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Portable high chairs review and compare

Harnesses, boosters and clip-on toddler and infant seats are compact alternatives to a standard high chair.
 
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01.Introduction

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We have test results for 27 portable high chairs, priced from $29 to $150.

Our expert tester assessed each seat for:

  • ingestion or inhalation of small objects (choking hazards)
  • sharp corners, edges and points 
  • entrapment in openings and between moving components
  • means of occupant retention and security of attachment, and
  • structural integrity and strength.

Regular high chairs are a popular way to seat a toddler at the table, but can be bulky and expensive. If you’re looking for a cheaper and more compact option, a portable high chair can be a good alternative. There are three types:

  • Clip-on or hook-on chairs are attached to the table, which should be solid and stable. Clamps need to be tight enough to hold it in place without damaging the table. Clip-on chairs generally have no foot support and usually fold or flatten for storage or transport.
  • Booster seats strap to a chair and elevate the child to table height. They can have a tray and may be adjustable.
  • Harnesses are strapped to a dining chair. They don’t elevate the child to table level, but have the advantage of being very compact and portable.

While portable high chairs are a good alternative to standard high chairs, they are more dependent on being installed correctly. Clip-on models must attach to a solid and stable table that won’t topple when the child is in the chair, while booster seats must anchor securely to the chair and not move around.

A common issue we’ve found among these products is the lack of adequate side support and, in some cases, also back support. This leaves your child more at risk of slipping or falling sideways, especially if the portable high chair doesn’t have a secure and effective harness or isn’t anchored securely to the chair or table. Most manufacturers state in their instructions or on the product to never leave your child unattended in the seat, and if this simple precaution is taken, many of the risks can be reduced. 

A European standard covering chair-mounted seats (booster seats) was released late in 2012 – EN 16120:2012. Our CHOICE test method is predominantly the same as this standard, although the European standard doesn’t cover side and back support. This could explain why many manufacturers seem to overlook this issue and fail this requirement in our test.

For more information furniture for babies and kids see Living and kitchen or Nursery.

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Models tested

Clip-on seats

  • Chicco 360°
  • Chicco Quick Adjust
  • Childcare Primo
  • Infa Baby Diner Chair
  • Mountain Buggy Pod #
  • Phil & Teds Lobster
  • Phil & Teds Metoo

Booster seats

  • Baby Solutions Feeding Booster Seat #
  • Benbat Yummigo #
  • Brica Fold ‘N Go #
  • Bumbo Combo # (A)
  • Chicco Mr.Party
  • Fisher-Price Healthy Care Deluxe
  • Gold Bug Playette Pop Up #
  • Infa-Secure Feed Buddy #
  • Infa-Secure 431 Vera Foldable
  • Litaf (Big W) Hang N Seat #
  • Love n Care BP Boost Portable Booster Seat
  • Mamas & Papas Baby Bud #
  • Minui Handysitt
  • Safety 1st Recline & Grow
  • Safety 1st Snack & Scribble #
  • The First Years Mi Swivel #
  • The First Years Swing Tray Booster Seat

Harnesses

  • Bambinoz Portachair
  • Phil & Teds Wriggle Wrapper
  • Snazzy Baby My Baby’s Own #
  • Totseat The Washable Squashable Highchair #

# Newly tested models.
(A) This seat is only meant for use on the floor. The manufacturer clearly states in the instructions and on the packaging and product that this product is not to be used on elevated surfaces. See What to look for for more information on this product.

How we test

Our tester, Antonio Bonacruz, checked each portable high chair for safety and security. Since there is no Australian Standard for these types of chairs, he developed a set of safety requirements and tests that are based on various Australian standards for children’s products and, where relevant, the European standard EN 1272:1998 – Table-mounted chairs (which covers clip-on or hook-on types of chair).

Antonio assesses each chair for:

  • Ingestion or inhalation of small objects (choking hazards)
  • Sharp corners, edges and points
  • Entrapment in openings – could a child get their finger, limb or head trapped in any accessible openings?
  • Entrapment between moving components
  • Is the harness adequate to safely secure the child?
  • Is the height of the side and back support adequate 
  • Structural integrity and strength
  • Does the clamping or strapping system adequately fasten the seat to the table or chair, so that it won’t slip or fall off, creating a falling hazard for the child?
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