A Booster Chair For Meals

A booster chair is an option at mealtimes for an older baby. Sometimes, an almost-two-year-old will reject the highchair, wanting to sit in a "big" dining chair like the rest of the family - but she's just not tall enough to reach the table in a regular chair. She needs a little boost!

It also can be easier for a toddler to get in and out of a booster on her own. (Two-year-olds, especially, are known fortheir insistence on doing things themselves!)

A booster chair takes up far less space than a highchair, either strapped in place on one of the dining chairs or put away in a cabinet when not in use.

You can also easily transport the booster anywhere - pop it into your car when going out to eat at a restaurant, or at a friend's house.

Choose a booster that straps onto a dining chair. (Restaurant-type boosters that just sit on the dining chair, without being secured, are not nearly as safe.)

The booster should have an adjustable strap that goes around the chair back, as well as an adjustable strap that circles under the dining chair.

The booster should also have a three-point harness for the baby (a waist strap and a between-the legs strap that attaches to it). This will keep the baby from sliding off of the chair and under the table.

Boosters that collapse or fold up can be extra space-saving and handy for car trips. However, this feature can sometimes make for harder clean-up after meals. If a booster has spaces that food can fall through, you may need to unstrap the booster from the dining chair frequently, just to clean up food that has fallen between the booster and the dining chair.

When you first set up the booster chair, check to make sure that the straps are adjusted for a snug fit so that the booster does not move, and make sure that the chair is stable and sturdy.

There are toddler chairs available that hook onto the table, without even the need for a dining chair. Use caution if you try one of these, and make sure that the table is absolutely sturdy. Currently, the Juvenile Products Manufacturers' Association (JPMA) certified products index states that only one manufacturer, Graco, produces a JPMA-certified hook-on booster chair.

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