Having a kid or kids is a sure way to lead to a cluttered, messy home as the amount of baby gear that’s needed to make your life easier and their lives safer is, well, a lot!
Changing materials, cribs, bassinets, toys and rock n plays are all items of baby gear that most parents will have around the home, and in many cases, there’s just not enough storage space for them all.
Some of them are used on a daily basis, and so it wouldn’t be worth putting them away all the time anyway.
This is where we look for the compact and portable alternatives to the baby gear we need and in the case of high chairs, both high chair booster seats and hook on high chairs make for an easy, affordable and portable solution.
What is a High Chair Booster Seat?
Instead of having a bulky high chair standing by your kitchen or dining room table which poses a potential tripping hazard and turns the room into an obstacle course!
High chair booster seats aim to save space by converting one of your dining chairs into a baby high chair! They resemble a car booster seat, except they typically have a dining tray attached for your baby to eat on and they have facilities to securely fasten the seat to a dining chair from the bottom.
Some can be quite bulky and are for younger children who are just starting to use a high chair, they have extra padding to keep the back and head supported and give the child an extra boost so that they can reach onto the table.
Others are more minimalistic and are better suited for children who are older than 12 months. They usually don’t have a tray or a back, have less padding and fewer restraints so the child has more freedom to move and use the dining table as the rest of the family do.
The best high chair booster seat for you is going to depend on a variety of factors such as the age and size of your child, their ability to sit upright, the height of your table and type of chairs you have.
High Chair or Booster Seat?
High chairs are usually quite large and bulky and have either have protruding legs that can be tripped over or a central stand with a wide base to give it stability.
Either way, they can take up a lot of room, especially if your kitchen/dining room is fairly small.
A booster seat can be placed on the dining room chair and take up no more space than the chair takes up, and can be tucked under the table or easily stored away. The problem with most booster seats is they lack the security and support that the younger babies who can’t sit upright on their own.
This is where a high chair booster seat comes in, it’s a hybrid between the two. While it does sacrifice some of the portability that is inherent in a booster seat, it does offer a lot more value.
Why? Because they can be used in the early ages, allowing your child to join the family at the dinner table form about 6 months onward, and can also then be used as they grow and can support themselves past 12 months.
Best High Chair Booster Seats Reviewed
#1 Fisher-Price SpaceSaver High Chair
The reason this high chair booster seat has the number one spot is that it is versatile and can be used by your baby as they grow. This makes it great value for your money.
It’s extremely well made with the mainframe being a hard, durable plastic that has a functional design as it readily fits onto most standard dining chairs. It has fastened on the bottom and back to secure the seat tightly to the dining chair.
The padding is comprised of nano-tex fabric making it resistant to general wear and tear and is conveniently machine washable. It’s also handy that you can convert the 5 point harness into a 3 point harness to suit your baby as they grow.
The dining tray that’s included is detachable, has a cup holder and a carrying handle which can double up as an easy to reach ring which you can hang bibs and other accessories for quick access. It’s also conveniently dishwasher safe!
The chair is highly functional, allowing you to choose between three different recline positions for comfort with the tray staying level at all times. You also have the option to adjust the height too.
On top of all of those features, you can also completely remove the padding, tray and back of the seat to transform it into a booster seat for when your child no longer needs all of the support. This seat can truly be used all the way through your child’s early years of life and has a hefty maximum weight limit of 50lbs to boot!
The only downside really is quite minor, when your baby moves onto solid foods, it’s very easy for the food to fall into the crevices at either side of the little one.
This would be fine but the seat cover is not great for being wiped down and so its needs washing often. It’s very secure and so takes a little effort to remove to put in the wash.
#2 Fisher-Price Healthy Care Booster Seat
If you are looking for something a bit more compact, sleek and without all the padding but is still functional as a high chair for young babies then you’ll need to look no further than the Healthy Care Booster Seat.
Just like the space saver high chair, it easily attaches onto most dining chairs via the back and bottom straps. The whole chair is made from plastic and so it might be slightly uncomfortable unless you use separate high chair pads.
Nevertheless, this means that it is easy to clean as all you have to do is wipe it down with a cleaning cloth. No problems with stains, mold or frayed fabric. The tray is detachable and dishwasher safe.
A cool feature of this booster seat is that the tray has a mid-section which has a cup holder built-in, and it has a lid which snaps over the top to keep it all clean and can be easily carried around. The whole seat, in fact, is highly portable and easy to fold and take with you when you’re on the go.
#3 Chicco Pocket Snack Booster Seat
The Chico high chair booster seat is an awesome option for parents who want portability and ease of use. It conveniently folds down with the click of a button and can be carried under your shoulder with a strap!
Whether folder or extended, it is an extremely compact seat whilst still offering decent back and neck support for your child. But being complete plastic, it’s not the most comfortable it could be without some padding added onto it.
With that being said, this product is only to be used with children who can fully sit up by themselves without needing total support. It has a maximum weight limit of 50lbs.
You can either fasten it to a dining chair or have it as a free-standing chair on its own as it comes with some handy, extendable metal legs that can be adjusted to three different heights and have slip-proof feet.
The tray can also be adjusted into three different positions, so you can adjust the whole chair to suit your baby’s height and ability to reach or removed completely if you like them to use the table.
What’s more, is that it looks sleek and modern and is available in three different colors for you to choose from.
#4 Ingenuity SmartClean Toddler Booster Seat
If it’s simplicity that you’re looking for, without a doubt, the Ingenuity Smart Clean is the best high chair booster seat that you could ask for. Simplicity is a good thing, there are no cracks and crevices for food to get lost in and for stains to cling to. No, being simple means that the seat is super easy to clean, it only needs to be wiped down. The only complex feature this seat has are the safety straps, but even they are easy to remove and wash, as and when you need to.
Many child products also like to blind you with color, and some people would prefer them not to. It can ruin the color scheme of a room and just look out of place, even sometimes distracting while others are trying to eat. Even though gray can be quite bland to some, others see it as a nice neutral color to fit with the rest of the room. But there are also three other soft color options to chose from, including blue, red and green.
Furthermore, the sleek simplicity of this seat combined with its light weight makes it a great booster seat for traveling. The bulky design of other high chair booster seat models can be difficult to take into restaurants or even fit into the car. This is made even worse when you’re on vacation and you haven’t got many other choices, especially when the restaurant has no high chairs to offer. Just having one of the best high chair booster seat models for traveling on hand is your best option to avoid these situations altogether.
Are there downsides to this seat? Of course, there are, it does sacrifice functionality for simplicity in some ways. For example, it doesn’t have great back support, or much back support at all for that matter. This can make it a difficult seat for younger children to use. But with that being said, this seat isn’t meant for younger children who can’t yet fully support themselves for extended periods of time, as it’s pretty low down and doesn’t offer a very big boost!
#5 The First Years On-The-Go Booster Seat
Another one of the best high chair booster seats for travel is offered by Firs Years, as their on the go booster seat is perfect for when you’re out on vacation, on a family trip, or just tend to travel around often.
The main benefit of this booster seat is that it is completely collapsible and can be folded down so that it’s pretty flat. Once folded away, it makes into a nifty little bag, that enables you to carry the chair where ever you need it and will have no trouble fitting into a larger bag or your car.
How is it able to keep its shape when folded out? It’s inflatable, so to unfold, you just have to pull a cord and it self inflates into shape to make a fairly rigid booster seat. It does hold up pretty well but, like the previous booster seat mentioned here, it’s still not got that full back support that a young infant would require and so is only recommended for children 9 months or older.
Even though it lacks full support it is pretty secure in terms of safety. There are two straps that you can use to fasten the seat to the bottom and back of the chair that it will be placed on. The T-restraint keeps your child in place.
What Makes the Best High Chair Booster Seat?
There are many factors that come into the choice of which is the best high chair booster seat for you, some are subjective and some are reflections of the quality of the product.
Subjective factors include characteristics like the look and style of the chair, and whether or not you plan on using in permanently in the home or just for when you are out and about. Deciding on what’s the best and most useful for you in your circumstances is mostly up to you.
The factors which reflect on the high chairs overall quality also give us an idea of how they are worth our money. As some may be more expensive than others does this mean the most expensive is the highest quality? Or do the qualities barely vary and the most affordable option is, therefore, the best value for money?
The answer is somewhere in between those questions, we want the best quality we can get at a reasonable price. A good way to determine this is to consider the following factors:
The materials that go into making the chair and the resistance of any moving parts to damage determines whether or not the chair has a decent enough lifespan to last you throughout your babies early childhood and then even possibly be used again or handed down.
This involves ensuring that the restraint clips are strong enough to not become damaged over time by being made from a thick durable plastic rather than a thin, brittle plastic. It’s also better when the straps of the restraints are thick and resistant to fraying because any weakness in the restraint system is a risk and would mean the chair is useless until the restraints are replaced.
Fabric seat covers are comfortable but they do tend to suffer wear and tear unless they have a protective hard coating or made from heavy duty materials. It’s quite hard to avoid a mess with a baby but stain resistant fabrics help the seats longevity.
Security is important, especially for children who are just beginning to sit upright but are not quite there yet. In this case, a 5 point harness is most important, alongside a passive leg restraint which stops them from falling through the bottom of the chair.
As they get bigger, and more able to stabilize themselves, 3 point harness are more appropriate to allow them to move freely but still prevent them from falling out of the chair. If you see any high chairs without any restraints, you shouldn’t purchase it at all.
Ease of Use
Ideally, the chair is easy to get set up, and for those who like the option of portability, easy to fold up again to be taken from place to place. Especially for those who like to eat out with their child at restaurants, it just makes the process a whole lot easier just in case the restaurant has no high chairs available.
Ease of use also covers ease to clean, and by fat the seats without padding and are made entirely out of plastic are the easiest to clean. They simply require to be wiped down. However, if there is any fabrics it should at least be machine washable to make your life that bit more convenient.
Do I need a high chair?
It’s not absolutely necessary to have a higher chair when you have a young baby, booster seat or high chair booster seat, it depends on your circumstances. If you want your little one to eat up at the adult-sized dining table, you are going to need some type of high chair otherwise they are not going to be able to reach the table, and they won’t be in a very secure position. A chair may not seem very high, but for an infant, a fall from an adult-sized, particularly onto a hard floor, can be dangerous.
When a child starts to approach 9 months old, you are going to need a high chair or booster seat as they will no longer be suited to sitting in a baby feeding chair. Your other alternative is to purchase a children’s dining set but that would only serve to ostracize them and make them feel like an outsider of the family. That’s the exact reason why some parents prefer to have a high chair or booster seat early on, to get their child engaged in family life.
So in summary, before 9 months old, it’s really a preference but a child will need to start eating up at the dining table at some point so that they can begin to learn table manners and start to engage with the family more at meal times.