Right now there are so many options in anything that is designed for a baby, whether it be something as simple as a spoon to something more significant as a car seat. The great thing about having a lot of choices is that everyone can find the item that fits their needs, but the difficult part is figuring out how to make the right choice when there is so much available. As you go about choosing one of the right infant high chairs for your needs, I have listed below the different options available to help you determine what features you are looking for.
Seat Positions: Some high chairs offer a variety of reclining positions. This option can be helpful depending if you are intending to feed your baby in the high chair. This may seem like an obvious thing that you will be doing with your baby in a high chair, however, some parents opt to feed their infant initially in their bouncy seat. A high chair that offers a reclining position can permit a parent to use the high chair for mealtimes even if he or she isn't sitting up perfectly. It allows the baby to have more support as he or she is concentrating on eating versus trying to stay upright to eat. As some high chair models are going back to the look of high chairs from years ago, like the wooden models, they do not offer a reclining position and would not be appropriate for a baby that isn't sitting up independently.
Height Positions: Depending on your needs, this might be an option that would be convenient. Some high chairs are designed to allow the seat to be put into different height positions. Typically a high chairs height is heigher than a dining room table. As a baby get older, the height could be adjusted so that the baby could be at the dining room table's height and pushed up against it (without the tray) to allow the baby to eat at the table. This could help to offer a more comfortable seating arrangement for your baby than sitting in a booster seat. Thus eliminating the need to buy a booster seat and getting your nice dining room chair messy from the food that will undoubtly fall off the table onto the chair.
Trays: Many brands offer a variety of options for trays, whether it be more than one tray, cup holder and sections for utensils and such. Some people find having more than one tray convenient in the event that one is dirty and you need a clean one right away or if for some odd reason something happens to one of them. The sections on the tray may look cute, but for the most part everything winds up getting mixed around on the tray so it's not necessarily an option that is a must have. Additionally, having a flat tray can be nice when you are trying to do an activity like coloring, as it gives you a better surface to lie the paper down. Some brands also advertise that their trays can washed in the dishwasher. This can be a great option to ensure that your tray is nice and clean. However, depending on your dishwasher it might not fit or you may find that you'll need it before the dishwasher is run, so you wind up hand washing it anyhow.
Tray Convenience: If you are narrowing down your choices between two high chairs, the option of tray convenience can be the deciding factor. One brands have a tray that can be removed by pushing buttons on both sides of the tray at the same time, while others offer one-hand release. The option of one-hand release is the most convenient of the two. Nothing is easier than pulling or pushing the tray with one hand while your baby is in the other. Also some have a "main" tray and additional trays that snap onto the "main" tray. When it is intact helps to keep your baby in the high chair. It can easier to simply snap off the additional tray and clean up knowing that your baby is safe in the high chair.
Tray Height: Most high chairs have a tray height of 8'. This height works the best because if it is heigher it is more likely that baby won't be able to reach the food on his or her tray.
Seat Covers: Most of the time, the one aspect that gets a parent's attention initially when choosing a high chair is the seat cover. The different brands rely heavily in the popularity of the seat cover design to attract a parent to buy theirs over another. Most seat covers are made of cloth, vinyl or a combination of the two. Cloth seat covers can be appealing because they look like they would be comfortable to sit on and they are maching washable. However, the reality is that the seat cover will get extremely dirty and it only takes one messy meal for that to happen. It won't be convenient to be washing the seat cover through the washing machine and dryer on a regular basis. A vinyl cover, however, can easily be wiped down with a wet sponge and they most often have padding for comfort. Some vinyl covers can also be machine washed, but this should be down sporadically as too many machine washes will make the vinyl deteriorate. Also vinyl covers need to air dry. The option of the combination vinyl and cloth seat cover can be a nice compromise, but remember the cloth sections will not come as clean with a wet sponge.
Seat Belts: Most chairs will either come with a regular seat belt or a five-point harness. A five-point harness offers better safety, but depending on the age of your child when buying the seat a regular seat belt should be fine.
Wheels: Depending on how you intend on using your high chair, wheels can offer the convenience of being able to move the chair around without having to lift it. Most wheels have locks on them and it a good safety feature to have if you want a high chair with wheels.
Storing: Many high chairs will boast their ability to be easily folded. Generally, unless your space is very limited, it is easier to leave the high chair open than cleaning and folding it between each mealtime.
The options available with high chairs are abundant. Depending on each feature that is available, will alter the price of the high chair. Being able to have one-hand release and a vinyl cover will be options that you will find over time make the most sense and provide the most convenience. They are options that are the most worthwhile to pay a little more for. Nonetheless, each parent's needs are different and it can be helpful to try the high chairs out if you can. The good news is with all the variety of options and designs, the perfect and affordable infant high chair out there for everyone!