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There was a knock at the door during dinner time. In the mere minutes it took to speak with my neighbor, my toddler, Evelynne, managed to get chocolate pudding in almost every crevice, nook, and cranny of her highchair, and herself.
That night I left a note begging my husband to clean it up because I just couldn't even. This was a Cosco high chair purchased at a garage sale and it did not have a removable liner. If I'd known this I would have saved my $5. I've learned the hard way, an easily cleaned highchair is a must.
We bought another highchair from Ikea and I liked it for portability's sake, but it didn't have a tray and I like a separate area for eating. Again – it gets messy and a tray creates a boundary between them and anything they can grab on the table. It was good for camping, but a little rough for everyday use.
So, what would I buy now if I had to do it over? I would definitely keep in mind ease of cleanliness, portability, safety, and longevity. Being able to use the same highchair (and keep it looking fresh) for my child's learning-to-eat-years would have convinced me to spend a little more upfront.
5 Highchairs I would buy:
1. Evenflo Convertible High Chair: I first saw this at a neighbor's house. It's a simple design, easy to clean and it converts to a chair and table. The tray under the seat catches food for what I call "second breakfast"...Or lunch or dinner. You can also store items beneath it (wipes, extra bibs). The liner detaches and there are not many crevices for food to get stuck.
2. 4Moms High Chair: This high chair was invented by moms and it shows. It is easy to clean with very few nooks and crannies for food to get stuck. It's magnetized so the tray attachment is easily attached one handed. Magnetized dishes also have a better chance of staying upright when your kiddo begins self feeding.
3. Ingenuity Trio 3-1 Ridgedale High Chair: I like products that can do more than one thing. This high chair can be a standard high chair, a booster seat and a regular seat. It's all easily cleaned and folds up flat for storage. You can even seat two of our children at the same time with the booster/seat design.
4. Summer Infant Pop and Sit Portable Booster: We have used this seat camping and while at playdates or Grandma's house. It's easy to use on the floor or attached to a chair. It folds up easily and is incredibly simple to transport. I'm not sure I would buy this for everyday use, but it's a great high chair for trips or for use while your child is learning to sit up.
5. Poppy Baby Highchair: I really like the thought and care that Phil & Teds puts into all of their designs. I like this high chair for its simplistic design and how easy it is to clean. (Are you sensing a theme here?) You will clean these chairs so much – it just makes sense to make that as easy as possible. I also like that this highchair can be simplified to a decently sized chair for your older child.
Whatever highchair you decide is best for your family, just remember how quickly your kids' needs change. Before long they will be sitting at the table like a champ and your highchair needs will be at an end. Just make sure you take lots of pictures while you have them contained in one space. It's one of the best times to take pictures of your usually blurry little toddler.
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Opinions expressed by parent contributors are their own.