Finding the right highchair for you and your little one can make mealtimes a fun-filled experience for both of you. But when it comes to picking the right highchair, you’ve got a lot to consider. You might be asking yourself what style of chair is best for your child. Or you might be questioning what features to consider, or wondering how you can tell if a highchair is safe.
To help, here we explain when to put a baby in a highchair and what features to look for. We’ll also run through how to use them safely, and when to stop using a highchair.
Do I need to use a highchair?
You may be able to feed your little one without a highchair. But many parents see them as almost indispensable pieces of baby kit. A highchair can turn feeding your child from a potentially stressful situation to a mutually rewarding experience. These are some of the reasons why:
1. Safety and security: Highchairs are designed to hold your baby or toddler in a secure and safe position, removing any worries about them falling or slipping.
2. The right height: Highchairs hold your baby up at a height that makes feeding them easy work for you.
3. Face-to-face contact: A highchair gives plenty of opportunity for eye contact and interaction, making mealtimes a great occasion for bonding.
4. A place for fun: Most highchairs have tables that fit around your little one. You can place toys and games on these tables to make feeds full of fun and to create positive associations with eating.
5. A chance to get involved: By placing bowls and plates of food on the highchair table, your child can begin to learn how to feed themselves. And by placing the highchair at the table, they’ll feel like they’re joining in with family mealtimes.
6. Easy to clean: Most highchairs are easy and quick to clean, thanks to their material, so make it ideal for weaning babies when food can go everywhere!
7. Freedom for you: Highchairs also allow you some freedom when feeding your little one, meaning you can eat a meal at the same time as them.
From what age can a baby sit in a highchair?
Your child is ready to use a highchair when they can sit upright by themselves with little support. They must be able to keep their head up easily and sit with good stability. Every child develops at a different speed, but most babies reach this point sometime between four to six months. Although some children may take closer to eight months, or longer.
On top of this, most highchairs come with a recommendation from the manufacturer as to what age range a chair is suitable for, and even what weight. Make sure your child meets the recommended age and size for any highchair you put them in.
How to choose the right highchair for my baby?
There are a great many highchairs out there, each with different features and their own pros and cons. Which chair is right for you, will depend on your child and your personal situation.
Think about the following when deciding which highchairs are best for you:
· Certified safety: Make sure any highchair you’re interested in has a safety certification, such as a British Standard safety mark so you know you’re buying a safe chair.
· A chair harness: Straps and a harness will help keep your little one safe in a chair. A full five-point harness is the gold standard, as these are the securest forms of straps and will make sure even the wriggliest of babies stay put.
· Height: Make sure any highchairs you’re considering sit at a height that’s comfortable for you and match the height of your table.
· Size: Some highchairs are bigger than others, and some can fold-up into smaller dimensions. The size of chair you need will depend on how much space you have at the table and how much room you have to store it.
· Folding parts: Some highchairs are fixed, whereas others can be easily folded away. If space is at a premium, a foldable highchair may be more suitable for you.
· Adjustable parts: Many highchairs have adjustable seats, tables and backs, and can be altered to suit the height and shape of your baby. These chairs can be longer lasting too, as they can be adjusted to accommodate small babies to large toddlers – perfect as your little one grows!
· Ease of cleaning: We recommend wipe-down highchairs and those with removable and washable covers. An excited toddler can make a mess better than almost anyone.
How do I make sure my baby is safe in a highchair?
If you buy the right highchair and you use it correctly, they can be one of the safest items of baby gear you own. Just make sure you:
· Sit your baby in a chair that’s a suitable match for their height and weight
· Use the safety straps provided
· Properly lock any lockable folding mechanisms in place
· Ensure the highchair is set up on a flat floor and can’t fall over
· Check that nothing can fall onto the highchair or that your baby can’t reach anything that can harm them
· Never leave you baby unattended in a highchair
· Don’t leave your little one in a highchair for extended periods
At what age should I stop using a highchair for my toddler?
Most toddlers stop using a highchair sometime between 18 months and three years of age. Yes, this might seem like a big age range, but it’s because every child is different. Some children will enjoy their highchair and feel safe and reassured in it, whereas other children will be eager to make the move to a “big person chair” as quickly as possible.
If your child can sit upright in a chair without armrests, its own table or other supports, for long enough to eat a meal, they can make the switch. Especially if they’ve also mastered the ability to eat without getting it all over the place.
A lot of the time, the question of when to stop using a highchair is answered by your little one themselves. It’s often best to wait until they show interest in using a regular chair and are ready to leave their highchair behind.