Best High Chair for Toddlers – Starting to introduce your baby to solids – or weaning, as many people call it – is such a special milestone, and a fun time of exploration for your little one. And, as with everything baby-related, there’s loads of kit that goes with it. One thing you’ll definitely need is a high chair – but there are loads on the market, so where to start?
Well let’s begin with when to invest in a high chair. Baby and child nutritionist and co-author of How to Wean Your Baby (£10, Amazon.co.uk), Charlotte Stirling-Reed, says it’s never too early to start getting your children involved at mealtimes.
“It’s actually great to get little ones involved from an early age, to help them learn from watching you eat and to get them excited for a time when they can join you in eating,” says Stirling-Reed. “You can get your baby sitting in a highchair from an early age, using a newborn attachment set or stuffing the highchair with cushions so they can be a part of the meal.”
1.Cosco Simple Fold High Chair
Reviewers could barely contain their enthusiasm that a high chair this durable and compact could exist at such a reasonable price. “Lightweight, easily cleans, sturdy, portable to Grandma’s house and easily folds for storage. I love this high chair I bought for my Grandson. The tray is easy to clean as well, the pattern is cheery too,” raves one reviwer, adding, “I would buy another in a heartbeat should I be blessed with another baby in our lives.”
Another reviwer calls this “by far the best high chair on the market.” “I have 5 children and needed to find something that was quick, easy to use and folded up for storage. This does all those things and more,” says another. Another reviewer used all-caps font multiple times to express how pleased she was: “I bought two of these chairs for my twins and they’re PERFECT. It’s a GREAT price and it came ALREADY PUT TOGETHER. I literally had to put the triangle things on the feet and it just folded out ready to go!”
- Easy wipe seat makes all that baby goo simple to clean
- Folds flat and stands on its own, making it easy to hide away
- Compact fold great for taking on the go
- No nonsense design sets up in just seconds. CHOKING HAZARD - Children Under 3 - This toy is not suitable for ages under 3 years. It contains one or more of the following items: marbles, small ball, or small parts
- 3 point harness keeps child up to 50 pounds secure
- Wipe able seat pad
Easy is a word that comes up in hundreds of reviews of this high chair and booster seat, starting with putting it together. According to one reviewer, “I assembled it in about 15 minutes with two children under two in the room. The instructions are clear and easy to understand and there aren’t any small, mystery pieces.” Dozens of other enthusiastic reviewers were equally pleased with how easy it was to clean this high chair after inevitable messes.
One happy mother remarked, “The best part is the ease to clean; the seat cover is one piece (so no rogue food bits hiding underneath) when a simple wipe down isn’t enough the whole seat cover easily comes of and goes into the washing machine, even the straps easily come apart and can be thrown in the washer; air dry it all and the high chair is good as new!” Aside from its functionality, reviewers praised the high chair’s adorable appearance, with one going so far as to say her son “looks SO comfortable in this chair we say he looks like a king on his throne.”
- 2-in-1 high chair converts to a booster when your child is ready
- 3 recline levels allow the high chair to adjust for easy feedings
- Machine-washable seat pad makes cleanup easy
- One-hand removable tray makes getting your child in and out simple
- Built-in storage keeps parts together when you transition to booster mode
3.Joovy Nook High Chair
Reviewers of the Joovy Nook were thrilled about this high chair’s large and functional swivel tray, a feature that came up in hundreds of reviews. According to one very enthusiastic reviewer, “The swing out tray is an absolute lifesaver, no running back and forth to get the high chair ready and then grabbing the baby — I just put him on my hip, and I can swing open the high chair tray with one hand, it’s amazing.”
Other reviewers agreed with this happy mom, who explains that the tray’s plastic top which is very easy to remove and wash: “The removable tray is a great feature, especially for messy meals. Just pop it off and you have less the mess.” The seat is also easy-to-clean. As one parent attests, “The seat cover is SO nice – I wish my car’s upholstery was made out of this stuff. It wipes clean but has this really cool leather look to it.”
- Removable, swing-open tray with 4 adjustable positions
- Easy clean up, dishwasher-safe tray insert and leatherette seat wipes down easily
- Compact, one-hand, standing fold with carry handle
- Non-scratch floor pads; Open size: 41 x 23.5 x 32 inch (H x W x L); Folded size: 9 x 23.5 x 28.5 inch (H x W x L)
- Adjustable 5-point harness, max child weight 50 pounds. BPA/BPS/phthalate/lead free
4.Chicco Caddy Portable
“Hands down my favorite baby item I’ve ever purchased,” says one reviewer, who bought this hook-on high chair as a last-minute purchase for travel but has been using it in lieu of a standard high chair ever since returning home. “I use it at the table when we eat as a family and I’ll attach it to my kitchen bar. My daughter loves to sit in it and watch me wash dishes and cook,” she adds.
Another parent hooks the chair “to our picnic table when we eat dinner outside,” and a pleased grandparent bought it “to have a place at the table for my grandson without adding furniture to my kitchen. Easy to store when he isn’t here. Easy to wash too.” Because it’s so compact, with no legs, it’s “easy to store” yet still “really secure. My 9 month old, 21 lb daughter loves bouncing around in it, but that sucker is so tight on the table that there are no worries.”
- Twist-to-tighten design fastens securely to most tables
- Soft-grip arms firmly clamp onto table without scratching
- Compact fold for travel and storage convenience
- Removable seat cover for easy cleaning and care
- High-back cushioned support for added comfort
- Lightweight metal frame
- 3-point harness for security
5.Baby Trend Sit
Reviewers love that this versatile Baby Trend high chair features six different heights and three recline adjustments. “My daughter is 7 months old. She sits in the seat comfortably with room to grow,” writes one reviewer. “Adjustable heights mean I can push it up to the kitchen counter for my daughter to watch me cook, lower it for her to join us at the dining room table, or feed her while sitting on the couch.” The height adjustments were also a bonus for another reviewer, who says you can “feed if you’re standing or sitting” and likes to lower it so their “other child can play with the baby at his height.”
And one reviewer proclaims it to be “the perfect high chair” for its “easy-to-use lock-in seat belt” and “adjustable height and adjustable seat, which really comes in handy when you are teaching your little one how to use a sippy cup and they have to tilt their heads way back.” The chair’s detachable components mean it’s “super easy to clean from top to bottom,” they add, and when you’re finished with it, “you simply pull the handles up on each side and it folds to a smaller size for storage.”
- For use by a child who can sit upright unassisted
- Booster high chair has 6 heights, and 3 recline adjustments
- Dishwasher safe tray has 3-positions, and operates with 1-hand
- Sit-right height adjustable high chair has a 3-point safety harness. JPMA certified
- Compact steel frame, freestanding fold, maximum weight is 40 pounds
This legless high chair securely attaches to other chairs of various sizes — including office and dining-room chairs — something that’s appreciated by more than 200 reviewers who live in small spaces. “This is great!” writes one reviewer whose cramped apartment didn’t have room for a full-size high chair. “We can use it on the floor and in a chair at the table. [It’s an] inexpensive option for a serious space saver.” They’re especially a fan of the chair’s adjustable back, which came in handy when their son “was starting to eat at 5 months but couldn’t completely sit up on his own yet.”
Another reviewer calls it the “perfect solution for a small space,” as they don’t have a formal dining room. “A traditional high chair was a no-go!” They say this chair “fits nicely on our kitchen counter and is low profile enough to slide under the cupboards when we’re not using it.” And a third reviewer even went so far as to declare there’s “no reason to ever buy a huge, expensive high chair” after they purchased this one. They say this booster has worked wonderfully for their five daughters because “it does not take up any extra space, it just sits in a chair we already had. My [youngest] daughter is happy and comfortable in it and I could not be happier.”
- All the features of a full-size high chair in half the space for portable and easy-clean eating
- Adjust as your baby grows from infant to toddler with 3 recline positions
- Deep, extra-large tray with tray liner has one-hand release and helps keep food off the floor
- Dishwasher-safe tray and tray liner, plus machine-washable seat pad and 5-point harness
- Portable with sturdy base and straps that fit on most dining chairs
Do You Need a High Chair?
Yes, we recommend that you add a high chair to your registry. High chairs position your little one at the proper upright position for eating, providing a safe, comfortable spot for them to begin their lifelong journey with food. They also help contain the mess that comes along with starting solids. (Trust us, there will be a mess.)
When Can Baby Sit in a High Chair?
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, there are several developmental signs to look out for that indicate your baby might be ready to start solids.
- Baby should be able to hold their head up and sit in a high chair with good head control.
- Baby may open their mouth for food.
- Baby can move food from a spoon into their throat.
- Baby has doubled their birth weight.
All babies develop at different rates, but for most, they’re ready to start solids somewhere between four and six months of age, so you’ll want to be sure you have your high chair purchased, assembled and ready to go by then.
When positioning your baby in their high chair, there are a few important tips to keep in mind.
- Keep the phrase “90/90/90” in mind. That means you’ll want a 90-degree bend at the hips, knees and ankles and should only use a high chair with a footrest. This will ensure your baby is in the safest position for eating.
- If your child is leaning in their seat, consider adding support. A rolled-up towel or swaddle blanket behind their back or on either side often does the trick.
- Always feed your baby in your high chair’s most upright position; baby should never be leaning back while eating.
How to Choose a High Chair
Before you choose a high chair, you’ll want to think a bit about your lifestyle, space and budget. Here’s what to consider.
- Space. Do you live in a smaller space and eat most of your meals around a tiny table? Then a booster-style seat that straps right onto one of your chairs or one that clips to a counter may be right for you. Do you have a larger table, or live in a home with multiple eating areas? Then a standalone seat that comes with its own tray and can easily be moved from room to room may be your best bet.
- Lifestyle. If you’re a family who’s often on the go, consider adding a portable high chair to your registry in addition to one that stays only at home.
- Cleaning. When it comes to cleaning, some parents don’t mind sacrificing form for function and choose whatever high chair best fits their favorite aesthetic. But if you know constant scrubbing or getting into nooks and crannies is going to drive you nuts, you may want to stick with a basic, plastic model or one with wipeable fabric.
- Foldability. If space is an issue, you may want to consider a full-size chair that can be folded down and stored or a portable high chair.
- Durability and longevity. Planning on a large family and passing your high chair down from kid to kid? Although they’re on the pricier side, investing in a well-made wooden seat might be the best choice for you. You also need to think about how long you’re hoping to keep your little one in a high chair. There are several chairs that grow with your child, either by converting to a booster seat or even to an adult-sized chair.
- Safety. Always consider your child’s safety when buying any piece of baby gear, but especially when it comes to choosing the best high chair. You’ll want to make sure your seat features a restraint system like a three- or five-point harness, good stability (if the chair has wheels, make sure they lock in place), a footrest to ensure your child is properly supported while eating, a crotch post and nothing that’s going to pinch or catch on baby’s tiny fingers and toes—or on yours.
For even more info on choosing the right high chair for your family, check out our how-to video:
Age suitability – Highchairs are generally suitable from around 6 months, or when your baby can sit up on their own and you begin weaning. However, we’re increasingly seeing a new generation that come with extra padded inserts and recline functions to make them suitable from birth – useful if you have pets or rampaging toddlers around and want to keep your baby off the ground (although obviously you need to be closely monitoring your baby at all times).
Size – If your kitchen is on the smaller side, you’ll want to find a compact highchair that can also be folded up and stored away neatly. Some traditional highchairs have flared legs that often cover a large surface area, which is fine if you have a large kitchen but can be a trip hazard if not.
Portability – There are plenty of highchair options that are compact and light when folded, so are easy to fit in the boot of your car. And there are some seats which come without legs and are designed to be attached directly to your existing kitchen chairs or table. Many of these even have their own carry case – and are a good option if you regularly eat somewhere where highchairs aren’t available. Just be aware that they don’t provide the same comfort and support offered by the big padded chairs.
Multi-use – A lot of highchairs can now be converted into various formats – from traditional highchair to booster seat and child seat – as your little one grows. Of course, these come with a higher price tag, so it’s worth considering whether you want one long-lasting, investment product to do all of these jobs or prefer to buy different, cheaper styles over the years.
Ease of cleaning – Mealtimes can get very messy, particularly during weaning, and how easy your highchair is to clean is a key question. Do you want a simple plastic or wood wipe-clean model or are you happy to machine-wash fabric covers? Be aware if there are lots of nooks and crannies for food to get pushed into, and check whether the tray can be easily taken off. Removable straps are also very handy so you can pop them in the washing machine every so often.
Harness – Never underestimate a toddler’s ability to wriggle out of highchairs – it’s a well-known fact that little ones would give Houdini a run for his money when it’s time for dinner. For this reason, we recommend choosing a highchair that has a 5-point safety harness, as a lap belt alone may not be secure enough. You can buy an attachable 5-point harness if yours only has a lap belt. The harness should conform to safety standard BS 6684: 1989.
Weight – Are you planning on moving your highchair from room to room? If so, weight is something to bear in mind – unless the model comes with wheels.
When to Stop Using a High Chair
Many parents choose to keep their children in a high chair for at least several years, up until two or three years old or beyond. And depending on the model of high chair you use, you may be able to use it much longer—some convertible high chairs hold the weight of an adult.
High chair safety tips to remember
Your baby’s high chair should be a safe place for him to explore food in all its textured, tasty glory.
So you can focus on the food and not any scary incidents, experienced moms, as well as The American Academy of Pediatrics, give the following advice:
- Never leave baby unattended in the chair. This should be a given, but baby might topple the chair or choke if eating while not supervised.
- Always make sure baby is buckled up. Your high chair should have, at the minimum, a T-style strap that goes across baby’s lap, through his legs and connects in the middle for a snug, secure fit. Curious little ones have been known to go exploring — and that can be dangerous. Just attaching the lap table is not enough to make sure baby’s secure.
- Make sure your chair is a safe distance from the table or other edges. Baby loves to stretch his legs and push, and that could mean an unexpected fall.
- Look for a chair that doesn’t tip over easily. You want to ensure that, even as baby gets bigger and more boisterous, he won’t be able to topple the chair.
- Always follow height and weight guidelines. They’re set for a reason, and following them will ensure your baby is sitting safely.
- Make sure any casters or wheels lock. You want to make sure baby doesn’t go for any strolls without you.
- Be super careful when folding and unfolding your chair. “Safety features such as locks will ensure they stay in place when assembled,” says Brittany Ferri, an occupational therapist based in Rochester, NY. And make sure baby is at a safe distance while you’re folding it back up. You don’t want little fingers or toes to get caught in hinges or locks.
- If you’re using a portable chair, make sure your table can support it. Check to verify that any table you’re clipping a portable chair to can support the weight of the seat — and baby — before securely attaching the chair.
How we made our picks for the best high chairs
We scoured through the comments from users of the What to Expect community to find their favorite high chairs and used the above guidelines to narrow down the best picks. We also considered input from our editors on the ones they have tried and loved with their own kids — resulting in a curated selection of the best high chairs currently on the market.
Although safety is the top priority when buying a high chair, some models work better for certain lifestyles. Consider the following points when purchasing a high chair:
A durable seat cover. Look for durable materials that are easy to wipe clean, or better yet, are machine washable. You might prefer a rubber or foam seat because it’s easier to clean and can look more modern.
Style and design. Some standard high chairs come in just one style or color, often using plastic. If you have a specific aesthetic in your home, look for high chairs made with solid wood or those with more color options.
Travel. If you travel often, a portable high chair might be best for you. Or, you could have two high chairs: one for home and one for travel.
Space. If you live in a small home or apartment, space might be something very important for you to consider. Some high chairs are quite bulky and heavy, so a foldable variety might be better for your home. You can also look for those with most adjustable settings so they work with multiple tables and spaces.
Child’s age. If you’re wondering when babies start using high chairs, these chairs are typically introduced when infants are able to sit up, at around 6 or 7 months old. Many styles can be converted as children grow, so parents who start using high chairs when their kids are babies may get years of use out of these items.
Price. You’ll find a wide range of high chairs from basic ones to high-end expensive models. Basic ones might be a good idea for a backup (for having at Grandma’s house, for example). High-end models may feature things like different fabric options, multiple colors, and easier adjustability. Set your budget and go with the high chair that’s best for you!
Now that you’re ready to start browsing your options, let’s start with the most popular model: convertible high chairs. Pampers Parents love convertible high chairs more than any other style—in fact, the four top-rated baby high chairs, according to our Pampers Parents, were all convertible! This style, as mentioned above, can be converted and function in multiple ways when your baby is ready, so it makes sense that many moms and dads prefer this convenience.
Best High Chair for Toddlers – And when can babies actually start eating solids? “Once your little one is sitting up more or less by themselves, can hold their own head and neck, and is developing hand and eye coordination, they might be starting to become ready for solid foods,” Stirling-Reed says.
So now that your baby is ready for a high chair, what are the most important features to look for? Stirling-Reed advises: “Look for a highchair that is comfortable for baby and which has an adjustable footrest, high back and a removable tray, so you can pull baby right into the table with you for mealtimes. It’s also great if they adapt and grow with your baby too, so that they last a lot longer.”
We all know that mealtimes with little ones can be challenging. There’s the food throwing, the wiggling around, the refusal to wear a bib and, of course, the dreaded post-dinner clean-up operation.
However, having the right highchair on hand can help make the experience a little bit more manageable. To put it simply, highchairs provide a safe place where babies and children can sit when eating, raising them to table height so they can be part of mealtimes, plus giving them a secure place to play when you’re prepping food or in the kitchen. The best ones are easy to clean, have simple but stables straps and a decent-sized tray. Many also now offer additional uses – turning into a newborn rocker (take a look at our best bouncer chairs, swings and rockers) or an older child’s table and chair. For on the go, take a look at our best travel highchairs and booster seats.