair with ties. there's a piece of material for the child to sit on and one that goes through the legs and around the waist and velcros in the back so the child doesn't fall out. it's cushier and more secure than the traditional webbed belts that come attached to wooden chairs. it's also removeable and easily washable. Susan

I used a Graco (or was it Gerry?) Easy Chair quite happily. It costs $30 new (sold at Sears and other ritzy establishments), adjusts easily and is easy to clean. One of the things I've heard about the Prima Pappa is that the tray doesn't slide in close to the child's tummy, which can translate into a lot of food landing on the lap. Whatever you end up buying, keep in mind that you may not use it for as long as you think. At about 18 months my daughter started insisting on sitting in a booster seat, and the highchair is now in storage. Jennifer

I had the same questions when we bought ours--prima pappa seemed so expensive. But I will say that I use the recline feature every day (it makes it much easier to get my now 2 yr old in and out) and that all the other chairs that had a recline feature had it so that when you tipped the seat, you also tipped the tray (and of course spilled food everywhere). So I really love that feature of my prima pappa. Don't use the fold up and store feature at all though. Ann

With our now 17-month old twins we went through a number of second-hand high chairs trying to find ones we liked. Finally, we went to Babies 'R Us with the idea that we weren't coming out until we had the perfect high chairs, regardless of cost. To our surprise, we walked out with the cheapest chair on the floor. Can't remember the brand, but I'm sure you've seen it around. White plastic, with one-piece molded seat, large removeable tray, and colorful, removeable wipeable seat/back cover. I think it cost $39. We like it (them - we have two) because they are lightweight yet very strong, extremely easy to clean, comfortable, with easily removeable legs (press a button to release, like vacuum cleaner parts) for easy transportation, and accommodating for a wide age/size range. Because the legs are four simple tubes rather than a convoluted hinged or folding system, they are easy to sweep around, and there aren't any nooks or crannies for food to get caught in. We tried Peg Perego and all the rest, and found these by far the best! Mary

cheaper high chairs are just fine!!!! toys are us has a few low end ones. we have one that works just great for our little monkey boy (now 1 year - have had chair for about 4 months). we had him in a clip-to-the-table chair that he climbed out of way too easily. then a friend found a lovely old wooden highchair that we used for a while but he climed out of that easily after a few weeks and it was hard to clean. the cheap plastic (booo) one we have is great because it has a divider between his legs that (more or less) prevents him from escaping. good luck!

Here are my two cents about high chairs. We have a toddler and a Peg Perego high chair. From our experience, I wouldn't spend the money to get it. The cushion has a lot of crevices that are difficult to wipe clean of spills with a sponge/cloth after each meal. The snaps in back of the cushion are so strong that the vinyl tore when we removed it to give it a thorough washing once in a while. We also liked to wash the tray with soap under hot water and we found that water got inside of the tray and sloshed around and so the tray had to be drip-dried on the counter instead of being put back into the chair. We rarely used the height adjustment and the tilt back feature of the chair was never used. We also have used the fold-up feature only once and that is right now, as the chair is in the basement in storage since our two-year-old is in a booster seat. If we were able to do it all over again, we would get the wooden high chair that there are in restaurants. Your child would be at the table with you and the chair would be a lot easier to keep clean. I have seen these for sale in Natural/Wooden Baby Products catalogs for about $100. We have a newborn now. We will probably sell the Peg Perego and get something else, for sanity's sake. We won't have the time that we did to keep the chair clean. Good luck! Alicia

high chairs: we have a graco tot-loc chair that hooks on to the table and we love it! it was inexpensive ($35 at rockridge kids), easy to clean, and it takes up very little space in our tiny apartment. aside from eating, our daughter loves to sit up with us at the table while we're eating- this has eliminated many interruptions that used to occur while she was in her bouncy seat down on the floor and wanting to be a part of the action. Amy

We have been extremely happy with our Gerry high chair. It's attractive, wooden, with a cute padded plastic seat and seat back, very stable, but doesn't look like the old fashioned wooden ones. This one is actually in two halves, you can remove the chair part and set it on the floor to be a child's chair at the proper height. Then you turn the base on its side, it becomes the base of a table: the table top is included, one side has a dark blue lego board and the other is a nice white plastic wipeable surface with a small depression to put your crayons in. In other words, if you have a very small house like we do, it's a perfect table and chair/high chair combination, and two for the price of one! As I recall it was in the $90 range, we got it at Heller's in San Rafael (415) 456-5533 which by the way is a fabulous store for anything to do with babies, clothes and equipment, and worth the trip from Berkeley. Our son is just 16 months but we anticipate using this for much longer than he will need a high chair. It also puts him at the perfect height to play the piano! Amelie

We never used a high chair. We used a Tot Loc for all the reasons a previous poster gave, the best reason being that our son really was part of dinner conversation. Then when he was about 18 months he learned to rock the thing and one day brought the entire table down on top of him! The rigid arms of the Tot Loc kept him from being crushed but I would say take your child out of it at the first sign of rocking. After my heart started beating again we bought him a booster chair which has the same advantages as the Tot Loc: he's sitting right at the table with us and it is portable for restaurants, visits to friends, etc. In sum, I haven't found high chair necessary at all. McTorr

Jan 1999

We bought a used standard high chair from the list. I can't even remember the brand, but it's one of the common ones: Playskool, or something. Anyhow, we found that the big one tended to stay wherever we put it. It was just too bulky to take anywhere, even to the next room.

For travel convenience, we bought one of those folding booster chairs, the kind that sits on a regular chair. We tried both of the major models on the market (borrowed them from friends), and we *much* preferred the Safety 1st brand (it's the one in the bright red/blue/yellow/green). The other one came in a white/teal color combo, and we hated the way the tray worked on it. At the time, our daughter was only 10 mos, and could *easily* push the tray off herself. With the Safety 1st one, it wasn't until a couple of months ago (and she's now 23 mos) that she could push the tray off.

We often use the booster chair on the floor in the living room for a seat for her to color, play with stickers, etc. And it's convenient for eating in front ot the TV (if you ever admit to doing that!). The whole thing folds up quite nicely, and I have put it in a suitcase on an airplane trip. I have another friend who gave up using her big high chair altogether, and uses her booster chair exclusively. Dawn

I absolutely love our Peg Perago high chair for all the reasons you listed. I got it used, so I can't help with where and how much. Linda

We recently got the Prima Pappa highchair for our son, and really love it. It folds up for easy storage, and rolls for easy movement, and best of all, the seat easily lowers so that you can feed from any height (we lower it to use in the living room when we are sitting on low chairs and entertaining while feeding the baby) This feature is also good when you have a second child, since the baby can be lowered to sit at the same level as a kids table. Also, the seat reclines, without putting the tray on an angle at the same time. so you can tilt the baby back without spilling food everywhere. As far as portability goes, I think it would be hard to carry around any full size chair--you're better off buying a booster or chair that hooks to the table for that. Check the on line baby stores for good prices, often they have good sales on this chair. Ann

We highly recommend the Graco baby seat that clamps on to just about any table. They come with trays that stay on very tightly, and it allows your child to actually sit with the rest of the family right at the table. It folds so you can take it to other houses, and to restaurants. I think it's rated for children up to 40 lbs, but I'm not sure exactly. Our baby has been using it since she learned to sit up (with the help of a few towels when she was really little.) We bought ours at Toys 'R Us, who stocked them away from the high chairs and booster seats (why??), so you may have to browse around to find it. Stephen

My .02 about highchairs, simply because I was so happy with our new Perego at first (bought new 4 years ago, expensive & my choice) - it seemed to do everything - but when we really started to use it, I realized it was a very bad choice for our small boy. His tummy never actually reached the tray, there was always at least a three inch gap in front, and we had to get giant bibs with pockets to save his clothes & the floor (I used to wonder what was the point?) Then gunk would get stuck in the crevices of the lovely upholstered seat. It was heck to super-clean when we sold it, and I was glad to see the back of it! The highchair I really loved was an old one my folks bought used, but I think there's a version still available. It's a plain old Fisher Price - inexpensive, no bells & whistles, but the largest tray (almost round, I think) w/high sides, and it pushes right up to the baby's tummy, so nothing can go down the front. It has a very wide bottom, untippable, but is lightweight for moving about. We still push it up to the table w/out the tray as an extra seat for small visitors. If I were to do it again I'd definitely try to find a new one of those (or even a used one covered w/duct tape, like my folks'!). An expensive lesson for me about buying into the most popular & expensive brands - the best doesn't necessarily work the best for everyone! Leah