Baby Must-Haves: High Chairs
This is one topic the moms in our survey had especially strong opinions about -- and for good reason: As one respondent says, your child will be in their high chair at least three times a day, so it's best not to skimp on quality. Beyond that, you'll want to make sure the seating you choose has the right bells and whistles for you both. The Fisher-Price Space Saver High Chair ($50, featured below) is an excellent option if space is an issue.
Several features to consider when shopping for a high chair:
- Ability to recline A chair that can be tilted back in one or more positions can make it a great place to keep a young baby who's not yet eating but may be able to hold her own bottle: She can snack on that or take a nap in the kitchen while you cook. A chair that's labeled "from birth to 45 pounds" (or so) will last you for quite some time -- at least until your child refuses to sit in it any longer.
- Height adjustability You can raise or lower the chair to the perfect height for spoon feeding, or to the same level as everyone else at the table.
- Wheels In our survey, high chairs with wheels got yays - and those that didn't got nays. It's easy to see why: Wheels let you move the chair from spot to spot. Look for wheels or casters that swivel, and make sure they have a locking mechanism.
- Simplicity If you want a high chair that's, well, just a high chair, check out the ultra-plain Antilop by IKEA ($19, featured below). It's made of white plastic with metal legs and doesn't even come with a tray; you must buy that separately ($5). Note that the chair does have a seatbelt, but it just goes across the lap, making it not an ideal restraint for very young babies or for those old enough to try to climb out. Also consider a simple, old-fashioned wooden chair, but keep in mind that it won't be comfortable without some sort of padding (which you'll have to launder often) and may not feature a good restraining system. Eddie Bauer makes a number of wooden models -- one mom described hers as "inexpensive, easy to clean, and attractive."
- Washable seat pad A vinyl one can be cleaned easily with a disinfecting wipe; be sure you can get between the pad and the actual seat of the chair as well -- bits of food like to get trapped under there.
- Appearance You can find more and more chairs in solid colors and simple, sophisticated designs that may look more like they belong in the dining room than in the nursery.
"I spread out an old plastic shower curtain under my baby's high chair to catch all the dollops of food that would otherwise land on the floor."