Kitchen

Choosing a High Chair

Welcome to the world of new parents! This is an exciting time, but there are so many choices to make it can sometimes feel overwhelming. Parenting is a big job, but you are ready for this! There is a lot of information available that can help you out while you get to know the unique little person who is now in your life. Here are some tips about choosing and using high chairs and booster seats.

Quick Tip

Use back burners for cooking when you can and remember to turn your pot and pan handles in and away from the edge of the stove.

HIGH CHAIR STAGES

If you want to use a high chair with your young baby, be sure to purchase a reclining high chair or low chair. Reclining chairs support little bodies, and are the only chairs that should be used before a baby can sit up alone. Reclining chairs allow you and your baby to gaze at each other – a delightful part of the bonding process. Babies should be stable sitters before being placed in non-reclining high chairs. This means they should be able to hold their heads and spines up by themselves. Many babies begin to sit up between four and six months of age. This creates a perfect match of child development and parenting because it is the same age range the American Academy of Pediatricians recommends for starting solid foods. Using a high chair at this age gives you freedom of movement while you help your child discover healthy first foods. Many parents also wipe their babies’ gums or brush their toddlers’ teeth while children sit in their high chairs. Using your high chair for several tasks makes it easier to care for your baby.

THINGS TO LOOK FOR IN A HIGH CHAIR 

Always choose a JPMA-certified high chair (Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association). This certification guarantees the high chair meets current safety standards. Look for full-sized high chairs with wide, sturdy bases that adjust to fit babies as they grow. Insist on safety straps and also consider a built-in crotch post. Safety straps are four or five-point harnesses that fit snugly to keep your child in the seat. The crotch post keeps your child from slipping under the seat tray and falling out of the chair. These supports also keep your active toddler from standing up while in the high chair.

USING A HIGH CHAIR

Position your baby’s high chair away from walls and at a “can’t reach” distance from counters and tables when the tray is installed. This keeps your baby safe by putting sharp, hot, or breakable items out of reach. When you place your baby in the chair, immediately fasten all safety straps and harnesses and lock the tray table. Securely latched straps keep your baby safe. Never, ever leave your baby alone in a high chair, whether he or she is eating or playing with items on the tray. Your little one can’t recognize dangers such as choking hazards. Be a proactive parent by always staying near your baby while they are in the high chair.

AWAY FROM HOME

One of the many portable high chairs might be the best and safest option if you and your baby are frequently away from home. Consider a foldable model to make your travel meals pleasant. If you choose a folding high chair, make sure all legs are firmly in place before placing your child in the chair. Bottom line: If you are away from home and there are no safe high chairs or booster seats with straps and crotch posts available, hold your child while he or she is eating. You’ll get some extra bonding time with your little one, and will feel confident your baby is safe.

TRANSITIONING TO A FEEDING BOOSTER SEAT

Before you know it, your baby will grow into a busy, curious toddler! Booster seats work well for active toddlers who love to explore new ways to sit, eat, and play and help the transition to the adult chair. Attach the booster seat to a sturdy chair using all the straps – they are designed to keep your toddler safe. Make life easy and fun by using equipment that helps you support each unique developmental stage of childhood.

You can do it! You can keep your baby safe, healthy, and happy. As your baby grows, your parenting self-confidence will also grow. Be a proactive parent by using a safe and secure high chair or booster seat, providing a variety of healthful foods, and responding to your baby’s developing skills. Be sure to take time to enjoy each new stage of development that your baby, and you as a parent, goes through.