Traditional highchairs are the ones you probably had yourself as a child – they're big, comfy and practical, yet on the downside they do take up a lot of space so are really only suitable if you have a decent sized dining room or kitchen. They usually have a removable food tray, a basket underneath, and big, padded cushions so they're comfy for your baby. Their large footprint makes them feel stable, too, but takes up room.
Funky and stylish, contemporary highchairs look great are usually packed full of the latest design technologies. But are they practical?
Well yes, most of the time. They tend to have been under design for years before being released, and have lots of safety features. Take the Baby Bjorn Appetite for example. It looks gorgeous, and is all smooth curves and harness-free. Then there’s the minimal, modernist Brio Grow, that’s contemporary take on the highchair means it can last until your child’s 7.
One feature often missing from contemporary highchairs is the plastic coated cushions found on traditional models. This means less nooks and crannies for food to get stuck in, and you won’t need to remove any padding to get a thorough clean.
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Single stem highchairs
Again, funky and innovative, these highchairs stand on one leg instead of four, and tend to be real style statements. They're also pretty effective, often boasting great functional features, such as a pneumatic lift for adjusting the height to multiple positions and a 360-degree rotation to make feeding easier.
These aren’t cheap highchairs and they don’t fold away. Also, the footprint is fairly big so they take up a lot of room.
If space is at a premium, a folding highchair could be the ideal solution. They can be all sorts of designs, but tend towards the more traditional style. They're usually lighter than traditional ones, so they’re more easily lifted for storage. Some even have removable legs so they can double as a compact travel option.
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Ideal for parents on the move! If you're going anywhere that's not especially child friendly, you'll need to think about how you're going to feed your child, and a travel highchair is a great solution.
They fold up fairly small, then you simply unfold them, and strap on top of an adult dining chair. They then have all the usual safety features including a harness and sometimes a tray.
Boosters are not usually suitable for children younger than 12 months, and often even at that age they might need something with a bit more support. But as an easy-to carry-option, boosters are ideal. They can be used at friend's houses, in restaurants – anywhere really, as you just sit the booster on top of an adult seat, attach it and strap your baby in.
Some boosters can fold away, but many don’t, so are best for taking in the car rather than in the buggy.
As the name suggests, these seats clamp onto the table rather than attach to a chair. Most fold down small enough to carry around with you. They're rigorously tested for safety and usually accommodate a child up to the age of 3, by which time they’re capable of sitting on an adult chair anyway.
They're unlikely to damage your table as the clamps are well-padded, but you do need to be aware they won't fit EVERY table – tables that are too think or too thin and glass ones aren’t ideal.
Seat harnesses, or chair harnesses, are a fabric option that wrap around a chair’s back and your baby or child. You can use them instead of boosters or travel highchairs, but they won’t give your baby any height. They just keep your child secure.
When not in use, the fabric just folds up, sometimes into small pouches or carry bags. They’re a compact option because they have no frames and they’re not made from heavy materials, like metal.
While seat harnesses are quite flexible in the type of chairs they work with, you could still encounter a few seats that they won’t fit, such as bench seats and other backless chairs, or those with very tall backrests.
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