Safety First: Shopping for High Chairs

Safety First: Shopping for High Chairs

Shopping for high chairs can be a struggle. There are so many different features to navigate. Luckily, if you know what to look for, it isn’t so bad.  Your baby spends a lot of time in their high chair. You want it to be both convenient and safe. 

Today on the Child Safety Store blog, let’s take a look at the world of high chair options that are available to you, and learn what features will keep your child safe.

Shopping for High Chairs

Safety is Top Priority

It is easy to get caught up in the special features that are now available on most high chairs. But when shopping for high chairs, your child’s safety should be your leading concern. 

In 2015 and 2016 alone, there were about 18,500 emergency room visits related to high chair injuries.  In most of these incidents, the child fell while attempting to climb into or out of the chair. Other common incidents occurred when the chair somehow malfunctioned or when the chair tipped after the child rocked back and forth, creating an unsteady surface. 

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CSPC) actually updated their official standards for high chair safety last year. These new guidelines will be effective as of next month.  The new safety standard update requires rearward stability and warning labels. It also requires that high chairs have a crotch restraint and a three-point harness, which you’ll read about below.

The Dangers of Secondhand High Chairs

While getting a used high chair or accepting a hand-me-down may sound tempting, we recommend against it. Sure, it is more cost-effective, but it can also be more dangerous.

Just as we recently discussed the dangers of a secondhand crib, a used high chair can have assembly issues, as parts may be worn or screws may be missing.  In addition, older models may not be up-to-date with current safety standards that are recommended today. If you do still consider a secondhand chair, check that the chair hasn’t been recalled at some point by looking for the model and manufacturer at recalls.gov.

Safety Considerations When Shopping for High Chairs

When shopping for high chairs, know what fits your own particular needs. There are many options, including chairs that are foldable, have dishwasher-safe parts, and chairs that transform with your growing baby. The “sweet spot” is a chair that is convenient for you, but safe for your baby.

With so many features, selecting the correct high chair can seem overwhelming. To make sure your chair purchase meets your needs, test models at a store and keep the following pointers in mind: 

  • Weight: Most high chairs are built to accommodate a maximum weight of around 50 pounds.
  • Certification Sticker: This indicates that the chair meets ASTM International safety standards
  • Locking Wheels: If your chair has wheels, be sure that they lock so the chair is immobilized when it’s in use.
  • Folding Chairs: High chairs that fold can be great space savers, but be sure that fingers can’t get pinched or caught in this mechanism.
  • Stability: Your chair should feel sturdy, not wobbly. Look for a high chair that has a wide base, but be careful of protruding legs, which can be a tripping hazard.
  • Crotch Post: Safe high chairs have a fixed post at the seat of the chair, or attached to the tray, which prevents the child from sliding down beneath the tray and through the open space.
  • Safety Harness: While a three-point harness restraint is required for certification, a five-point harness is even safer. This prevents your child from being able to lean over while in their chair, causing them to fall or the chair to tip.
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