Silver Cross Doodle
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The new Doodle, from Silver Cross, is an ingenious invention – a highchair that converts into a mini play table and chair in seconds. It falls firmly into the ‘why didn’t anyone think of this before?’ category, so no doubt, aspiring Dragons Den contestants will be hitting their foreheads.
Like the cot-bed before it, its dual-purpose design will appeal to eco-conscious mums all too aware of the short lifespan of many baby products. As a highchair, it’s suitable from 6 months to 3 years, and as a table and chair it’s suitable from 3 years to 6 years. With a full price of £150 (reduced now to £100), it’s not the cheapest chair on the market, but its originality, modern good looks and practicality are a winning combination.
What we love
I tested it out on my 9-month-old son Elliot who looked comfortable enough strapped in with the 5-point harness (a leg divider in the tray table adds extra security). Buttons underneath allow the tray table to be pushed back and forth to create room for tubby tums, with three positions available. It also comes out completely for a good scrub down.
Mealtimes with a young baby, as any new mum will tell you, can be horrendously messy. With more food hitting the floor than Elliot’s mouth much of the time, the fewer nooks and crannies for crumbs and drips to hide in the better. Too many highchairs are surprisingly hard to clean, but not the Doodle: it’s made of durable wipedown plastic and has appealing smooth lines with no hidden dirt-traps. The coloured rubber seat pads unattach to be cleaned, too. I found the Doodle lightweight enough to move around without too much effort, but it still felt secure and stable. The table and chair were no-brainers to disassemble, and look as chic as the highchair. Once Elliot is old enough to mimic mummy and daddy, I’m sure he’ll love playing and eating at them.
Highchairs can be notoriously ugly, but this one wouldn’t look amiss in a modern interiors shoot, and won’t clash with the curtains either. The curvy white design comes in three tasteful colour accents – apple green, lilac or stone grey. The way the chair’s four legs pop off its base to free up the co-ordinating table underneath is pure genius. It converts just as easily back, thanks to the four-way locking system. The forward-thinking Silver Cross design team have already patented the technique, which ensures tiny fingers can’t get trapped. The armrests on the play chair will stop children wobbling, too.
You can never have enough storage where little people are involved, and the table’s colourful centre cleverly conceals a mesh basket where crayons and other clutter can be stashed after playtime. You can also buy extra matching chairs to accommodate little friends for tea parties. The feeding tray attaches using magnets, a brilliant touch. We just ran it under the tap to wash away the dribbled remains of Elliot’s lunch. Use it in lieu of a plate (eliminating the problem of baby throwing dishes on the floor) and it can be popped in the dishwasher afterwards.
What to watch out for
A distinct knack was required to attach the four crayon beakers (included), which slot into the holes left by the chair’s metal legs. As the seat isn’t adjustable, you might want to consider what level baby will be at compared to your own dining table. Your baby will also need to be able to sit upright unaided. Its footprint is on the larger side, though it’s not the worst we’ve seen by any stretch. The Doodle also lacks lots of padding.
Who is the Silver Cross Doodle best for?
House-proud parents allergic to fussy designs, who want their kids’ furniture to look as stylish as theirs, and are prepared to pay for it. Eco-worriers who don’t want to have to keep shopping for new items every few months.
Part of a series of cool new designs from traditional brand Silver Cross, this has the potential to become the iPod of highchairs. Multi-purpose furniture can be fiddly, but the innovative Doodle scores a triple whammy: it’s ultra-practical, easy to assemble and good-looking. The separate table and chairs give it a lifespan well beyond the average piece of baby kit – it can be used from 6 months to around age 6. However, the seat can’t be adjusted, which may not suit everyone.