You might think the high chair is a safe place for baby to sit – and when used properly, it is. However, it’s very possible for small children to hurt themselves by falling out of their high chairs! Most injuries that result from improper high chair use are head injuries, and the vast majority of high chair accidents happen because a child was standing or climbing in the chair.
Here are some safety tips to keep in mind when using your high chair:
*Always, always, ALWAYS strap your little one into the harness properly – no exceptions! High chair accidents almost always happen because a child wasn’t secured properly into their seat, and got enough room to wiggle out and get hurt. The tray alone will not hold baby in the seat, and taking the time to strap them in has an added benefit of establishing a mealtime routine. Three-point or five-point harnesses with a crotch strap or between-the-legs post are the most secure design.
*NEVER leave baby unattended in the high chair! It’s important to be there so you can help your child if something starts to go wrong – with the chair itself or with eating the meal. Supervision also means you can stop your little one before they get a chance to stand up in the seat.
*Use the high chair for mealtimes only. Do not use the high chair as a convenient place to plunk your little one between meals, and do not let older children use it as a personal jungle gym; this can cause the chair to tip over.
*Keep the area around the high chair clear. Counters and tables can provide a sturdy surface for an enterprising toddler to push off against, which can cause the chair to tip over while they’re in it!
*Test out the high chair you want to use before buying it to see how sturdy it is. The less likely it is to tip over on its own, the better; high chairs with wide bases are the best. In addition, if you buy a foldable high chair, make sure the chair is locked into position BEFORE strapping baby in, so it doesn’t collapse mid-meal.
*Be sure to check for safety recalls regularly, and follow the instructions for them if your high chair falls under one. Also check for recalls before buying a new chair, to better avoid buying a model with a track record of injury risk.
*If you buy a high chair that hooks onto a table, make sure the table is sturdy enough to support baby’s weight, and that they can’t reach a table leg or support with their feet to push off against; this can detach the chair from the table.
By keeping these tips in mind, you and your little one will have a much safer mealtime experience.