Before having a baby, you were probably on the go. Always something to see or do. Now that you have a sweet little one to take along, you may not want to give up everything you used to do. Thankfully there are plenty of tools available for parents like you so you can take your baby along and live life to the fullest.
A portable high chair can give you the flexibility and freedom to enjoy outings without having to hold your squirmy baby the entire time. Many great restaurants don’t have high chairs available for customers. Don’t you worry, you won’t be stuck with happy meals. We’ve got five portable high chairs to keep you exploring, baby and all.
Do I really need a portable high chair?
Well, strictly speaking, you don’t, if you don’t mind holding your baby nonstop or lugging around the car seat when you go out. It’s always up to you what baby gear you choose to purchase. That said, a portable high chair is a versatile purchase because it can do double duty at home and out in town.
Portable high chairs are awesome because they can be used with almost any table or chair. Some set up without needing anything to prop up on, making them even more flexible. We’ve covered all the bases so you can see which type will suit your lifestyle the best.
What should I look for when buying one?
The first thing you should watch out for is flimsy construction. This thing needs to safely support your baby, even when they’re wiggling and trying to climb out. One made of cheap, easily broken materials is an accident waiting to happen.
You also need to make sure that the support system will actually brace against the table or chair like it’s supposed to. Ones with arms that are too short are much more likely to fall down. Your baby’s weight will help keep the chair in place, but a good quality chair has other measures to ensure that a shift in weight doesn’t dislodge the entire system.
What kind of portable high chair do I need?
This one depends on what you do more frequently. If you’re into camping, one that is freestanding makes more sense for you than one that hangs on a table. You also need to consider how easy the chair is to set up and take down when deciding on a type. Your activities and location will help you determine how much room you have to set your baby’s high chair up.
Is fabric or plastic better?
This one really depends on just how portable you need your high chair to be. Fabric is, by nature, much more lightweight and easily stowed than plastic. On the other hand, plastic is great for easy cleaning.
If you’re buying a high chair for use at home and during outings, we recommend going for a plastic version. You’ll appreciate the ability to wipe it clean after heavy use. Fabric seats are better for light, occasional use when you won’t have too much to do to clean up afterward.
Are portable high chairs safe?
A good portable high chair is perfectly safe for your baby, provided you use it properly. Reading over the owner’s manual for the model you choose will help you learn the right conditions to use your baby’s high chair. Even self-standing versions need to be used correctly, or they can create a dangerous situation for your little one.
One of the best ways to keep your baby safe
is to use some common sense. Babies who can’t sit on their own should not be
placed in any high chair. Avoiding fastening the high chair to rickety tables
and chairs goes a long way in preventing accidents. Also, keeping in mind the
movement of the baby when securing the chair will help you set it up safely.
We would never want anything to happen to your children, so we’ve only recommended the best and safest portable high chairs below.
Chicco is a big name in baby gear and for a good reason. Their portable booster seat is a breeze to use. It folds to make a flat parcel that can easily slide under your car’s seats when you need to take it somewhere. The carrying strap allows you to wrangle your baby, diaper bag, and the chair without difficulty.
To secure your little one, there is a strap to fasten around the back of the chair you place the seat on. There are anti-slip feet to prevent your baby from scooting the chair all over on slick wooden or metal dining chairs. The entire seat is plastic that can be wiped down easily to keep it clean.
- The adjustable tray moves to three different positions to accommodate your baby as they grow.
- The price point is friendly for any budget.
- The wide-open design helps prevent food from getting trapped in hard to clean crannies.
- The tray is a bit hard to put on and take off.
- The small size of the tray and chair aren’t great for serving a meal on.
Inglesina’s table high chair is a smart, lightweight design that offers true mobility. Easy twisting connectors clamp the bottom of the table underneath the top arm to hold the chair tight and secure. They work on a tabletop up to 3.5″ thick.
There are several thoughtful features on the Inglesina chair, like the storage pocket on the back and the fabric-covered three-point harness. The material is washable so you can toss it in with the laundry when a wipe-down won’t do the trick. Since the chair weighs only 4.7 pounds, you can easily tote it around with you.
- Holds a child up to 37 pounds or 36 months old.
- The clamps grip the table very tightly.
- Comes with a carrying case.
- If you are not careful to fully tighten the clamps your baby may fall.
- There is a gap between the table and chair that catches crumbs.
Hiccapop made a smart portable stand-alone high chair so that you can set up the baby comfortably no matter where you are. The chair unfolds like a camping chair and has a plastic swivel tray for your munchkin to eat or play on. The base is wide enough to prevent tipping over, and the feet flare out to provide even more stability.
The fabric cover is easily removed and is machine washable. There are three classic colors available, and a pocket on the back for storing eating essentials like bibs while on the go. The chair weighs just 4.19 pounds and folds up very compact.
- Easy to set up even when holding baby.
- A full lifetime guarantee comes with the chair.
- The tray is large enough to fit baby’s meal on it.
- The latches to remove the tray are stiff and can be difficult to use.
- The chair doesn’t work well for older babies nearing their toddler years.
This briefcase style booster seat from The First Years is so intelligently designed it hurts. When you unzip the seat and pull out the valve, it self inflates. When you’re ready to pack it all backup, you push the air out and zip it back up. The whole thing weighs less than a pound, yet it transforms into a full-size booster seat that holds up to a 50-pound child.
You can wipe the fabric clean fairly easily and take the chair just about anywhere. The chair easily sets up on any dining chair and has a belt to keep your baby fixed in place. There is no tray with this one, so you need to plan on having a table to push the baby up to at mealtimes.
- Folds into a very small package that stows easily.
- You can set up the chair with only one hand with the self-inflating feature.
- Provides enough boost to help your kiddo reach the table.
- Only for babies who sit well on their own.
- This is not the most secure chair on the list.
Cosco’s high chair is designed to be good for the home and out and about. It stands on its own, so you don’t have to rely on securing it to the tabletop. It also folds flat to stow easily in your vehicle.
Unlike the other chairs reviewed, this one will hold a child that weighs up to 50 pounds. You can use this one well into the toddler years. The footrest helps for little ones who aren’t quite that size yet.
- The seat can be wiped down easily to clean it.
- The stand-alone legs allow you to use this chair in more locations.
- The tray adjusts in and out.
- The fabric cannot be removed and machine washed.
- The tray is rather small for serving baby’s meal on.
And the winner is…
Chicco takes the win with its smartly designed travel booster seat. Some of the others may have cooler features, but Chicco delivers where it’s important. They prove that classic never goes out of style.
The safety of the Chicco seat is our favorite feature, of course. The strap to fasten it to the chair and the anti-slip feet are critical for booster seats. Any mom who’s tried to keep a baby or toddler contained knows how quickly they can move their seat all over the place in an effort to escape. We love that this one prevents a dangerous situation caused by that wiggling.
We also chose the Chicco because of its mom-friendly design. You can wipe this bad boy clean while you’re giving the table an after-meal wipe down too. There’s nothing we love more than ease. While any of these seats would make a good choice for your baby, we’re sold on the Chicco and think you will be too.