Saturday, August 22, 2009

Highchairs, Booster Seats, Travel Seats... which is right for you?

There are SO many options for baby/toddler seating, it can be overwhelming for new parents, so I thought, since I've tried my fair share, I'd offer some advice and reviews... I started out with a traditional, but high end, Peg Perego Prima Pappa Dondolino. Of course, I just "HAD" to have the one that rocked and played music, as I was convinced these functions would come in so handy to keep Wyatt happy while I worked in the kitchen. (If only I had known more about babywearing while I was pregnant... but that's another post!) Admittedly, we did use the bells and whistles for awhile, but the second time the batteries died, I never got around to replacing them. Other than that though it was an EXCELLENT highchair, and the features were well worth the extra money. It had leatherette material, with the sporty looking air holes for breathability along with a soft terry infant insert. All the upholstery and the 5 point harness are completely removable for machine washing too! A huge combination of height and recline combos came in handy too. The tray that slides into the seat is a small, narrow tray, good for a few toys or cheerios while I got the real food ready (or cleaned the full-size tray). The full-size tray just clicked on with a slight squeeze of a handle underneath the tray. All things considered, if you're in the market for a full-size highchair, and have some money to burn, (or someone buying it for you... thanks Mom!), I would defintely check out the current Prima Pappa line. (My model is discontinued). My mom and sisters have all had Prima Pappas as well (not the unnecessary Dondolino like me though), and they have taken YEARS of use by MANY kids and are still VERY nice!

As soon as Wyatt was able to feed himself, we discovered that many homes and restaurants we frequented had inadequate high chairs (or none at all), so after some research, I decided on the Fisher Price Healthy Care Booster Seat for our many meals away from home. It is an extremely well designed booster seat for travel AND home. It has a dishwasher safe tray, with a removable eating tray, so they have a clean place to play after the meal. There is also a lid for the tray to keep it clean (or keep the mess in) during your travels. A crotch/waist strap (removable for laundering) to keep them in their place. Three height levels so it will work with almost any kid/table/chair combo. The seat secures to almost any dining chair with a strap under the seat and around the back. These also double to hold the tray on when folded up, and the other as a carry strap. The backrest folds down for compact storage, and is removable for cleaning, or for older children who might not want it there. This is currently the only chair my toddler uses at our table... the highchair is gathering dust in a corner. Due to it's permanent place in the house, I now needed something else for the car...

The best thing I could find to fit the bill was the amazing My Little Seat. It's a cloth carrier style seat that ties onto most styles of dining chairs. You slip the top over the back of the chair (and snug up with the drawstring), sit the child on the seat area, pull the shoulder straps up to the clips and tighten, and tie the waist straps through the loops at the back. Then you take ties from behind the childs hip area and tighten around the back of the chair. Baby is snug and secure :) The best features in my opinion, are the size of the tiny bag it fits into, and the fact that it's machine washable! How many feeding seats can you say that about? I keep ours in the diaper bag or the car at all times, and it has saved us on many unexpected occasions.

Ideally, if I had it all to do over, I'd skip the full-size highchair completely. I'd either just use our Bumbo until the FP Healthy Care seat was developmentally appropriate for use at the table. Or I'd get one of the newer booster style high chairs (like this one). And for out of the house, I'd stick to the My Little Seat.

Hope I've helped!

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