Are Footrests on High Chairs Necessary?

a toddler boy looks down at his footrest from a Stokke Tripp Trapp chair

Is a footrest or footplate on a high chair really necessary?

When I was introducing solids to Charlie—long before Solid Starts was even a glimmer in my head—I used all the wrong high chairs. Frankly, at the time, I cared more about what my apartment looked like than any bells and whistles of a high chair. But in reality, I just didn’t know much about proper placement. 

Putting Charlie in a chair that suspended from our table was one of the many mistakes I made as a new mom. What I didn’t realize then was that when a child’s feet have nothing beneath them for support, that you are essentially destabilizing their core stabilty. Which in turn affects your little one’s ability to use their smaller muscles effectively. It is the equivalent of asking your baby to eat on a barstool with no where to put your feet. 

Whenever I get DMs from moms here saying their baby is crying in the high chair, doesn’t want to eat, etc. the first question I ask is what high chair they are using. Aside from letting your baby self-feed as much as possible, and making sure you stick to a regular feeding schedule, it’s probably the number one factor in how long your child will (happily) stay at the table. (On that note, if your baby is still eating in a high chair with a tray somewhere off in the corner, move that chair to the table asap. Your baby will benefit from feeling like a part of the family—eating where the grown ups do—and without even trying, you’ll find yourselves eating together more often if the high chair is at the table.)

Proper positioning while eating—sitting totally upright, hips at a 90 degree angle, feet supported—will not only increase the amount of time your babies are willing to stay seated in their high chair, it should decrease the risk of choking as well. So, until your child’s feet can touch the floor from a regular chair, you need to offer some support under their feet. For older children that could be a little stool—or even a box—but something to support them.

So is a footplate really necessary? In our experience, absolutely.

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