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What to look for when buying a highchair

What to look for when buying a high chair

Mealtimes with baby can sometimes resemble a battle of the wills, a test of patience and a food fight in which you’re losing. From flying pumpkin, runaway peas to flicking spoons (oh no!), the last thing you want is a high chair that hinders, rather than helps.

That's why we've cooked up a fail-safe guide to highchair hunting; after all, the right one can turn mealtime mayhem into a culinary adventure!

When you’re on the highchair hunt, keep these 5 key factors in mind.

  1. High Chair Safety
  2. Functionality & Adjustability
  3. Cleanability
  4. Comfort
  5. Style

Highchair Safety Features

A typical type of injury related with high chairs happens when your little one attempts to stand up in, climb into, or get out of their high chair, resulting in a fall. Other injuries can arise from pinching or crushing of little fingers, toes, or limbs by moving parts or gaps, as well as choking on small, detachable parts.

When shopping, look for a high chair that complies with the certified New Zealand safety standards, AS/NZS ISO 8124-3.2012 and check the chair has these safety features:

A well-balanced footprint. You want to ensure that, even when baby gets bigger and more boisterous, he won’t be able to tip the chair over.

A size-adjustable, five-point safety harness that clicks together easily and can only be opened by ‘adult-strength’.  Ideally, the harness should be non-removable, or at least require a tool to remove it for washing (such as undoing a screw), so that you or your child are unlikely to take it off and lose it, or forget to reattach it.

A ‘crotch post’ or T-style strap that goes between baby’s legs so they have no way of sliding out of the chair.

Anti-slip pads, or castor wheels that lock, on the base of the legs to ensure your highchair remains in one spot.

When you get home, make sure you set up the chair at least half a metre from anything your little one could use to push off from and topple over – windows, large furniture, pull cords on lights or blinds, and so on.


Highchair Functionality & Adjustability

Sometimes, functionality and adjustability come at a price. However often you can spend a small fortune and realise you’ve paid more for the brand, than functionality.  If your budget allows, you can spend big and find that super-sonic high chair with all the brands, bells and whistles, but if you’re a clever shopper, price conscious or simply just wanting the essentials, then check out these features for a smart choice:

Growing with your child: your baby will not be little forever; in fact, they grow like little mushrooms! So, bear this in mind when selecting a highchair and find one that allows room for growth. Can the insert be removed to allow more room? Is the tray table adjustable or can it be removed altogether? Can the highchair be used at the dining room table (without the tray)? Is the footrest adjustable? Basically, is there room for growth?

Convertible chairs: some high chairs covert to floor seats or stools to allow for more uses or a longer lifespan. Before you spend the money, ask yourself if this is a feature you really need or want?

Storage and portability: Do you need a highchair that folds down for easy storage? Or would your home and lifestyle suit a portable multi-seat that can be moved more easily and taken on holiday or to grandma’s house? 



When your baby starts on solids, there really is no messier stage! You’ll need a high chair that’s easy to clean because there’ll be spills, splashes and food EVERYWHERE! 

Look for:

  • A removeable tray that can be scrubbed down with hot soapy water.
  • A chair where the seat insert and safety straps can be scrubbed clean.
  • Less ‘crooks and crannies’ where food can be lodged.
  • Washable, waterproof surfaces.



Ensuring your baby's comfort is key. If baby is comfortable, they’ll sit for longer, enjoy mealtimes more and hopefully consume more food!

Comfort considerations:

  • No one loves a cold, hard seat on their tush, so a little padding is a good idea. As is, a contoured seat to fit baby’s bum.
  • An adjustable footrest provides comfort so bub’s legs are not hanging down without support. 
  • A high back ensures good back and neck support.



We all want a high chair that looks like part of the furniture, right? Because your chair is likely to be sitting in your dining area or kitchen for a few years, you’ll want something that’s functional, but looks good.

If you have a small space, look for a more compact highchair or a feeding seat that attaches to a dining room chair.

You can’t go wrong with a combination of natural wood and a classic clean white finish, which fits most home décor styles.



When it comes to investing in a highchair you may not find one within your budget that ticks every single box, so start with ticking the boxes for safety. There should be no compromises there. Because safety is so important, buy your highchair from a reputable local company with good after-sales service.

Lastly, mealtimes are important family times. Initially, dinnertime with a baby can be enormously challenging, but by eating together, babies learn how to interact with others, share and take turns. By allowing baby to touch, smell, taste and play with their food, they’ll learn to develop their fine motor skills, taste buds and ability to feed themselves. Remember, the ‘baby feeding’ stage is just that, a stage. By the time they’re age 10 hopefully they’ll get more food in their mouth, than on the floor!

Highchair Recommendations



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