Maybe it’s time for your little one’s first high chair; maybe they’ve outgrown the one they used to sit in, and you’re considering a more ‘big kid’-appropriate option. Either way, portable high chairs are definitely worth a look! They come in a few different styles, but still have some of the same considerations as standard high chairs. Here’s a rundown of the differences and some things to keep in mind when you’re making your choice.
Hook-On High Chairs
These chairs do exactly what their name suggests – they clamp right onto the side of your dining table, using the table as a ‘tray.’ They’re extremely portable, and can be taken just about anywhere with ease. However, you have to be VERY careful about weight limits (37 lbs), and sure that the table you’re hooking baby’s seat up to won’t tip over! Hook-on chairs may also scratch surfaces, depending on what the arms are made of. These are the closest portable high chairs get to a standard high chair, though they usually don’t have footrests.
A restaurant classic, booster seats adapt a normal chair seat for a kid’s use, allowing them to reach the regular table at mealtime. They can be used with virtually any type of chair short of restaurant booths, since they strap around the back to provide a secure seat, and have the highest weight limit (generally 50 lbs). However, booster seats aren’t very compact, and they can’t be used until your little one is at least 12 months old. They’re also the least adjustable sort of portable high chair, so if the seat doesn’t work with your table-chair combination, your child may still be out of reach of the table.
Chair harnesses, like the Yochi Yochi, also strap onto any chair with a back. They’re super portable, and in some cases can double as a baby carrier, making them perfect for evenings out. However, they’re not as secure as a booster seat, and they don’t lift your little one up to the table, either.
Now that you know your basic options, here are some things to keep in mind before making a final decision:
*Safety first! Check the chair’s safety labels, recommendations, and instructions, and look up whether it’s been subject to any recalls. Safety belts and harnesses will also help keep your child from tipping over or falling during mealtime.
*Even with portable high chairs, mess is inevitable. Make sure you get a chair made of easy-clean material.
*Size and portability are concerns with portable high chairs, just like they are with standard models. You might decide the bulk of a booster seat is worth the benefits it gives you, or you might prefer the stowability of a hook-on high chair when it’s not in use.
*Sturdy chairs and booster seats are important, especially as little ones start trying to push off things around them with their legs! Hook-on high chairs need to withstand baby’s fidgety weight, and booster seats needs to be stable to prevent falling accidents.
*Not all portable high chairs are equally easy to use! Some hook-on high chairs won’t attach properly to rounded tables, and simply should NOT be used with glass tabletops. Booster seats and harnesses are the most practical with backed chairs, but don’t always reach the height of your table with ease.