Guide to safety features in toddler highchairs

While many parents focus on car seats and strollers when it comes to safety features for their toddlers, highchairs should not be overlooked. With highchairs being used for mealtime, snacks and other activities, it’s important to look at all of their safety features because of the frequency of usage. Many parents purchase convertible highchairs that can grow with their child from infancy to the toddler stage. Although this may be a good purchase in terms of getting the most bang for your buck, certain safety features should be considered when using a highchair for your growing toddler.

Safety features to consider:

Wheels

Wheels on the bottom of highchairs can be convenient for parents because of how big and bulky highchairs can be. Whether it’s limited space in the kitchen or the convenience of wheeling the highchair around for multiple uses, wheels can be great for mobility. However, active toddlers can use wheels to their advantage to jostle around in their highchair.

Make sure to purchase a highchair with wheel locks or a stability bar to keep the highchair in place. The Graco DuoDiner 3-in-1 Highchair has wheels on the front of the highchair but a stabilizing bar in back. This maintains stability in the highchair without allowing toddlers to push and jiggle their chair to move towards safety hazard items in the kitchen like oven or stove knobs.

Trays

The trays on highchairs are great for creating extra space at the dinner table and easy cleanup for parents. Trays are designed differently, but usually contain a stable tray insert with a removable tray top. The removable tray top is to help parents with the ease of cleaning, but can also be a safety hazard for toddlers. Snap-on trays have interval locks that click into place. However, if the tray is not accurately clipped on there can be a gap wide enough to trap little fingers and hands. The clicking mechanism can become a harmful clamp on little fingers and can sometimes deteriorate over frequent usage.

Other designs on removable trays offer a lift-up flap like the Graco Contempo High Chair. However, the lift-up flap becomes appealing to inquisitive toddler minds and can easily be lifted during usage. With one little lift, the entire tray can detach to become entrapped into the front of the highchair seat. Not only will this spill on the food contents on the tray, but it will become extremely uncomfortable for your toddler. When looking at tray safety for your toddler highchair, look for insert mechanisms without under-mounting clips. This will keep the tray in place without any worrying of clipped in fingers.

Arm rests

Highchairs often have an adjustable stability tray that keeps the tray at an appropriate distance from your toddler. This is convenient for a growing toddler and also for placing the toddler in and out of the highchair However, the armrest bars and expandable level bars can sometimes pose as an entrapment hazard for small arms and fingers.

It’s important to look at the way the bar rests against the back of the highchair. A small gap can pin a small arm between the underbelly of the bar and the back of the chair. Ideally, there should be no gap; but the best feature is a scooped gap to allow easy movement of toddler arms and hands.

It’s important to look at safety features for all items purchased for your toddler. Just as parents focus on crib safety and car safety, highchairs are a place where toddlers spend a lot of time during the day. The convenient straps are great for seating your toddler in a space during their meals, but they are also sometimes used for other times as well. It’s important to look at certain safety features to ensure a safe environment for your child while in the home.