Everything You Need to Know about Buying a Portable High Chair
A portable high chair is going to give your baby a secure and comfortable place to eat during meal time. As the term implies, this chair is raised up and so it’s more convenient for you to keep an eye on your child as he or she eats, not to mention the fact that it’s going to be easier to clean up, and of course they’re portable.
While there are a lot of high chairs available today they’re not the same in terms of quality: some are good while others leave a lot to be desired in terms of design. To help you out we’ve prepared a guide so you can make an informed choice.
Different Types of High Chairs
- Portable travel high chair: this is a high chair that works like a camping chair but made specifically for babies and toddlers. As the name makes clear they’re designed for use outdoors and are usually made from heavy duty materials and don’t need any assembly. Designs vary but most of them just need to be folded up to store, and it’s this simple design that makes them ideal for use during travel.One of the things you’ll notice with most travel chairs for babies is the base is wider compared to regular high chairs, and this is necessary so your baby has a solid and stable seat even if the terrain isn’t smooth. If this is what you need, look for one that’s easy to clean and can handle weather changes.
- Space saver high chair: these are also known as booster chairs and let you make a high chair from any chair on your house. While it may not be the most portable version around, these are convenient nevertheless. All you need to do is put the booster over any chair and your baby will be set.These high chairs are compact and ideal if space is at a premium in your home: when you’re done feeding your baby you can just fold it up and store it somewhere. If you’re going to use a regular chair however, it must be one that’s easy to wipe so it doesn’t take too much time.
- Convertible high chairs: these portable chairs are for long term and something your baby can use as he or she grows up. Basically these are convertible infant chairs that you can convert into toddler seats (usually for up to three years of age).These chairs may be converted into a booster seat, a high chair or a toddler chair with tray. Some of the newer high end models are 3 or 4 in 1, meaning you can transform them into multiple types. The advantage of this chair is you basically get 3 or 4 in 1, but the drawback is it won’t be as portable because the other variants are large.
- High chair for twins: if you have twins or more, there are now high chairs and seats for them available. Not only are they durable but they’re also versatile and cost effective. Buying a high seat for twins or multiples is more expensive than a regular high chair, but most of the time it’s cheaper than purchasing individual chairs.
Other Types of Portable High Chairs
The high chairs mentioned above have regular and portable versions, but the types we’re going to look at below are all designed to be as portable as possible. These chairs are light and storage is easy, plus they are compact enough to be used when you’re going out on the road with your baby.
- Hook On High Chair: also known as a table hook on chair, they are different from travel chairs in the sense they’re lighter and don’t take up as much space. Even the most compact of high travel chairs occupy quite a bit of space while hook on chairs are smaller.With a hook on chair your baby’s feet will be dangling at the bottom but the rest of their body is secure. Most of them can support up to 37 lbs. and meant for use during the early period of your baby’s life. Also, keep a close eye on the maximum supported weight: if your baby is too heavy for the typical table hook on seat, a regular high chair is the better alternative.
This type of portable high chair seat usually doesn’t have a tray to keep the size down, and usually it’s the table top that is used in its stead. So if you’re going to use one of these make sure to put a protective layer on the table so your baby doesn’t make a mess.
- Fabric high chair: fabric high chairs are light, portable, store easily and wash cycle compatible. Owing to their compact design, fabric high chairs are ideal for feeding your baby while you’re traveling. They’re easy to set up too as you just need to set the fabric onto a chair, put your baby in place and that’s it.The majority of these fabric high chairs are constructed from polyester cloth or some other material that’s easy to clean. Like table hook on chairs, fabric high chairs don’t come with a tray so you need to wash it after every use. However the one advantage this chair has is the fabric can be folded into a very small shape that can fit in your bag. While this chair will secure your baby it’s not going to raise their seating position at the table.
What to Look for in a High Chair
It’s not hard to find a folding high chair for babies and toddlers today, but getting one that offers the most value for your money is another matter. Here’s a checklist of the features you should look for when buying one. Due to the vast number of different high chairs and seats available today, not all of these features may be present in the chair you’re looking at.
- Easy to clean: this one does not need a lot of explaining. Feeding babies is often a messy business so make sure the high chair is easy to wipe. When you’re shopping for a high chair, check the design carefully and examine the tray, frame, harness and any other areas where it might prove difficult to wipe. You should also determine which parts will be within your baby’s reach as that will mostly likely end up with food.A cushioned seat is going to keep your baby comfortable while eating, but some fabrics are hard to wipe. If you really want to go with a cushioned seat, get one that’s made of vinyl or plastic and has a removable cover.
- The seat: look for padded seats as it is more comfortable than hard plastic. Feeding time for babies should not take that long they become uncomfortable on hard plastic, but generally speaking babies become more cooperative when on padded seats. The drawback with padded seats however, is they tend to be harder to clean especially if there are cracks where crumbs might fall into.If the high chair you’re looking for comes with a padded seat, move your hand along the seat and try to find seams that could hurt your baby. Keep in mind that baby’s skin is more sensitive compared to adults and what may be a minor irritant for you could cause severe discomfort for them.
- Safety harness: the high chair should have restraints to keep your baby secure when you remove the tray. Regardless of the chair you buy, make sure the harness is well-designed to keep your baby from standing or slipping through.Five point harnesses are the most ideal as they hold your baby’s lower and upper body in place. There will be two straps over their shoulders, one between their legs and two more around their waist, constituting the five points.A three point harness only provides security for the lower body with a couple of straps around your baby’s waist and one more between their legs.No matter what harness design you go with, make sure that the buckle is easy enough for you to remove but your baby won’t be able to take it off without your help. The harness should also be adjustable so as your baby grows you’ll still be able to use it.
- Crotch post: this is an important feature and ensures your baby doesn’t slide from the high chair and gets stuck between the chair and tray. The crotch post should be attached to the tray, seat or both, and if it is well designed your baby’s legs should hang from either side comfortably.
When buying a portable high chair you should also check if it has footrest. This is usually dismissed as or ignored altogether, but it can be important: if your baby is still struggling to sit straight, having a footrest is going to help keep their balance and let them focus on eating. This will also make your job of feeding easier as there’s no worry they’ll wobble or topple over.