Choosing a highchair can sometimes feel like buying a car. There are many makes and models, with a huge range of designs and features. Highchair designs are continually updated and there are regulations and standards in the industry that are meant to keep your baby safe.
The basic components of a highchair are simple—a frame, a chair, and usually a tray. No matter whether you prefer an old-fashioned wood design or a contemporary steel design, look for the following safety elements:
- A center crotch post that prevents your child from slipping out of the chair.
- A restraint system with a three- or five-point harness.
- Wheels that lock in place (if wheels are included).
- A chair that does not scissor or pinch when it is folded.
As for performance, there are a number of desirable features to look for in a highchair, including:
- Padded seats that can be wiped clean or a removable pad that can be thrown in the washing machine.
- Dishwasher-safe trays.
- Seats that recline to adjust to your growing baby’s needs.
- Adjustable chair heights.
- Easy-to-access seams that make cleaning easier.
- A chair that converts to a toddler or booster chair once your child outgrows a highchair (typically around age three).
Look for the seal of the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association, which indicates that the seat complies with the voluntary (but detailed) safety standards for highchairs set by ASTM International. These standards are intended to minimize injuries to children resulting from normal use.
Certified highchairs must have an opening on all sides, a passive crotch restraint, and at least a three-point harness. They are also required to have locking mechanisms to prevent accidental folding, covers for small parts, rugged trays, stable legs, and no spring or scissor actions that can pinch fingers or toes.
It is important to visit the website of the Consumer Products Safety Commission to ensure that the chair you are thinking of buying hasn’t been subject to a recall.
Reviewed by Dr. Heather Felton, April 2020
- There are many makes and models of highchairs to browse through, similar to shopping for a car.
- Make sure there isn’t access for your child to slip out and doesn’t scissor when folded.
- Look for models that grow as your baby grows.
- Check the Consumer Products Safety Commission to see reviews and recalls on chairs you are considering.