9 best booster seats for eating
24 February 2021
If you’re short on space and you need a way of keeping your child secure at mealtimes, then a booster seat could be just what you need. Take a look at our pick of the best booster seats for mealtimes.
A highchair is considered a staple item for keeping a wriggly toddler in place while you try and coax a vaguely healthy diet through their tightly pursed lips. But highchairs can also have a large footprint and, if space is at a premium, you might just not have room.
Never fear, because Mumsnet is here with a solution. Booster seats make a great alternative to highchairs and, being smaller and less complicated, they can save you money too.
There are all sorts of booster seats out there. Some sit on top of a normal dining chair, some can be placed on any flat surface, and some can even clip straight onto the edge of your table. Booster seats also have the advantage of having your little one sitting up close to the table rather than at a slight distance in their highchair, so they can safely and comfortably join the family at mealtimes, and start mastering the skills of self-feeding and table manners.
As with any piece of parenting kit, it can seem overwhelming when you’re faced with tons of options and brands and a mountain of reviews to wade through, which is where we come in.
Ably assisted by our army of experienced parents, we’ve done all the research for you and come up with our pick of the best booster seats for feeding babies and toddlers. We’ve broken them down into categories to help you figure out what might work best for you and then found our favourite, so all you have to do is click that ‘buy’ button, and look forward to happy, calm teatimes. If only we could cook the dinner for you too.
1. Best overall booster seat: Prince Lionheart Booster Squish Seat
The Prince Lionheart Booster Squish Seat can be placed on top of your dining chair so that your toddler can join the family right at the table as soon as they’re ready.
It isn’t just rubber or foam on a rigid base, but this seat actually has a comfy spring to it, as well as slip-resistant feet for safety, and three sets of straps to keep the seat on the dining chair and the squirmy diner in the seat.
Lightweight and portable, this seat is ideal for use at home or on the go and is intended for children 18 months and older who are able to sit up unaided. It will see them all the way through to around five years old (or a maximum weight of 60lbs). And, at less than £20, it’s a bit of a bargain too.
2. Best budget booster seat: Safety 1st Essential Booster
If cost is your main consideration, then we think this booster dining chair will do pretty much everything you need it to, for a fraction of the price of other booster seats.
Made from easy-to-clean plastic, and featuring two integrated adjustable chair straps, the essential booster seat is simple to use and takes less than two minutes to install. Just use the two built-in chair straps to secure the seat to the underside and backrest of the dining room chair.
Rubber grippers on the underside of the booster seat provide additional stability making it extremely safe. You may want to check the height and depth of your table top to ensure your little one has enough leg room as this has been flagged by a few buyers, but as long as you’ve got the space we reckon this super seat will be just the ticket.
3. Best adjustable booster seat: Chicco Pocket Snack Toddler Booster Seat
Not all toddlers and tables are made the same, so you might need a bit of flexibility to find the perfect position for your booster seat. We love the Chicco Pocket Snack Booster Seat which is compact and super lightweight. It can even be folded up and carried easily thanks to the integrated handle.
The seat is not only large and comfortable, (designed to accommodate children from six to 36 months), but it can also be adjusted to three different heights to adapt to the various stages of your little one's growth.
It’s also equipped with a removable and adjustable tray to make cleaning a breeze, and fastening straps and a three-point-belt ensures safety at all times.
4. Best booster seat for all ages: Ingenuity Baby Base 2-in-1 Seat
With all this chat about toddler booster seats, you may be wondering if it’s really worth having a separate seat for your baby to aid their sitting in the earlier months. Popular soft tray tables seem like a great idea when you have a younger baby, but are quickly grown out of when you need a chair to keep a larger infant secure at mealtimes.
For that reason, we love the Ingenuity Baby Seat, which covers all ages. Not only is it a handy little seat for a six-month-old who desperately wants to be upright, but by removing the foam insert it also easily converts into a toddler dining chair, giving a bigger bottom just the boost it needs to reach the table with ease.
The tray is removable for easy cleaning and we love that it neatly slots into the space under the seat. Perfect if you like everything to have its place.
5. Best clip-on booster seat: Veeyoo Hook On High Chair
If you don’t want a booster seat that sits on top of your dining chair, then one that hooks onto your table is a fantastic alternative.
This convenient seat by Veeyoo has clamps that grip onto your tabletop and are then tightened to give a secure hold. Your little one is able to sit right at the table, and is firmly under control at the same time.
The cover is removable and fully washable – always a necessity. The only downside is that the table edge needs to be a certain thickness in order for the clamps to fit, so make sure you check your measurements carefully.
6. Best travel booster seat: GudeHome Baby Portable Chair Harness
While most of our recommended chairs are fairly lightweight and portable, you may need something extra compact for when you’re on the go. If suitcase room is at a premium, or you’re travelling light, then why not consider a harness seat, which helpfully packs up into a squishy bundle and can be stuffed into the snuggest of spaces?
This harness chair from Amazon is an absolute bargain and will fit securely onto almost all dining chairs, even those with high backs. It’s fully adjustable and the manufacturers reckon it will comfortably fit an infant aged eight months to three years. Well worth a try if you ask us.
7. Most lightweight booster seat: Munchkin Portable Travel Child Booster Seat
Specifically designed for life on the move, this great booster seat from Mumsnet favourite Munchkin comes recommended by thousands of parents.
Designed to be both a bag and a booster seat in one, this handy chair has a strong internal frame to keep it sturdy, while the convenient storage section will keep your feeding essentials safely tucked away until teatime.
Extra-grip traction pads ensure a no-slip grip on chairs increasing the chair’s stability and, when mealtime is over, the booster seat folds up neatly.
The only downside we can see is that it’s wipe-clean only, meaning it could be a little harder to keep clean than other chairs. But if you can overlook that then you’re unlikely to be disappointed.
8. Best booster cushion: Zicac Baby Booster Cushion With Straps
If you’d prefer a simpler approach to booster dining seats then it doesn’t get more straightforward than this booster cushion, with straps to attach it to the chair.
Great for slightly older kids who have mastered sitting upright but still need a bit of help to reach the table, this lovely cushion will add an extra 8cm to their height, and will sit securely on almost any dining chair.
Made from washable fabric, which is also resistant to slipping, you can even remove the cover when it gets a bit grubby and pop it in the washer. We especially love the huge range of gorgeous patterns.
Price: From £21.99Buy now from Amazon
9. Best for features: Infantino Music & Lights 3-in-1 Discovery Seat and Booster
The Discovery Seat from Infantino really does come with all the bells and whistles you might need to keep mealtimes joyful.
Featuring a unique table design which slides to the side to reveal the tray and cup holder, the seat is also equipped with a range of removable toys, as well as a light up piano which plays 20 songs and sounds – great for encouraging sensory and fine motor skill development in your baby.
Convenient security straps allow the booster seat to attach easily to a dining chair, while the easy-to-wipe design of the seat makes for quick clean-ups. It’s a little on the pricey side, but we reckon it’s worth it.
Which is better – a high chair or a booster seat?
Put simply, there are advantages to both highchairs and booster seats. Many parents will find that, while a highchair suits them at one stage of their child’s development, a booster seat may be more convenient at another time.
Advantages of a highchair are that you don’t need to have a dining table and chairs, which will suit some households, or you might need to have a highchair in the kitchen or living room rather than your main eating area.
But while highchairs are a great standalone item, they can take up a lot of space and, when you take into account all the other infant paraphernalia cluttering up your floors, you might prefer a more compact option, which a booster seat certainly is.
Other advantages of a booster chair are that your child can sit right up to the table with the rest of the family rather than being slightly distanced, which is great for encouraging good mealtime manners and behaviours.
What age can a child use a booster seat at a table?
The answer to this largely depends on the booster seat being used and you should always refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines when using a booster chair for a small child.
That said, most rigid booster seats can be used safely from around six months of age, or when your child can sit upright unaided. Other seats like cushion boosters are more appropriate for toddlers and preschool-age children.
What should I look for when buying a booster seat?
- Safety should always be your first priority when purchasing any item such as this for a small child, so make sure your chair has the necessary safety straps to keep your child secure. A non-slip design is also a great feature to keep the seat from sliding around on the dining chair.
- Mealtimes with small children aren’t known for being tidy affairs, so it’s really important to consider how easily your booster seat can be cleaned. If the seat is made from fabric, then check to see if the cover can be removed and put in the washing machine.
- Check the dimensions of your dining table to ensure that your booster seat will give your child enough leg room when they are sitting in it. A common mistake that parents make is to focus solely on raising their child’s height without checking the depth of the table top first.
- If you’re planning on taking your seat out and about with you, then make sure you check the weight before you buy. While all booster seats are relatively small and therefore fairly portable, you might be surprised at how heavy some can be if they contain a metal frame.
What is the best and safest booster seat?
Based on our own research and the recommendations of hundreds of happy parents, the best booster seat you can buy is the Prince Lionheart Booster Squish Seat. Comfortable and extra safe for little bottoms, easy to clean and a bargain to boot, we think you’ll be hard pressed to find a better all-rounder.
How we chose our recommendations
Because we know that there’s nothing like a real recommendation from a real parent, we first headed to the Mumsnet forums to find out which booster seats discerning Mumsnet users had bought for their children.
We then did some research across the wider web, looking at which booster seats had won accolades or been featured in ‘best buy’ lists across websites and print media, and what customers reviews said about them.
Having collated all that information, we picked the booster seats we thought would make the best buys in several interest categories.
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