Is your baby nearing that six-month mark? Are you are getting ready to start trying solids out with him for the first time? If so then it’s high chair shopping time! It isn’t as “easy” as it used to be though. There are all these different types, styles, materials, prices, so how do you know which one is right for you and your family? Here is a list of pros and cons for the classic high chair, booster seat, and hook-on chair:
Classic Chair: The classic chair is what you think of initially when you think of a high chair. It stands independently from the table, your baby gets their own tray, and they’re typically slightly reclined.
Comfort – These chairs are probably the most comfortable, especially for younger babies. Some parents like to begin solids with their babies before they can sit upright so the recline feature allows them to do so easily. They tend to be slightly padded in the chair seat and back.
Variety – You can find the greatest variety in colors and themes. I’ve seen them in green, purple, stripes, plaid, Disney, you name it.
Easy to Clean – They’re relatively easy to clean, especially if the seat cushion has a plastic covering.
Price – Typically they run about $75-$200, which is more pricey than the other two choices.
Space – Though some have the ability to fold, they’re still pretty bulky. These don’t do well in small apartments.
Isolation – Rather than sitting with the family and having dinner, your baby is isolated in his own separate spot. If your aim is to have family togetherness during dinner time, this chair can make your baby feel a little left out.
Booster Chair: A booster chair is a hard plastic seat that straps into your own dining chair. Most come with a detachable tray and tend to have no incline. I have this chair for my daughter.
Price – I chose this chair because of how inexpensive it was. I got the frequently raved about Fisher-Price Healthy Care Deluxe Booster Seat, which costs about $25 new (yet I’ve seen them go for $5 used). There are also less expensive ones such as the Summer Infant Deluxe Comfort Booster for $15.
Space – It takes up minimal room. You simply strap it on to a chair that would normally sit at your dining table.
Longevity – Unlike other seats that have plastic cushioned covers that can stain or rip over time, this one is solid hard plastic that lasts without signs of wear and tear.
Uncomfortable – I frequently question how comfortable this is for my daughter. I’m not sure I could be strapped in a hard plastic chair for very long without getting a sore back!
Cold – If your child likes to run around naked in the house all day like mine, you might need to cover their bodies before sticking them in the chair because the plastic tends to get cold.
Cleaning – Food tends to slip under the booster chair onto your dining chair, which can go unnoticed for a while and then be a pain in the butt to clean later when it dries and sticks.
Hook-On Chair: I’ll admit, the first time I saw a hook-on chair I was a bit scared. The baby looks like they are suspending from the edge of the table or counter. Don’t worry, it clamps on very tightly to the surface and they aren’t going to fall!
Portable – This chair is the easiest to take to restaurants or over to a friend’s house. They’re small and not bulky like the booster seat.
Participation – My baby’s pediatric nutritionist recommends these because the baby feels like they are part of the family when it comes to meal times.
Swivel Motion – Some seats, like the Chicco 360 Degree Rotating Hook On Chair, allow you to swivel your baby around from the table to easy take them out or put them. There is no need to airlift them out from an awkward angle.
Table Restrictions – You need a certain type of table for these chairs. Your table can’t have a leaf, table cloth, or stand on one leg.
Hard to Clean – Most of are made of material that is difficult to clean and have various little crevices for food to get stuck in.
No Tray – Though some expensive models have a tray, most models do not. Your baby eats off the table which can get very messy real fast.
Bottom line, it’s up to you to decide which chair is the best fit for your family. Whether it’s price, portability, or the amount of space you have available, this comparison list should be able to guide you in the right direction.