Of all the things on your baby list, a portable high chair may not have made the cut. We get it. You already have a high chair at home, and you plan to use your car seat and a restaurant’s high chair when you go out.
If that’s your thinking, we’re here to encourage you to consider things differently. One of the most significant factors in a successful outing is having the right tools — ones that streamline keeping your child safe, happy, and healthy.
A portable high chair can be a handy tool. If you don’t have one already, here are five compelling reasons to put one on your registry or pick one up before your next outing. Plus, we’ve answered a few questions about how to choose. Let’s take a look.
Other high chairs may be dirty
Every time you go to a restaurant, you feel like you have to wipe down every nook and cranny of that high chair before your child ever touches the seat. And what does your child immediately do? Probably lick the railing. Restaurant high chairs aren’t clean, and that may give you nightmares.
Restaurant high chairs have had many, many (manymany) children in them and restaurants may try to clean up between their tiniest guests, but let’s face it. They’re doing their best to clean the table between parties. With your high chair, you know that you’ve got a clean, sanitized space for your child.
If you visit friends or family that have a high chair, it may have been in storage – and put away dirty. At least you know yours is clean!
‘Strange’ high chairs may not be safe
Restaurant high chairs cater to older children, ones that can hold themselves and potentially even climb down on their own. They do have adjustable straps, but there isn’t much you can do to adjust if your child is much smaller than average. Plus, they may not be up to current regulations.
If you have a baby, many restaurants flip their high chairs over to accommodate a car seat, but this puts your baby right in the way of passing guests. If that gives you anxiety, you aren’t alone. And who knows how old or well-cared-for a high chair at a friend or relatives’ house is.
A portable high chair adjusts much the way your high chair at home does. They have removable trays for a variety of situations, and you can put it right on the seat with you to avoid passing traffic.
Restaurants may not have high chairs at all
Restaurants can’t store a million different high chairs, so during peak dining, you may not have access to a high chair at all. Having your own high chair allows you the freedom to dine without any unpleasant surprises — like trying to keep your toddler in the booth seat with you or, worse, holding them in your lap in a regular chair.
Portable high chairs go anywhere
We’ve talked a lot about restaurants, but what about other places? Having dinner at grandma’s house can be a wild ride if you don’t have a place for your toddler to sit.
Even if the grandparents are willing to have a high chair at their house for you to use, you can’t ask everyone in your life to buy and store baby things to make your visits more comfortable. A portable high chair can go anywhere from your best friend’s house to that hotel with you on your family trip. You can even get camping high chairs to keep your child safe during mealtimes in the great outdoors.
Portable high chairs save space in your own home
If you’re dealing with small spaces in your own living space — apartment and condo dwellers, listen up — a portable high chair could even replace your standard high chair in your home. You won’t have to move your dining area around to accommodate the full spread of a standard high chair, and you can move it around with you as you decide to eat, from your living room to the bedroom. All it needs is a standard, nonfolding chair.
Choosing the right portable high chair
There are a few things you should consider when you’re choosing your portable high chair. You have the choice of a few different styles depending on your situation.
- Booster seat – typically made of plastic and designed to clamp onto an existing chair with straps and may or may not come with an attachable tray.
- Foldable chairs – often use cloth seats and frequently make camping and outdoor trips much easier by folding like a camping chair.
- Clamp-on chairs – use strong, reliable arms to clamp onto the table or counter, but they can’t be used if the table isn’t secured to the floor.
- Cloth attachment – uses a cloth design to wrap around an existing chair to prevent falls and secure children, but uses no seat booster.
When you’re making your decision, ask yourself a few questions to narrow it down.
- How old is my child? – Older children may not need anything more than a cloth harness, but if you’re starting from the infant stage, a full booster seat with tray and an adjustable back allows you lots of use.
- Where am I going? – Restaurant use exclusively may require nothing more than a clamp-on chair, but a full booster could accommodate a variety of locations and settings. Likewise, outdoor life would be more comfortable with a folding chair.
- Is my choice safe? – You want to protect your child, so look at the option you’ve chosen through the lens of your child’s age and your destinations. Can you secure your child completely, and will the location accommodate the option you’ve chosen?
- How easy is it to clean? – Make sure you can take your high chair apart the way you need to so that you can keep it clean. If it’s too complicated, you may not do it as often as you need to.
Making mealtimes fun again
Taking a child out is a lot of work, but spending time with family is priceless. With the right tools that work for you and not against you, you can make your trips out less stressful and get back to doing what you love — being together as a family.
A portable high chair has so much potential, and if it’s not on your list, it deserves a second look. Choose a style that fits your life and your goals, and you’ll be well on your way to having more relaxed mealtimes — at least in the chair department. It’s time to level up your outings.
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