Ever arrived at a restaurant only to find they’ve got no highchairs? Wonder how you’ll cope on holiday with a wiggling baby balanced on your knee eating pureed carrot? The Totseat is the perfect portable highchair solution.
Like most mums I’d had my fair share of turning up at a café or restaurant only to find they didn’t have highchairs, they were all taken or they were so unsafe I’d never use them. But I muddled through a few hilarious meals with Mia balanced on one knee, alternately feeding her and being covered in mushed up veg as she pawed at me.
Just before Mia turned one we decided we’d have a family holiday in Italy. As an ever vigilant, and research-obsessed mother I thought I find out just how friendly Italy was. It ticked most of the boxes, they love kids, but often their baby facilities (such as highchairs) are lacking. A quick troll of the internet turned up the brilliant idea of the Totseat. Launched in 2004 it comes in a wide range of fabrics, from the funky purple and blue one I own, to a groovy denim style. You can buy them direct from Totseat or in retailers like John Lewis. And they’ll suit your little one once they reach about 8 months and can sit unaided.
At first glance you’ll probably wonder how on earth it works, but basically the large piece of fabric sits over the back of the chair, and then it goes between your baby’s legs and clips securely at the back. For greater security there’s an additional waistband – good news if you have a wriggler or the chair hasn’t got a solid back. Once you’re finished with it, you just squash it into the matching travel pouch and chuck it in your bag. It weighs hardly anything because it’s made of fabric.
What we love
I only wish I’d discovered the Totseat when Mia was younger – it’s brilliant and mums speaking across numerous websites agree with me. When I first pulled it out the bag I didn’t believe it would take one attempt to figure out how to use it (I didn’t even read the instructions – how rebellious!) or that it would fit any chair. It’s super easy to fit and I never found a chair it didn’t work with.
It looks really cool and other mums who see it always ask where it came from and how it works.
Mia loved sitting in it and I always felt she was secure.
By the time I got my Totseat I was working on travelling light so the squashy fabric and chuck in the bag pouch were perfect. It’s the kind of thing you can just leave in your bag and not worry about it taking up too much room.
And it meets the messy criteria too – all the fabrics are washable, but I found it equally easy to wipe down.
What to watch out for
I’ve only come across one problem with the Totseat and it’s not really a fault of the product. Depending on the chair you’re using your little one can end up sitting down quite low, so you may need to pull them away from the table. On an early outing with the Totseat I didn’t know this, and Mia taught me by head butting the table.
And make sure you pick up the waist strap; it’s totally separate from the main Totseat and can get lost in the general chaos of having kids. I tend to shove mine down at the bottom of the bag.
Who is the Totseat best for?
Mums after a portable, hardwearing seat that doesn’t take up vital bag space.
The perfect solution when there’s no highchair available, the Totseat is just right for children around 8-30 months. Made of washable fabric, it comes in a range of funky colours, is portable and has its own carry bag, so you can squash it into your own bag without a second thought. If your baby can’t sit up unaided yet, it’s not the right option for you just yet.