High Chairs ... Keep It Simple

High chairs are items of baby furniture that will get heavy and sustained use. Of course safety is the most important consideration.

Choose a chair with a wide base. Older babies are very active and curious; they'll come up with outlandish tricks, like pushing their legs against the dining table and attempting to tip their own chairs backward, just to see what will happen!

Don't use a high chair that has only a waist belt. To make sure your baby does not slide out of the chair, there should be a between-the-legs strap attaching to the waist belt.

Some chairs even come with a five-point harness, with two shoulder straps attaching to the other straps. This setup can make it difficult for a toddler using a spoon to lean over a bowl of soup or cereal. However, it can also prevent an older baby from standing up and falling out of the chair. (With some toddlers, this feature can really be a lifesaver!)

There are chairs on the market that have reclining positions as well as upright positions. There is no need for this. Your baby should not be given solid food until he can sit up on his own.

Some chairs can be converted into a booster chair when the baby is ready; this handy feature can save you money.

Wooden high chairs are traditional and very nice-looking. They may have removable cushions that tie onto the seat or back.

Newer-style chairs may be made of metal or plastic or both. Often they are constructed with soft, padded seats and fabrics. Some of these models fold up for easy storage.

The Juvenile Product Manufacturers Association (JPMA) certifies chairs that meet or exceed voluntary industry safety standards.

JPMA lists the following manufacturers as having chairs which meet the safety specifications: Baby Trend, Chicco USA, Dorel Juvenile Group, Early Childhood Resources, Evenflo, Fisher-Price, Graco, J. Mason, Kolcraft, Peg Perego, Scandinavian Child, and Stokke. Check the JPMA certified product index for an up-to-the minute list of manufacturers of JPMA-certified high chairs.

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