Buying the Best High Chair

You may not have needed it when he was first born, but now that your little one is beginning to graduate from milk to solids, it's time to get him a high chair. With so many different types of baby high chairs on the market, it can be difficult to figure out which is the best. But buying a baby high chair doesn't have to be complicated; you just need to know what you're looking for.

Safety First
As with all baby furniture, safety is paramount when deciding what to buy. Any high chair that you buy should have a safety harness or belt, preferably in a t-bar shape that goes across the hips and between the legs. Some chairs now also come with a five-point belt to ensure that your child does not squirm her way out of the high chair.

You'll also want to ensure that the tray locks securely onto the chair and that the chair and/or tray are not wobbly in any way. And, of course, there should be no sharp edges sticking out that your child could get caught on or get poked with.

The easiest way to ensure that a high chair meets the necessary safety precautions is to look for a chair that has received the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JMPA) seal of approval. The JPMA is a national organization that has established safety guidelines for many infant products. Only products that meet the JPMA safety standards receive their approval.

Making Your Life Easier
Once you have identified those high chairs that you like and that also meet the safety requirements, it's time to narrow down your choices even further. And this means finding chairs that will make feeding time a little less difficult.

It's no secret that babies are messy eaters, so you will want a high chair that can be wiped off easily. Plastic and metal chairs are the simplest to clean. As well, the high chair pad is often made from vinyl or plastic, making it easy to just wipe off.

Wooden high chairs are often a popular choice with parents who like the classic look of the chairs. Unfortunately, a wooden high chair is more likely to show stains, which can make them less convenient for parents with an especially messy baby.

You'll also want to find a baby chair that has easy-to-use locks on the harness and a tray that can be removed with one hand. If the chair comes with a removable fabric high chair cover, it should be machine washable. And remember, dark colors hide stains much better than light colors, so go for the navy blue high chair covers over the crisp white ones.

Anything Else?
If you live in a small, one-bedroom apartment, having a large wood high chair may not be the most convenient thing. A baby chair that attaches directly to your table may fit your lifestyle a bit better. These are easy to transport and can be less expensive than a high chair. Alternatively, you could also look for a collapsible high chair that you can store away when you're not using it. Just make sure it has sturdy legs that lock properly into place.

High chairs that are on rolling castors can make it easier for you to feed your baby wherever you want. Roll them into the dining room, the living room or the kitchen; just make sure you put the locks on the wheels when you're using it. Another benefit of high chairs with wheels is that you can roll the chair to soothe your baby if he starts to fuss.

If you're looking for a chair that will give you more bang for your buck, then consider getting a high chair with "all the fixings." Chairs with different reclining positions, along with height adjustment abilities, allow the chair to grow with your child. Some can even last right through to the teenage years (minus the feeding tray, of course). A tray that is dishwasher safe can make clean up a snap, as can a chair with very few nooks and crannies where food and liquids tend to hide.

Baby high chairs can range in price from $30 to $200, which means you can easily find one that fits your budget.

Recommended Chairs:
Chicco Mamma High Chair
Cosco Eddie Bauer Wooden High Chair
Cosco High Chair with Parent Assist Tray
Zooper Peas and Carrots High Chair
Graco Tot Loc Chair High Chair
Graco Easy Chair High Chair
Babee Tenda Safety Feeding Table

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