What to look for when buying a high chair?
Buying the right high chair for your baby is important for safety, functionality and to suit the style of your home.
Parents start looking to purchase a high chair when their baby is able to sit upright and they begin to eat solids – this can begin from approximately 3 months onwards. Just remember to ensure that your baby has the neck strength to support themselves, whilst seated.
Bub falling from the highchair is unfortunately the most common type of injury involving high chairs. Ordinarily bub will fall when trying to stand up in the chair or when trying to climb in or out of the high chair. For those us who have children, this is no surprise, as some of our bubs are little “Harry Houdinis”.
So there are some features we recommend you look for to minimise the risk of injury to your bub, when using a high chair:
- Look for a high chair with a 5-point harness. A 5-point harness is a restraint harness that goes over the baby’s shoulders, round their waist and between their legs. Please use the full harness at all times when bub is in the chair. I know it is tempting just to pop them in as you are next to them, but it only takes a moment for them to fall.
All babyhood high chairs come with a 5-point harness, that are adjustable to properly fit your child – remember they won’t protect your child if they don’t fit. Our Ava High Chair also comes with a timber support barrier, as additional protection. This can be used when bub first starts using the high chair. It can also be removed as they grow and no longer need the extra protection.
- Look for a high chair with a wider base profile so that the chair is stable and balanced. Often high chairs are designed to be too tall with a narrow base profile, which increases the risk of the high chair tipping. This can be very dangerous for baby. Think of all the falls you have witnessed in restaurants with those antelope style high chairs, with extra high skinny legs.
Our Ava High Chair and our Keira High Chair have especially wide based profiles to ensure maximum balance and reduced tipping. Our Ava High Chair goes one step even further, as it has multiple timber support bases to stabilise the high chair.
- A high chair is not a safe sleep space. Please do not use your high chair for day naps or snoozes. Many high chairs today have recline features which are promoted for short naps. This is not safe and not recommended by medical experts as babies must be laid flat on their back for sleep time.
- There is an Australian Standard for high chairs (AS4684-200) but it is not mandatory, so many high chairs sold in Australia do not comply with the standard. The Australian Standard recommends just a few things like a 5-point harness and warning labels to be placed on the high chair. So we recommend you not only look for a high chair that complies with the Australian Standard but also the more comprehensive European Standard of EN 14988:2006.
All babyhood high chairs are actually tested to this standard so you can be assured that our high chairs are safer.
Parents use high chairs differently, so these are the types of questions you need to consider that will enable you to select the best high chair for your specific needs.
- Do you want a high chair that will grow as your child grows?
We recommend the Ava High Chair which grows until a whopping 45kg – which is most 12 year old’s, so your bub has a chair that is something they can grow into. What I love the most, is that this high chair is sustainable for the environment as it is strong enough to be used for years.
- Do you need a highchair with wheels? Not all parents need wheels or castors on their high chairs as they only use them in limited spaces, like the kitchen. But if you are thinking of using your high chair throughout your home, look for a high chair with good quality lockable wheels, so you can lock them down when bub is in the high chair.
We recommend the Keira High Chair with wheels in the rear of the high chair which lock automatically when the high chair is in the open resting position. There are no wheels in the front to ensure you have a more stable high chair that does not slip away easily.
- Do you have limited space? If so, we recommend a high chair that folds and can be tucked away whilst not in use.
Our Keira High Chair is foldable, so perfect for storing away in a broom cupboard or in the pantry when not in use.
- Do you want bub to join you at the dinner table? Many of us believe that dinner time is important family time, that we all share together. There is no reason to alienate your baby from this valuable family time, so look for a high chair with a removable tray. This way your baby can join you at the dinner table. It is also important to check the height of the chair to ensure it is suitable for your dinner table – so that baby can actually sit up at the table with you and the rest of the family.
The Ava High Chair is perfect for family time. It has a removable tray and the high chair is easily adjustable to many different heights so that baby can be positioned perfectly, at the table with you. Unlike most brands of high chairs, where you need to disassemble the frame to adjust the height of the high chair, the Ava High Chair is designed to be adjustable easily – without allen keys and screw drivers so it is easier to use safely. I loved this feature the most as family dinner time is really important in our home and having my children join our table was really special.
- Do you need extra features like a tray, seat pads and harnesses? Most parents would agree these accessories are essential so when you buy a high chair, make sure they are included with your purchase as many premium high chairs are sold separate to the accessories.
All babyhood high chairs come complete. We believe safety features are essential – not an accessory so we don’t make you pay more for safety.
- Do you want the convenience of easy maintenance? This is a no brainer for most parents, who want to spend their precious time with their family, not cleaning! Look for trays that are dishwasher safe and pads that are easily machine washable or wipeable.
All babyhood high chairs have a dishwasher safe tray for washing. The seat pads on the Keira High Chair are laminated cotton, so they are easily wipeable (and really have to be, as we designed this high chair for the largest early learning centre in Australia – so we know they can withstand the test of robust childcare use). The seat and backrest pads of the Ava High Chair are also able to be easily removed and gently machine washed so they are always hygienically clean for the next pasta mess!
- Do you suffer from back pain or need a high chair for family day care or childcare? If you have these needs, it is essential that you look for a high chair with better ergonomics so it safer for you or a carer to lift bub in and out of the chair. So look for a high chair with a wide based profile that allows you access baby, easily and safely. – without stretching over trays and ensuring your feet are positioned between the legs of the chair.
The Keira High Chair is especially designed for this purpose. We identified with early learning carers that they were suffering from back pain and injuring themselves in an attempt to reach a child and carry them over trays and bases of high chairs. We know from Ergonomists that if you are looking to carry any weight it is best if you access that weight closest to your body, without stretching. The reason we designed the Keira High Chair is especially for carers – so we know it is good for you.
Some tips for actual use
It is not enough just to buy a safe high chair; you actually need to use it safely as well.
As parents we are busy and sometimes distracted with the joys and challenges of parenthood so here are some simple things to remember:
- Always supervise your child in a high chair and if you need to leave the room, please take them with you.
- Harness your baby at all times and ensure the harness is adjusted to fit them or they will wiggle out.
- Position your high chair away from cords, blinds, heaters, stoves and other items that your baby could reach or entangle themselves in.
- Use a high chair when baby is able to sit upright unaided, has good strength in their neck to support themselves and fits the high chair – so no slipping through.
- When adjusting the high chair make sure your baby’s delicate fingers and toes are not caught or pinched.
- Do not move the high chair whilst your baby is in the high chair.
- High chairs are not a safe sleep space so please don’t use them for day naps.