Booster seat high chairs are great space savers and are easy to travel with. But some models are not as safe or stable as they could be, and others are highly overpriced.
As moms ourselves, we know how much time it takes to research products, sifting through manufacturer’s advertising ploys to try to find reliable baby gear that’s worth our hard-earned dollars. And we’re often doing this while holding a cranky baby or toddler! But we also want what’s best for our babies — quality items that will protect our little ones, preferably without costing as much as their future schooling.
This is why our team has spent the past few weeks testing out all the best booster seat high chairs and reviewing feedback from hundreds of moms and caregivers about dozens of brands.
As a result, we’ve created a list of the best booster seats for eating at the table. This article contains our top eight picks (plus one bonus product) and the answers to all your questions. With one of these great options, you can trust that your little one will be safe and secure at every meal.[/intro-section]
- Variable height options
- Small and portable
- Super easy to clean
- 3-point harness for extra security
- High back and sides
- Self-storing tray
- Used with or without foam insert
- Appropriate for younger babies
- Comfortable 3-inch cushion
- Easy-to-adjust safety straps
- Stain resistant fabric
- Removable tray and back
- No crevices to trap food
- Easy to transport
- Rigid base
- Fits on most dining chairs
- Grime guard fabric on booster seat
- Machine washable
- Lifetime guarantee
- 250-pound weight limit
- Machine washable cover
- Lightweight and compact
- 3-point harness
- Designed for travel
What is a Booster Seat High Chair?
Once your baby or toddler is ready to eat solid foods, you may question if you need a full-sized high chair or if a smaller booster seat will do the job just a well. A booster seat high chair is a child seat that sits on top of your regular dining room chair. It functions much like a high chair in that it provides a safe and secure seat for your child to sit in and raises their height to table level.
However, while a high chair is a separate apparatus and cannot be pulled all the way up to the table, a booster seat allows your child to sit directly at the table with the rest of the family.
This type of booster seat should not be confused with car seats for older children, which are also commonly referred to as “booster seats.”
Why Choose a Booster Seat High Chair?
Booster seat high chairs offer many benefits over traditional high chairs. Some are even designed for use with small babies, making the additional purchase of a full-sized high chair completely unnecessary.
Some reasons to consider a booster seat are:
- They allow your child to sit at the table instead of apart from the rest of the family.
- They allow your child to continue to be secured to the seat during snack and meal times, preventing falls and injury.
- They’re generally cheaper than high chairs.
- They take up less space than high chairs.
- They’re portable.
- Some can double as an activity seat and be placed on the floor while putting toys on the tray.
How to Choose a Booster Chair
When choosing a booster chair, it’s important to evaluate several factors and choose the one that best fits your needs. Here are some things to consider:
If you plan for a small baby to sit in the booster seat, you’ll need one with a back that you can adjust to recline slightly to offer them support. If it’ll be exclusively used with toddlers and older children, a rigid back (or no back at all) is appropriate.
Choose a booster seat that secures to your dining chair with at least one adjustable strap that you can pull tight for a secure fit.
Determine whether you need a five-point harness or lap belt. A five-point harness is the safest option for small babies, while a three-point harness or lap belt should provide enough support for most toddlers.
If you plan to travel with the seat, choose one that takes up minimal space. It should easily fold down to fit in your vehicle and should be relatively lightweight.
Easy to Clean
Let’s be honest — babies are messy. You don’t want a high chair that’s difficult to clean. Choose a booster seat made from plastic and without crevices where food can get stuck.
Some booster chairs come with trays so they can function as a high chair, while others don’t. Decide if your seat needs an attached tray (for either eating or playtime) or whether its only function will be giving your child a needed “boost.”
The Best Booster Seats for Eating of 2021
Here are the top booster seat high chairs currently on the market.
1. Ingenuity SmartClean Toddler Booster Seat
Your little toddler has become independent, but they’re certainly not done growing. This seat takes that into account and adds either two inches (without the foam insert) or four inches (with the foam insert) to your child’s height, allowing them to comfortably reach the table at any size.
Since your big kid wants to eat at the table anyway, they don’t need a tray, which means there aren’t extra crevices for food to get stuck in. That makes clean-up a breeze since you can either wipe down the padding or toss it in the dishwasher.
- It has variable height options (2 or 4 inches).
- It’s BPA-free.
- Small and portable, making it great for smaller homes.
- The foam insert is dishwasher safe.
- The foam insert is not affixed to the chair and may move around.
- Some reviewers remarked that food consistently got stuck under the padding.
- Not useful for younger babies.
2. Oxo Tot Nest Booster Seat with Straps
A booster seat that’s easy to clean won’t have trays, crevices, or corners. This fits the bill with its smooth, easy-to-wipe surface that leaves few spots available for your little one to stash their leftovers.
It has an adjustable three-point harness and a strap to secure it to your dining room chair. The non-slip feet keep it safely atop the chair and prevent it from damaging your furniture.
Its high back and sides give your child added security as they sit in their big-kid seat.
- It’s super easy to clean.
- It has a three-point harness for extra security.
- Choose from three different colors.
- High back and sides are great for little escape artists or kids who wriggle.
- It doesn’t have a tray.
- It doesn’t recline.
- One of the more expensive options.
3. Ingenuity™ Baby 2-in-1 Booster Seat
Having a feeding tray is helpful — and this seat gives you the option to use it or stash it. Not only does the tray come with a cup holder, but it also gives you a perfect storage compartment for the tray should your little one decide they don’t want to use it anymore.
There will be no further need to find a place to store the tray when you’re not using it, and you’ll have no problem remembering where you put it when you want it back.
The seat itself is made of soft and easy-to-clean foam that you can remove as your baby grows and their chubby little thighs need more room.
And even though it doesn’t have a recline function, it’s designed in a way that helps position babies upright even if they’re not quite able to sit unsupported. While not appropriate for newborns, you can still use it with small babies.
- It has a self-storing tray.
- Can be used with or without the foam insert, depending on baby’s size.
- Appropriate for younger babies.
- Can carry up to 50-pound.
- The tray is on the smaller side.
- It doesn’t have a five-point harness.
- The tray is on a smaller side.
4. Oxo Tot Perch Booster Seat with Straps
Mealtime is special, no matter your age. Help your child feel comfortable and confident with this cushioned booster seat.
Designed for children 15 months and up, this booster seat is simple, compact, and easy to clean. Instead of having a thin pad for your child to sit on, it has a thick, three-inch cushion built in. It’s soft enough to keep your child comfy but sturdy enough to give them the boost they need so they don’t sink down.
Our favorite part is the stain-resistant fabric. You may think the comfier the material, the more it absorbs, but you can easily wipe down the fabric of this cushion with a damp sponge. The entire cushion is also removable.
Another important feature is the three-point harness system with easy-to-adjust safety straps. They’ll keep your child secure with plenty of freedom of movement in their upper body to keep them smiling and happy.
- Comfortable three-inch cushion will help your child stay seated for long periods.
- The entire booster seat is easy to wipe down.
- If your child is especially squirmy, this may give them a bit too much room to wiggle around in.
5. Fisher-Price Healthy Care Booster Seat
Children grow quickly, and sometimes it’s hard for moms to keep up! We love when baby gear grows with your child to help them through life’s transitions. It makes things so much easier for everyone.
This booster seat is such a product. With an easy-to-remove tray, you can use it for years. Keep the tray attached while your child is young and use it as a more traditional high chair, then remove it when your little one is ready to eat at the table.
Along with the removable backrest and adjustable tray, you can ensure your child fits comfortably through all stages of life.
All surfaces are smooth, and you won’t find any crevices, so the entire thing is easy to wipe down after meals. If you’re in a smaller living space, this booster seat is a great space-saving option!
- Features a removable tray and back so you can transform it from a high chair to a booster seat.
- There aren’t any crevices for food to get trapped in.
- Lightweight plastic is super easy to wipe down.
- Because the entire thing is plastic, it may not be as comfortable for long meals.
6. Prince Lionheart Squish Booster Seat
Going to a restaurant can be a special treat, but once you have children, it can feel like a circus every time you go out. While many places have booster seats or high chairs for children, they aren’t perfect. If you’re able to find an available booster seat, they are often filthy or have less-than-ideal safety straps (or none at all).
Make eating out simple with this ultra-portable and versatile booster seat. Weighing around 1.6 pounds, you can carry this booster seat with one hand. Keep it in the trunk of your car so you’re always prepared.
One reason this booster seat works well at restaurants is because of the rigid base. It’s designed to fit the contours of most chairs, and the non-slip feet on the base means you can place it securely on any surface.
Other features include a waterproof and scratch-resistant finish and a three-point adjustable harness system.
- Waterproof and scratch-resistant.
- No-slip feet keep the booster seat secure.
- Very lightweight.
- Safety straps are easy to unfasten — even for industrious toddlers.
7. Munchkin Protect Booster Chair Cover
Many booster seats are easy to clean, but what about the chair you put them on? They’re often forgotten, and you’re left cleaning up your nice chairs once the booster seat comes off. Save yourself time and frustration with this special chair cover.
It’s made of an extremely durable “grime guard” fabric and is placed directly over the seat of your chair. Not only does it protect against food, but it also protects against scratching, which is important if you’ve got a nice set of wood dining room chairs. Traction pads on the bottom keep it firmly in place and help prevent the booster chair from slipping.
We really appreciate that this cover is machine washable. If it weren’t, you’d wind up with something else to clean, but you can throw the entire thing in the washing machine when it’s time.
If you’ve got a booster seat already but are struggling to keep your chairs clean, this is a good option.
- Fits most dining chairs, so you can use it everywhere.
- Keeps the booster seat secure while preventing messes.
- Machine washable for quick cleanup.
- It doesn’t come with its own set of straps, so you’ll need an actual booster seat to secure it.
8. Hiccapop Omniboost Booster Seat
This seat has all the features of a full-sized high chair with the footprint of a booster seat.
It’s designed to let your baby sit at the table with you from the very beginning of their feeding journey. It grows with them, converting to a simple booster seat when your little one is ready.
Non-skid duck feet are available for added stability on uneven surfaces, thereby ensuring your infant’s safety. Moreover, the tray is dishwasher-safe for easy clean-up.
It has a three-point harness with a one-hand release, making it easy to quickly remove your child if necessary.
- Eliminates the need for an additional high chair.
- Secure three-point harness.
- Dishwasher-safe feeding tray.
- Lifetime guarantee.
- A bit pricy.
9. Summer Pop ‘n Sit Portable Booster Chair
This ingenious seat is so small that you can leave it in your trunk for spontaneous restaurant trips, dinners with friends, or impromptu playdates.
Designed specifically for travel, it comes with a carrying handle and storage pockets on the back so you can store extra wipes for emergency cleaning.
And since the Summer brand knows how good kids are at making mealtime messes, they made the seat with a BPA-free detachable tray that is dishwasher safe.
- Fully collapsible.
- It has a three-point harness.
- Designed for travel and can be used both indoors and outdoors.
- Lower weight limit.
- With four feet instead of a solid base, it can be unstable on surfaces that aren’t flat.
Can My Infant Use a Booster Seat?
Originally, booster seats were designed for toddlers and older children who weren’t quite big enough to reach the table while sitting in a regular chair. However, many current booster seats are designed with babies in mind.
Booster seats that are appropriate for babies have an adjustable back. Unlike toddlers, babies don’t have very good head and neck control, or enough core strength to sit upright for long periods of time. A rigid, upright back on a booster will cause them to either slump forward (hitting their head on the tray or table) or sideways (causing a potential falling hazard).
Booster Seat Safety
When considering a high chair or booster seat for your child, safety should be your top concern. In fact, in the U.S., one child is rushed to the hospital every hour due to a high chair-related injury, the vast majority of which are falls (1). Thankfully, most booster seat models offer several methods of securing your child.
First, they attach to your chair with one or two adjustable straps. Usually, one will wrap around the back of the chair, and another will reach underneath. This two-strap method of securing the seat virtually eliminates the possibility of the seat slipping off your dining room chair.
Second, they also secure your child. Some (primarily designed for younger babies) have a five-point harness system similar to what you would find in a car seat. Others (for toddlers and older children) have a lap belt to keep them from toppling out of the seat.
Choose a harness-style seat if you have a small baby, a mini Houdini, or a child who likes to stand up in their high chair.
A lap belt is appropriate for older babies with good head and neck control and for toddlers who are old enough to follow simple commands such as “sit down.”
Keep In Mind