The Ultimate Guide to High Chairs for Babies

a baby sitting upright in a high chair next to a table

Solid Starts in an independent organization that does not accept affiliate revenue or corporate kickbacks to review products. Any recommendations here are our own thoughts and opinions and free from conflict of interest.

Starting solids is often synonymous with buying or researching high chairs. Like many baby products, there are hundreds of high chair options on the market. This page explains what our licensed professionals consider the most important components, including safety, development, and swallowing, as well tips to help you choose the right high chair for your family.

Starting solids soon? Check out our guides on starting solids and our course video on infant rescue. Knowledge will bring confidence.

Do I need a high chair? Do babies really need high chairs?

Not necessarily. There are alternative ways to establish a safe eating environment for babies; however, a high chair with a totally upright seat and adjustable footplate is often the easiest way to make sure baby is in the proper and safe position for eating. Continue reading for what to look for in a high chair, and how to check baby’s sitting posture.

High Chair Alternatives

A high chair is a luxury for many families and often out of reach for purchasing. Although the safest place for a baby to eat is a supportive high chair, here are some ways to ensure baby is as safe as possible when starting solids:

Seated on a lap.

The easiest and free alternative to a high chair is having baby sit on an adult’s lap.

  • Position baby’s back snuggly against your body.
  • Always keep one arm around their waist.
  • Scoot your chair as close to the table as possible with baby facing the table.
  • Make sure baby is sitting high enough so that both of baby’s forearms rest comfortably on the table in front of them.
  • If the table is in line with their armpits, baby is too low. Try sitting on a pillow to boost yourself (and subsequently the baby) a bit higher in the chair. Avoid placing a pillow in your lap for baby to sit atop.
Maya, 5 months, sitting properly in dad’s lap.
baby sits in dad's lap while eating
Maya, 5 months, sitting properly in dad’s lap and facing the table.

In this position—with an adult arm around the baby’s waist and bottom planted firmly on the adult’s lap—the adult provides strong back support for upright sitting, as well as stability at the trunk and hips. Optionally, you can allow baby to straddle one thigh and let baby’s feet firmly plant on the chair.

Although this option can get messy for the adult, this ensures baby’s safety while exploring solid foods, no special chair needed. Keep in mind that babies are resilient. The photos below show how babies can be safe and successful in a variety of sitting positions.

Seated on the floor with support.

  • Positioning baby on the floor with support is another option when a high chair is unavailable.
  • This position is only appropriate if baby has excellent sitting balance and is strong enough to reach and grasp items and bring them to their mouth while in a supported seating position. Check out the pictures of Kildah (6 months) and Maeve (7 months) below for examples of suitable seating posture.
  • Optionally, offer a makeshift table on the floor. If baby’s knees are bent (like Maeve’s knees in the picture below), try a shoe box or small, flat item about 6-10 inches tall. If baby’s legs are straight (like Kildah’s below), try a small stool, tray, or stand with legs.
Baby sits upright on carpet in front of a couch.
Kildah, 6 months. The couch behind Kildah provides additional support for safety.
Baby sits upright with woman standing behind.
Maeve, 7 months. The caregiver behind Maeve offers extra balance support.

High Chair Positioning for Babies

Seating position is the most important thing to consider when baby is in a high chair. Proper positioning for feeding is crucial for swallowing safety. Additionally, seating position impacts a baby’s ability to use their arms and hands and chew.

Smiling baby sits in high chair
Maya, 5 months, demonstrates proper positioning in her high chair.

Proper positioning includes the following:

  • Shoulder and hip alignment: back should be completely straight, shoulders in line with hips
  • Bent knees with the ability to bear weight forward into the feet
  • Ability to reach with the arms/hands to easily reach food on the tray
  • Weight forward, pressing through the feet. This often creates about a 90-degree angle through the ankles, but rather than the angle, look for the postural position of the feet pressing into the footplate.
Maeve, 8 months, demonstrates proper positioning in her high chair.

Assessing high chair positioning

Look from the side to best assess baby’s position in a high chair. Even in a high chair marketed with a “completely upright seat,” assess the alignment of baby’s shoulders and hips to ensure they are truly upright.

  1. After you place baby in the high chair, walk to the side and look at where their shoulders are in relationship to their hips/pelvis.
  2. Correct positioning: If the shoulders are in line with the hips or slightly forward, indicating baby’s weight is centered over the hips or slightly forward.
  3. Incorrect or reclined positioning: If the shoulders are behind the hips, baby’s weight is behind them, and baby is reclined.
  4. Incorrect positioning: Baby is not developmentally strong enough to start solids if they frequently lose balance forward or are unable to lean forward and return to sitting without assistance. Check out the readiness page or our Starting Solids video course for more information.

Correct positioning is crucial for swallowing safety. When a baby is reclined—even slightly reclined—their weight is shifted backwards and gravity pulls in that direction. As such, when in a reclined position, food placed in the mouth is more likely to move backwards towards the throat as gravity pulls in that direction. The tongue is also impacted by this gravitational pull and can fall slightly backwards in the mouth and inhibit the tongue’s ability to control and manage the food.

When baby sits upright with shoulders directly above the hips or leaning slightly forward with weight bearing through the feet, gravity supports the tongue to move flexibly and better control the food in the mouth. In this position, food is more likely to move forward and out of the mouth.

Baby sits in a high chair
Maeve, 8 months, demonstrates proper positioning with the shoulders directly above the hips.
baby leans back in high chair
Maya, 5 months, leans backward and demonstrates poor positioning for feeding.
Nya, 6 months, leans over in a Nomi high chair. Nya is not yet ready for solids as her sitting is not stable enough.

Upright Seat vs. Reclining Baby High Chairs

Whatever high chair you choose should have a totally upright seat.

Many high chairs on the market have a recline feature for babies who can’t maintain upright sitting balance. If baby is unable to stay sitting tall when in an upright high chair, they are not ready for solid foods. (See Readiness for Solids.) Research in both typically developing and special needs populations shows that reclining a baby increases the risk for aspiration, liquid or food entering the lungs (causing respiratory infection), and middle ear infections.1

Most of the reclinable high chairs have full back and head support. Although this seems helpful, this amount of support isn’t necessary. Baby should be able to hold their head and neck upright independently when you start solid food. If the child is unable to hold their head and neck upright without reclining the chair, they are not ready for solid foods. Reclining the chair is unsafe for swallowing.

Reclining chairs for babies with special developmental needs or hypotonia

If baby has special developmental needs or hypotonia, a slightly reclined position may be safe to use while eating. Before using, it’s important to determining how much recline and if any additional lateral supports are necessary. Assessing positional safety will require the trained eyes of a pediatric feeding therapist or developmental specialist like a physical therapist. Do not explore solid foods without professional support if the child is unable to maintain their head and neck upright when not reclined.

Rather than a reclined seat, a chair with complete head and neck support may be key to safely introducing solids to babies with developmental delays. If the child has special developmental needs, work with a pediatric therapist—occupational (OT), physical (PT), or speech-language (SLP)—to determine the appropriate upright positioning device for your baby.

Modifying a high chair to better support baby

Safe seating in a high chair includes four elements:

  • Ability for baby to sit upright
  • Ability for baby to reach the tray (i.e., butt high enough in the seat)
  • Ability for baby to sit straight and in the middle of the seat
  • Ability to safely reach the footrest

Sitting upright

Assess baby’s position in the high chair like described above. If baby’s shoulders are behind their hips, you can help them shift their weight forward by placing a folded towel or blanket behind them in the chair—either near the pelvis or along baby’s entire back. You may need to adjust the tray to give them space to sit comfortably, but this small change in alignment puts them at a biomechanical advantage for eating safely.

Baby sits upright in high chair with towel behind her back.
Maya, 5 months, demonstrates proper positioning with a blanket roll supporting her back.
baby sits in high chair with towel roll
Maya, 5 months, demonstrates proper positioning supported by a lower pelvic towel roll.

Reaching the tray and sitting midline

If baby is losing their balance to one side or the other, check to make sure their butt is high enough in the chair. Many babies will gain upright stability with both forearms on the tray, and the tray aligned at belly height rather than nipple height. If the table or tray is in line with, or only slightly below baby’s armpits, they need a boost. Try placing a book underneath the butt to lift them up in the high chair. The tray or table should line up with their belly for the most biomechanical advantage for reaching and grasping.2

book on high chair seat
Placing a book in the high chair seat can give baby just enough boost to appropriately reach the table or tray.

If baby still struggles to hold themselves in the center despite this boost, consider waiting a week or so before starting solids while baby gets a bit stronger. Some parents use rolled towels or blankets next to baby’s hips in the chair to provide some lateral support to keep baby sitting in the center. However, if a ton of support is necessary, it’s best to wait for signs of readiness.

baby in a high chair with text explaining modifications for proper positioning
Juliana, 8 months, could use a few more adjustments to improve her positioning in this standard, high back, infant high chair.

Reaching the footrest

For baby to reach the footrest, they need to sit upright with their weight shifted forward, and the lower legs hanging, knees bent at 90 degrees. Before modifying the footrest, first assess baby’s upright sitting (see above). After making any modifications to encourage correct positioning, adjust the height of the footplate to meet baby’s feet. A pasta box, cardboard box, or book are often great options to raise the height. Keep in mind that the goal is for baby to weight bear into the footrest, so any addition to the footrest should be securely taped to the footrest/chair.

baby sits in high chair with a book under her feet
A book on the footplate helps Maya, 5 months, bear weight through her feet.

High chair too low, high chair too high

When assessing baby’s posture in the high chair, also consider their position in relation to the table or tray, as well as their feet on the footplate.

  • If the table/tray is too high, you’ll notice that baby has a hard time reaching and grasping food items.
  • If the table/tray is in line with, or only slightly below baby’s armpits, baby needs a boost. Try placing a book underneath their butt to lift them up in the high chair.
  • The tray/table should be lined up with their belly for the most effective reaching and grasping.3
baby in a high chair with towel behind her back and pasta box under her feet
Mila, 6 months, would benefit from a towel under her butt to raise her up in the seat.

Removable tray

Babies learn by watching and imitating what you do. They learn to eat the same way—babies need to watch you eat and participated in family mealtimes to learn how to eat. Using a high chair with a removable tray makes it easier to pull the chair up to the table and help develop the habit of family meals.

High chair safety harness or safety strap

High chair systems are equipped with straps or harness systems to make sure a child is safe and secure. An estimated 5,100+ infants are evaluated every year in emergency departments in the United States after falling from a highchair.4 Always use high chairs as the manufacturer recommends, including properly securing safety straps or harnesses, to keep your child safe and secure in their chair.

High chair harness systems are often three- or five-point, with a waist strap and pommel or crotch strap, as well as additional straps over the shoulders.

  • For young babies and new eaters, high chair harness straps are critical to ensuring the child is safe. At this age, high chair harness straps also assist in postural control, helping the child remain totally upright, and preventing falls when tired or overly wiggly and playful.
  • For older babies and toddlers, harness straps are no longer needed for postural control, and instead help corral an active young toddler. As toddlers learn to stand and climb, the strapping system helps keep the toddler in the chair, but this is also the time to consider transitioning to a more developmentally appropriate seating system. (See our Toddler High Chair Transitions guide.)

Does baby need a footrest on a high chair? Do I have to buy a high chair with a footrest?

The simple answer is no; however, a high chair with a footrest helps create the safest eating environment possible.

Baby should be sitting in a 90-90-90 position, which is therapy jargon referring to the ankles, knees, and hips at 90-degree angles. The child’s center of gravity or weight should be neutral or forward with feet firmly planted on the footplate.

A stable, adjustable footplate provides the best base for the rest of the body, allowing the chewing and swallowing muscles to do their job. The nerdy therapy phase is “what happens at the hips, happens at the lips.” This means, a stable core equals stable, thorough chewing. This 90-90-90 position provides the most stability for the head and neck while swallowing and enables the arms and hands to reach and grasp most effectively.5 6

When a child’s feet have nothing beneath them for support or if they just lightly touch the footplate, the child’s weight centers back on the butt. In this position, the pelvis is tilted backwards, reducing postural stability, and impacting the position of the body, neck, and head.7 A rear-tilting pelvis position also limits a child’s ability to use smaller muscles, such as their hands, lips, tongue, and jaw.8 Combined, this all leads to less control of the chewing and swallowing muscles.

In all, it’s much easier for a baby to reach and grasp food when their body is supported—and this starts with feet planted on a stable surface. Keep in mind, some babies eat fine without a supportive footplate, but for others, the additional effort of using more tummy and back muscles makes eating a bit too challenging to enjoy.

Baby sits at table
Beau, 7 months, sits with perfect posture for eating: his shoulders are in line with his hips, his knees are bent at a 90-degree angle, and he can put weight through his feet. This table is slightly high for him to reach, but functional.

How to add a footplate to a high chair

Currently own a high chair without a footrest, or baby can’t reach the footrest? Consider these ways to adjust the chair or environment to provide baby with a stable footrest to bear weight through their feet.

Footplate for multi seat or floor seat chairs

Two babies sit in seats on the floor
Adie & Max, 6 months, sit in booster chairs on the floor. Max’s chair positions his back better that Adie’s chair does.

When modifying a multi seat or floor seat chair, consider how much of baby’s thighs are supported by the chair and the position of the backrest. For example, in the photo above, both Max (left) and Adie (right) have most of their thighs and part of their calves supported by the chair. This sitting position, called long sit, tends to place a baby’s weight more backwards.

  • In this picture, Adie’s shoulders (right) are slightly behind her hips—sitting with her legs straight out in this position places most of her weight behind her.
  • In comparison, Max (left) is bringing his weight more forward, his shoulders are in front of his hips, and he is bearing weight through his arms on the tray. The upright, flat backrest of Max’s chair lends itself to better positioning for eating.

How to modify a multi seat or floor chair to gain a more ideal position for babies sitting similarly to Max and Adie in the photo above:

  • Try placing a textbook or other thick book on the floor below the feet.
  • Move the tray out and away from baby’s body.
  • Place a thick blanket or towel behind baby’s back, so the butt comes forward towards the edge of the seat and lets the knees come forward enough so the lower legs can hang and feet can bear weight on the book below.

Modifying footplates on high chairs with low, non-adjustable footrests

Have a high chair with a low, non-adjustable footrest? Secure a cardboard box to the footrest.

  • Support baby from the back to allow the knees to bend at 90 degrees—this might include a rolled-up towel or blanket to help straighten the back,
  • Duct tape a sturdy cardboard box to the existing footplate to make it high enough that baby’s feet can bear weight on it. Err on the side of “too high” as opposed to “too low.” A textbook can work just as well, but make sure it is secured to the footplate so it doesn’t slip when baby puts weight into the feet.
Baby in a high chair
Mila, 6 months, sits low in the chair and is unable to reach the footplate.
baby sits in high chair
Mila sits more upright with a towel roll behind her back and is able to reach the footplate with a pasta box secured to the chair footplate.

Footplates for fast table or table mount chairs

Using a high chair that allows the legs to hang like the Inglesina chair pictured below?

  • Support baby’s feet with a stool or chair positioned below baby.
  • If the legs and thighs are mostly supported by the base of the chair, place a towel or blanket roll behind baby to scoot them forward, so they can firmly plant their feet on the stool.
baby sits in Inglesina table chair
Maeve, 15 months, uses a bar stool for foot positioning with the Inglesina chair. This is an excellent adaptation for a footrest.

Footplate for Ikea Antilop high chair

The Ikea Antilop chair is a common favorite among parents as it’s easy to clean, inexpensive, and somewhat space saving. However, the Antilop lacks a footplate, features a 3-point harness, and the seat might be slightly large for younger or smaller babies.

  • Footplates for the Antilop are available for purchase by outside vendors. These additions attach to the legs and create a place for the feet to rest.
  • As with other chair modifications, ensure the child is sitting forward enough in the chair for their legs to bend and bear weight on the footplate. This is often accomplished with a rolled-up towel or blanket positioned behind the child.
Baby sits in high chair with blueberries on the tray
Hamilton, 17 months, rests his feet on a footplate attachment made by Yeah Baby Goods for the Ikea Antilop high chair, which lacks a footplate. Aftermarket footplates are available from outside vendors, including the one pictured here from Yeah Baby Goods.

Footplate additions to fit any high chair

There are some products on the market applicable to other high chairs not mentioned above or adjustable for any chair. These products often require posture adjustments to help move baby’s center of gravity forward and enable them to put weight through their feet.

Best high chairs for babies: Which high chair should I get?

Solid Starts is an independent organization and does not endorse any specific high chair brand or corporation, nor do we accept corporate kickbacks or affiliate revenue to review or push products. Any recommendations here are based on our professional opinion as occupational therapists. Any reviews here are our own thoughts and opinions and free from conflict of interest.

Best high chairs for baby-led weaning

The best baby-led weaning high chair options include four main components:

  • Totally upright seat (safety)
  • Adjustable footrest (safety)
  • Removable tray
  • Easy to clean

Although many chairs meet the above qualifications, a few chairs are superb options for baby-led weaning and easily convert to a developmentally appropriate toddler chair. Here’s our take on a few popular chairs.

Stokke Steps High Chair

This high chair is designed to grow with the child from infancy with an infant insert and into childhood. The Steps is a Scandinavian design with an effective adjustable footrest. This chair is light-weight, coming in around about 10lbs, making it easy to move around the home. The chair is completely upright for appropriate trunk, pelvic, and lower body alignment, and comes with a five-point harness system that accompanies the infant bucket seat. The Steps chair also positions baby quite forward with only the upper thigh on the seat, allowing the knees to appropriately bend, the lower legs to hang down, and the feet to weight bear on the footrest; however, the height and position of the footplate may pose difficulty for a taller baby—moving one step lower is too low, yet the footplate is a little too far back at the higher position and may cause baby’s feet to slide off the footrest. The tray is removable, and the chair easily pulls up to be flush with the family table. This chair looks more like a standard chair, and without the infant seat, can hold up to 187 lbs. Many vendors sell the tray and seat cushions separately.

Pros:

  • Excellent positioning
  • Easy to set up, adjust, and clean
  • Transitions into a fantastic toddler and older child chair

Cons:

  • Cost
  • Footprint is wide; you may trip over the legs at first
  • Footplate adjustment options are sometimes too high or too low

Stokke Tripp Trapp

The Stokke Tripp Trapp is a wooden high chair and comes with a large, fully height-adjustable footplate. This chair is designed to grow with the child from infancy with an infant insert and into childhood. This chair is sturdy, weighs about 15lbs, and has a completely upright seat for appropriate trunk, pelvic, and lower body alignment. The Tripp Trapp also includes a five-point harness system that accompanies the infant bucket seat. The seat depth is fully adjustable and, by moving the seat, you can make sure baby is positioned with their back against the seatback while allowing the knees to bend at 90 degrees. The tray is removable, and the chair easily pulls up to the family table. This chair looks more like a standard chair. The chair without the infant insert can hold up to 242lbs. For some smaller babies, the infant bucket seat is still a bit big, and there is a lot of room for a baby to lean from side to side, especially with the tray removed. The harness is complicated to adjust and fit.

Pros:

  • Excellent positioning and sturdy
  • Transitions into a good toddler chair
  • Looks like a standard dining chair

Cons:

  • Set up and adjustments aren’t simple
  • Straps are difficult to adjust
  • Food gets stuck in many little corners and indentations
  • Cost

Nomi High Chair

This high chair is made to grow with the child from infancy with an infant insert and into childhood. With a significantly smaller seat and a base that often must be tightened to keep stable, the Nomi is less sturdy than other chairs on the market. The chair itself weighs about 13lbs and has a fairly large footprint. What it lacks in sturdiness, Nomi makes up for in a fully height-adjustable footplate, which easily slides up and down to meet baby’s feet. The chair offers excellent positioning, with a completely upright seat for appropriate trunk, pelvic, and lower body alignment. The five-point harness system is complicated and takes some practice to learn how to clip. However, unlike the Stokke chairs, the harness is still usable when the infant bucket attachment is removed, which can be beneficial for toddlers slowly transitioning to sit without the safety supports. The tray is removable, and the chair easily pulls up to the family table. For some smaller babies, the infant bucket seat is still a bit big with room for a baby to lean from side to side, especially with the tray removed. This chair without the infant insert can hold up to 330lbs.

Pros:

  • Excellent positioning
  • Easy to clean (with the exception of fabric straps)
  • Transitions into a good toddler chair while continuing to use the straps.
  • Straps are easy to adjust

Cons:

  • Cost
  • Seat is a bit narrow and young toddlers may fall off when straps are not used
  • Screws on foot stand can come loose and the chair is sometimes wobbly
  • Harness clips somewhat difficult to close, but offer quick release

Dream on Me Nibble 2-in-1 Highchair

This chair has wooden legs and a stable plastic seatback with removable colorful seat covers. It weighs about 13lbs and includes a five-point safety harness. It features a smaller, four-position adjustable footrest, which works well for an older or taller infant and toddler but is often not high enough for many young infants. With a blanket roll for additional support along baby’s back, baby may be able to sit forward enough in the chair to allow the knees to bend adequately. The footplate is the right size for a lasagna or spaghetti box to sit on top and raise the height of the footplate until baby is able to reach it independently. The seat is completely upright, and slightly higher profile than the Stokke and Nomi chairs. Once turned into a toddler chair, the seat is very low profile, and looks more like a stool, which can hold up to 55lbs. The tray is removable, and the chair easily pulls up to the family table.

Pros:

  • Fairly good positioning, but requires some modifications for younger or smaller infants
  • Easy to wipe down
  • Transitions into a toddler stool

Cons:

  • Footplate is smaller and not fully adjustable
  • Shoulder pads are not removable and a little bulky for young babies
  • Toddler stool is less supportive than other transitional high chairs

Lalo the Chair

Lalo the Chair has wooden legs and a plastic seatback with removable colorful seat covers. It’s very light-weight at roughly 10lbs and includes a five-point safety harness. The footrest is not fully height-adjustable, which may work fine for an older/taller infant and toddler, but it’s often not high enough for most infants. It is small, so a pasta box may be just enough to bring up the footplate height for a smaller baby. The seat is upright, and slightly higher profile than the Stokke and Nomi chairs, with a machine washable cushion. Baby may need a back support with a towel or blanket roll to sit completely upright in this chair. The tray is removable, and the chair easily pulls up to the family table. The chair converts to a low child play chair and can hold up to 200lbs.

Pros:

  • Removable tray and pulls up to the table
  • Transitions into a toddler chair and toddler play chair

Cons:

  • Footplate not fully adjustable and smaller
  • Difficult to remove tray
  • Most babies will initially need postural support (towel or blanket roll) behind them

Skip Hop EON 4-In-1 High Chair

This chair has wooden legs and plastic seatback with removable five-point safety harness. This chair weighs about 12lbs. The footrest is adjustable, but only to two heights, which may work fine for an older or taller infant and toddler, but likely not high enough for many infants. The infant insert is slightly big for smaller babies. The seatback is slightly reclined—for many older infants and toddlers, this is unlikely affect pelvic alignment, but a young infant will likely need a blanket or towel roll to help baby sit completely upright with the shoulders in line with, or in front of the hips. The tray is removable. This chair also converts to a low child play chair, and rated to hold up to 80lbs.

Pros:

  • Easy to wipe down
  • Transitions into a booster seat and toddler chair
  • Straps can be used without the infant insert

Cons:

  • Seat is slightly reclined, and most babies will initially need postural support (blanket roll) behind them
  • Footplate not fully adjustable and smaller
  • May be too tall when pulled up to a standard-height dining table

Reviews: Space saving high chairs and high chairs for table tops

Various chairs on the market are made for small spaces, some of which are suitable for the floor, on a regular dining chair like a booster seat, or on a countertop. Here we outline some of the most popular space saving high chairs. Keep in mind that these chairs lack some crucial safety components for starting finger foods. Please read the sections above for how to modify chairs for safety.

Summer Deluxe Comfort Folding Booster Seat

This low-cost high chair is another popular option for families with small spaces. It comes with a three-point safety harness, removable tray, machine washable seat cover, and transitions into a booster seat. The seatback is completely upright. A baby’s knees tend to lay straight, supported by the seat of the chair, and there is no footrest. The max weight for this chair is 33lbs. This chair also folds up and is completely portable.

Pros:

  • Upright seat
  • Inexpensive
  • Small
  • Portable

Cons:

  • No footrest; requires modifications to get baby to weight bear through the feet
  • Low seat; difficult for some babies to reach the tray, requiring a towel or blanket to boost height

Fisher-Price SpaceSaver Adjustable High Chair

This low-cost high chair is a popular option for families with small spaces. Unfortunately, the seatback is slightly reclined, even when adjusted to the most upright position. It comes with a five-point safety harness, removable tray, machine washable seat cover, and transitions into a booster seat. A baby’s knees tend to lay straight, supported by the seat of the chair, and there is no footrest. The max weight for this chair is 50lbs.

Pros:

  • Inexpensive
  • Small
  • Portable

Cons:

  • Seat not completely upright, baby’s position not ideal for efficient chewing and safe swallowing
  • No footrest and no easy way to position feet for weight-bearing, especially for small babies
  • May be too small to bring baby to the table on a dining chair (too low for the table)

Fisher-Price Healthy Care Booster Seat & Safety 1st Sit, Snack & Go Booster Seat

These low-cost chairs are another popular option for families with small spaces. They come with a three-point safety harness, removable trays, and transition into booster seats.  The Fisher Price seat has three trays. The seatbacks are completely upright. The Safety 1st seatback is smaller and less supportive. A baby’s knees tend to lay straight, supported by the seat of the chair, and there is no footrest. The max weight for these chairs is 50lbs. The Fisher Price chair folds up and can be carried like a bag. The Safety 1st seat has two levels of booster height.

Pros:

  • Inexpensive
  • Small
  • Portable
  • Upright seat

Cons:

  • No footrest, requires modifications to get baby to weight bear through the feet
  • Only three-point harness

Ingenuity Baby Base 2-in-1 Booster Feeding and Floor Seat with Self-Storing Tray & Bumbo Multi Seat

These low-cost seats are popular chairs and commonly used as infant positioning devices. They come with a three-point safety harness, a removable tray, and transition into booster seats. The seatbacks are upright but curved. The seat is a bucket seat and baby’s bottom may sit lower than their thighs and knees, which is not ideal for sitting posture. There is no footrest. The max weight for the Ingenuity chair is 50lbs and Bumbo is 30lbs.

Pros:

  • Inexpensive
  • Small
  • Portable

Cons:

  • No footrest, requires modifications to get baby to weight bear through the feet (including back support)
  • Only three-point harness
  • Bucket seat can put baby in improper pelvic alignment which is not ideal for chewing and swallowing

Inglesina Fast Table Chair

This popular travel high chair hangs from a table or countertop, and is commonly used when eating out. It has a three-point harness, removable tray table, and firm plastic seat. It is fabric covered and hand-washable. The seat is large enough for a toddler but provides too much room to support good postural stability for many small babies. There is no footrest, but the Inglesina can hang over another chair to use for bearing weight through the feet. The max weight for this chair is 37lbs.

Pros:

  • Very portable, easy to use for travel
  • Great for small spaces, can be used with an existing table or countertop

Cons:

  • No footrest and poor postural support, especially for smaller babies
  • Difficult to clean
  • Should only be used on strong, reliable table or countertop

Review: High Chairs for Small Spaces

These standard high chairs all feature the ability to fold up and easily store in a small apartment or home when not in use. These chairs all lack the safety features for fully upright positioning and foot support and are not developmentally appropriate for toddlers.

Joovy Nook NB High Chair Compact Fold Reclinable Seat

This chair is a more traditional design with a high, padded reclining seatback. It comes with a five-point harness. There is a small footrest, which is not adjustable and not high enough for most babies and young toddlers to reach. The tray easily swings open, but is slightly more difficult to fully remove. The chair has front wheels for easy moving, but this does decrease the overall stability of the chair. The chair folds up into a thin rectangle shape, weighing 15lbs. The max weight for this chair is 50lbs.

Pros:

  • Easy to store when not in use
  • Five-point harness for safety
  • Wipeable seat cover

Cons:

  • Reclining seatback; although it adjusts to upright, it does not support proper alignment of baby’s pelvis and shoulders
  • Footrest is entirely too low and small, requires modification for baby to reach
  • Easy to rock and can be unsteady for older infants and toddlers

Baby Jogger City Bistro High Chair

This chair is a favorite for families looking for an easy fold option. This traditional, high seatback chair comes with a five-point harness and washable seat cover, as well as four-level adjustable seat height. The footrest is very small and low, which makes it difficult for an infant or small toddler to reach the footplate. Baby sits in a slightly reclined position with most of the upper leg supported by the seat. The tray is removable. It is easily collapsible/foldable into a small rectangle to easily store in a very small space. Max weight for this chair is 40lbs.

Pros:

  • Quick, simple fold design
  • Adjustable seat height

Cons:

  • Seatback does not provide appropriate positioning for total upright posture and bent knees.
  • Footplate not usable without modification
  • Cloth seat cover is difficult to clean, with a lot of crevices to build up gunk

Graco Slim Spaces Highchair & Evenflo Symmetry Fold-Flat High Chair

These chairs are similar to the Baby Jogger Bistro, and also have an easy fold option. These traditional, high seatback chair come with both three- and five-point harness options and washable seat covers. These chairs are on wheels and feature very small, low footrests which are difficult for an infant or small toddler to reach. The Graco chair has a leg rest that is designed to facilitate bending the knees at 90 degrees or more. These chairs are reclinable. With the Graco chair, the large tray is removable, but a small snack tray remains, so this chair cannot be pulled up to the table. The Evenflow tray is fully removable. These chairs are easily collapsible/foldable and can be stored in a very small space. Max weight for these chairs is 40lbs.

Pros:

  • Quick, simple fold design
  • Easy to move around the home

Cons:

  • Seatback does not provide appropriate positioning for total upright posture and despite leg rests, it is difficult for the knees to truly bend at 90 degrees
  • Footplate not usable without modification
  • Graco is not able to pull up to the table to join the family meal
  • Can be unstable with the wheels

Cosco Simple Fold Deluxe High Chair & Safety 1st 3-In-1 Grow And Go High Chair

These chairs are similar to the Graco Slim Spaces, and also have easy fold options. Both chairs are traditional, high seatback chair with washable seat covers. The Cosco Simple Fold has a three-point harness while the Grow and Go chair has a five-point harness. The footrests are very small and low, making it difficult for an infant or small toddler to reach. Baby sits in a slightly reclined position with most of the upper leg supported by the seat. The large tray is removable. Both chairs are easily collapsible/foldable, and can be stored in a very small space. Max weight for both chairs is 50lbs.

Pros:

  • Quick, simple fold design
  • Very affordable

Cons:

  • Seatback does not provide appropriate positioning for total upright posture and it is difficult for the knees to be bent at 90 degrees.
  • Footplate not usable without modification
  • Somewhat unsturdy, easy to rock for a bigger, stronger infant or toddler

Affordable high chairs for babies

Of the high chairs on the market, the following offer satisfactory positioning and are less expensive:

  • Used Stokke Tripp Trapp, Nomi Chair, Stokke Steps*
  • Ikea Antilop with added footrest
  • Fisher-Price Healthy Care Booster Seat positioned with feet flat on the floor or chair
  • Safety 1st Sit, Snack & Go Feeding Booster Seat positioned with feet flat on the floor or chair

*Check out used or preloved chairs at Hello Markid, Good Buy Gear, eBay, Facebook, Craigslist, and BuyBuy Baby.

Adjustable high chair options: High chairs that grow with baby

Of the high chairs on the market, the following offer satisfactory positioning and grow with the baby:

  • Stokke Tripp Trapp
  • Stokke Stepps
  • Nomi
  • Dream on Me Nibble 2 in 1 Highchair
  • Lalo the chair
  • Skip Hop EON 4-In-1 High Chair

Portable/travel high chairs for babies

Of the portable/travel high chairs for babies, the following meet satisfactory positioning and can collapse or are small enough to travel:

  • Inglesina chair with feet planted on a stool or chair
  • Fisher-Price Healthy Care Booster Seat with feet planted on the floor or on chair

Easy to clean high chair options

Of the chairs listed above, these five are the easiest to clean:

  • Nomi
  • Stokke Steps
  • Ikea Antilop
  • Lalo the Chair
  • Fisher-Price SpaceSaver

How to Make an Old High Chair Safe?

Old or vintage high chairs may be fine as is depending on the type, or may need some modifications to get baby in proper positioning. Here are some common adjustments often needed for old or vintage high chairs.

baby sits in a high chair eating noodles
Maeve, 13 months, sits in an older high chair with a cushion behind her back and under her butt to support proper positioning. A box secured to the footrest would help provide support beneath her feet.
  • Seat size: Many vintage chairs have a very large seat, without any strapping system or harness. A small baby or one who is still slightly unsteady in sitting will need additional support to sit upright and stay upright.
  • An older baby or toddler, like Maeve (13 months) above, can likely sit without much additional support. However, if baby is unable to sit strong, consider using towel or blanket rolls next to baby on each side to keep them sitting safely.
  • Additionally, old high chairs might require adjustments to height of the footplate. Use the footplate adjustments discussed above.

Ready to get started? Read our safety tips and view our guides on Starting Solids.

Solid Starts does not endorse or recommend the use of any particular high chair or similar product. The opinions expressed about high chairs or similar products are not intended to be an endorsement of any high chair or an instruction on how to use or maintain any high chair. Your use of any particular high chair, including but not limited to the positioning of your child in a high chair, is your responsibility. Solid Starts and its owners, members, and employees are not liable or responsible for any loss, injury, or damage arising from your or your family’s use of a high chair.  

  1. Avital, A., Donchin, M., Springer, C., Cohen, S., & Danino, E. (2018). Feeding young infants with their head in upright position reduces respiratory and ear morbidity. Scientific Reports, 8(1). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-24636-0
  2. Chaffin, D. B., Martin, B. J., Andersson, G. B. J. (2006). Occupational biomechanics. United Kingdom: Wiley.
  3. Chaffin, D. B., Martin, B. J., Andersson, G. B. J. (2006). Occupational biomechanics. United Kingdom: Wiley.
  4. Consumer Product Safety Commission. (2021) National Electronic Injury Surveillance System 2001-2020. NEISS Online Database. https://www.cpsc.gov/cgibin/NEISSQuery/home.aspx
  5. Ertekin, C., Keskin, A., Kiylioglu, N., Kirazli, Y., On, A. Y., Tarlaci, S., & Aydoğdu, I. (2001). The effect of head and neck positions on oropharyngeal swallowing: a clinical and electrophysiologic study. Archives of physical medicine and rehabilitation82(9), 1255–1260. https://doi.org/10.1053/apmr.2001.25156
  6. Chaffin, D. B., Martin, B. J., Andersson, G. B. J. (2006). Occupational biomechanics. United Kingdom: Wiley.
  7. Chaffin, D. B., Martin, B. J., Andersson, G. B. J. (2006). Occupational biomechanics. United Kingdom: Wiley.
  8. Chaffin, D. B., Martin, B. J., Andersson, G. B. J. (2006). Occupational biomechanics. United Kingdom: Wiley.
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