A high chair can be useful for parents, when babies can sit on their own and want to try eating on their own. They can also serve as a secure place to seat your child with a book or a small toy, while you sit next to them doing something else that needs to be done. For example, if you are eating lunch at the dining table, you can seat the baby next to you on a high chair and keep talking to them. Be warned though that high chairs occupy a lot of space and are not easy to store because of their awkward shape.
High chairs are all constructed similarly with a stable base and a chair on them. There is also a tray that rests on the armrests. Virtually all have metal legs for the base and a plastic chair and tray. There are wooden chairs in the market also. Beyond the basic high chair, it is just a matter of what other cutesy features you want like a built-in toy etc.,
(Image courtesy of Fisher-Price)
Selecting the right high chair
1. Stability - You probably expect to use the chair even when your child is a toddler. Toddlers can be pretty active and maybe able to shake the chair from side to side. Find one that is very stable and has a solid construction.
2. Ease of tray use - After you seat the baby in the chair, you need to hold her with one hand, while you lock the tray in place. Find a chair which has an easy but secure tray locking mechanism. Putting a tray in place and locking it in, all while one hand is holding your baby in the chair, is a difficult task.
3. Five point harness - There are two ways for babies to come out of the chair. The easy way is to climb out. A number of chairs come only with a 3-point harness which has a belt around the waist and another belt between the legs. In our case, our kids have managed to slide out of this type of harness and stand up in the chair. Buy a chair with a 5 point harness. This type of harness also has belts that go over the shoulder.
4. Prevents sliding down - Most chairs will come with a bar that is usually attached to the bottom on the tray and slides into place between your baby's legs, when the tray is locked into place. This bar prevents your child from sliding down.
5. Broad tray - A tray that extends farther out from the child can be an advantage or a disadvantage. When your baby is really young, a broad tray allows you to keep things out of her reach. However, it is harder to lock in with one hand and become a tipping hazard.
Always stay close to your child when she is in the high chair. Very active toddlers can easily create a lot of motion in the chair and tip over.