Are High Chairs Necessary?

As a new parent, you may be overwhelmed with the number of things “they” say you must have to care for your baby.

While there’s no getting around raising little humans without cost, there may be some items you can live without. Is the high chair one of those items?

There are many reasons to consider not having a high chair. It could be a matter of:

  • Space and Storage.
  • Cost.
  • Versatility.
  • Ease of cleaning.
  • Safety.

The core of the matter is while a traditional high chair may not be right for you, your baby does need a place to eat. High chairs can be a convenient way to provide that.

Keep reading to find out what you should think about before deciding if a high chair will be necessary for your family, or a waste of money.

1. How Safe Is It?

Of course, the most important thing when it comes to your baby is safety. This applies even in feeding – don’t rely on a seat not designed for feeding and compromise on safety.

Though it may seem easier to use something like a swing, bouncy chair or bumbo seat at the table, the risk and safety dangers aren’t worth it.

Regarding safety, here is what you should look for in any high chair option you go with:

  • Adjustable safety straps (three or five-point harness ideally).
  • Safe latches and closures.
  • Adjustable seat heights.
  • A crotch post.
  • No rough edges or exposed hinges.
  • Wide stable base.
  • Wheel locks (if it has wheels).

I highly recommend checking out our guide to high chair safety to ensure you choose a safe option for baby.

2. Do You Have Space?

One of the biggest downfalls of the traditional high chair is how much space it takes up. Even worse if it’s a full-size model with a tray which reclines and has a variety of other features.

If you’re willing to compromise on features such as reclining or having a tray, there are certainly other options available. You could choose to use a booster seat strapped to a regular kitchen chair, so you can remove it as needed.

One of the first things to decide is whether you want to have a separate tray for baby to eat off, or want them right at the table with the rest of the family. Trust me when I say there will be a mess either way, so it just depends whether you want to clean the same surface or a separate surface.

I did not find the reclining feature to be necessary and preferred to have the youngest member of the family seated right at the regular table for meals, so I chose a space-saving option without these features.

3. Can I Afford A High Chair?

High chairs can be one of the biggest ticket items for your baby, right up there with a stroller, crib, and car seat. Given the limited amount of time your baby will use the high chair for, it is tempting for parents to opt for something lower priced instead.

Of course, just holding your baby on your lap is always an option but it impedes mom or dad’s ability to eat and can lead to more of a mess.

Similar to the issue of saving space, the portable high chair/travel booster seat is an excellent option as they are usually just a fraction of the cost. They are also more versatile as they can be used when you visit restaurants or friend’s houses, and often useful up to age 3 and beyond.

This option from Fisher Price is fantastic, and I’ve used it with my children primarily at restaurants. Still, it would be suitable for daily use at home as well!

4. How Versatile Is The High Chair?

Truthfully, one of the best gifts I received when expecting my first child was our high chair. It’s so versatile, it will grow with my child into adulthood. I’m not kidding – the friend who gave it to us still uses hers from when she was a child, only now it serves as a chair at her desk instead of a high chair.

I love this version by Stokke because its ergonomic design evolves with your child from six months to adulthood. With an adjustable seat and footrest, it’s a solid wood piece. It also helps to have a modern look and a variety of color options.

Because it can be used in different rooms of the house, not just for feeding, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it over the stand-alone highchair which is only useful in the kitchen at meal times.

More On This Topic
Toddlers eating at the table without high chairsTransitioning from a High Chair to the Table

5. How Easy Is It To Clean?

Messy Baby Eating in High Chair
Image source: The Mom Story

Most traditional stand-alone high chairs are covered in a wipeable fabric for cleaning. However, the ease of cleaning these is up for debate. Especially after daily use with one or more kids, crumbs and stains in all those fabric crevices are unavoidable.

If you want something easy to clean, I suggest looking at options without fabric. It’s best if they also have a removable and dishwasher safe tray for occasional quick, deep cleanings.

Learn More
Baby girl sitting in a dirty high chairHow to Clean Your Baby’s High Chair

It’s Your Call

Don’t buy something just because “they” tell you it’s a necessary item. You know your family best, and you are the expert on your baby.

All you need is to provide baby a safe, stable place to eat, which meets your family’s needs regarding:

  • Safety.
  • Space.
  • Cost.
  • Versatility.
  • Ease of cleaning.

Whether that comes in the form of a traditional stand-alone high chair or another hybrid option, is up to you. Mom knows best!

If you know someone having this same debate, forward them this article to help with their decision-making. Have you decided whether a high chair is essential or unnecessary? Let us know what your baby feeding solution will be in the comments below!

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Baby girl sitting in a dirty high chair
How to Clean Your Baby’s High Chair
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High Chair Safety Tips
Little girl eating at table using a booster seat high chair
9 Best Booster Seat High Chairs of 2019
Toddlers eating at the table without high chairs
Transitioning from a High Chair to the Table
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When Can Your Baby Sit in a High Chair?
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How to Find the Best Folding High Chair for Your Baby
Messy baby eating at the table
5 Best Baby Splash Mats That Can Handle the Mess

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