Baby product safety guide

We've put together a guide to help you with your buying decisions. It focuses on features, safety and ease of use.
 
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07.High chairs

It's time for first foods - and first food-fights. Time to choose a high chair: that we can help you with, the mess is up to you!

What to look for:

Safety

  • Look for a label stating compliance to the Australian Standard for high chairs, AS 4684. This standard is not mandatory but high chairs that pass it are much more likely to be safe than those that don't.
  • Armrest/side barrier: can prevent a child from sliding sideways out of the seat. It should move with the chair when you push it from the reclined into the upright position.
  • Castors: If there are castors, make sure at least the front or rear castors have brakes.
  • Construction and framework: should be sturdy and robust enough to carry the weight of a child.
  • Crotch or vertical bar: at the front of the seat (or, alternatively, a crotch strap, preferably wide and firm) helps prevent the child from sliding forwards.
  • Five-point harness: helps prevent a child from falling out of the seat or climbing out of the chair. High chairs account for 25 per cent of nursery furniture accidents, often due to falls. The harness buckles should be quick and easy for you to engage, but not easy for a child to release. The length of straps should be adjustable. Look for a chair whose five-point harness is mounted on the back of the seat at shoulder height.
  • Hazards: No parts when moved should be able to pinch, crush or trap a child's finger, toe, limb or head.
  • Horizontal bar: at the front of the seat helps prevent a child from falling forward once the tray is removed.
  • Stability: the legs should taper out or extend outwards, preferably farther than all other parts of the chair.

Comfort and ease of use

  • Foldable chairs: should be easy to fold and preferably lock into position. The more compact when folded, the easier it is to store.
  • Footrest or leg support: it's important to support the child's feet or calves.
  • Height adjustable (or the seat reclinable) chairs: they should be easy for you (but not for a child) to lock and unlock. The locks should either be difficult to reach for a seated child, or require some dexterity to release.
  • Seat widths and depths: if you're planning to use a chair for several years, choose one with a larger seat. Some chairs have booster padding for smaller children.
  • Trays: should be secure when it's fitted but easy to remove, attach and adjust (if applicable).

Cleaning

Consider the following when you’re looking for a high chair that’s easy to clean:

  • Seat material/padding Fabric seat covers can stain easily - saucy stains can soak into the fabric, and you may find you won’t be able to completely remove some food stains. Plastic seat coverings are easier to wipe over. However, plastic covers can still stain and can be especially noticeable on white covers. Then there are models that have no padding at all and are even easier to wipe over. All seat covers can be removable for cleaning; however you’d want to avoid having to remove the cover, as when it comes to putting it on again you may find it to be fiddly.
  • The tray is generally easy to clean. Look for a smooth tray with minimal textured areas (that can be harder to clean) and no gaps that can be hard to access.
  • The harness Food can accumulate in the cracks and crevices of the buckle pieces and certain foods can stain the harness material. These areas are harder to access and clean thoroughly. Some harnesses are easier to clean than others. 
  • Cracks and crevices You’ll want to avoid a high chair that has lots of cracks and crevices where food, dirt and grime can accumulate. These spots can be particularly difficult and fiddly to reach and clean.

For more information on how we test high chairs as well as our test results, check our Highchairs report.

 

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