The beginner's guide to buying a portable highchair
For many people a portable highchair or booster is a second option after they've made their main highchair purchase, but quite a few folk are now plumping for a highchair that straps on to their existing dining room chairs. As one canny reviewer says: "there's definitely something to be said for buying a premium quality bouncing seat ,then moving your baby straight from that to a cheap, adaptable and portable booster seat."
Usually opting for a portable highchair means you lose out on some of the comfort or adjustability: some do have a recline function, while others are certainly more suitable as a second highchair option. The attraction of all these is they are portable and simply strap onto most chairs (or attach to the table in the case of the Table Seat) so they're definitely worth thinking about if you travel, eat out a lot (and don't always want to go to kiddie-friendly restaurants) or don't have spare floor space.
Apart from the Table Seat all the portable models/booster seats strap onto existing chairs, but they vary quite a lot in style and what they offer. Here's a checklist of key things to bear in mind when choosing. Where you rank these in importance is, of course, up to you.
Is it comfortable?
Look for seat padding, support for babies, soft or rounded edges and plenty of room for growth.
Is it adjustable?
Does it allow for different seat/table heights and ages of child? Does it fit most chairs? Does it recline?
Is it easy to clean?
More crucial than you might think, unless of course someone else is going to be doing the cleaning. This isn't just a wood versus plastic question, but look out for hidden crevices and whether it's pvc/wipe clean/machine washable?
How portable is it?
Can it be squished into your bag or is it portable but too unwieldy to hang on the back of the pushchair?
Is it safe?
Is the child going to be secure? All portable models recommend that the child is supervised at all times - as it's fairly common for disgruntled toddlers to use the table in front of them for leverage and this can mean the chair (and child) tipping over and no amount of straps can stop that. Nevertheless look out for a sturdy straps and a proper harness (or the possibility of attaching one) that secures your child firmly across the hips and between the legs; this way your child can't stand up or slip off the chair.
What does it look like?
Some are funkier looking than others and you are going to be seen out and about with this highchair. This may or may not matter to you.
Last updated: over 1 year ago