Today's high chairs are available with loads of features, from swivel seats to multi-use modes, and in so many styles and colors it will make your head spin. All of that variety comes at a price, though. High chairs can be expensive! Luckily, there are plenty of budget-friendly, or even cheap, high chairs available today to keep your baby well-contained at meal time without breaking the bank.
In the U.S., there are no mandatory federal safety standards for high chairs yet. However, the... majority of high chair manufacturers are already building and testing their high chairs to the voluntary ASTM safety standards. The ASTM standards will form the backbone of mandatory U.S. federal standards when they're put in place within a few years. That means even cheap high chairs sold in the U.S. are likely tested to the same standards as the expensive models.
When it comes to high chair safety, though, the way you use the high chair is even more important than the cost. According to a 2013 study from Nationwide Children's Hospital, the majority of high chair related injuries happened when a child was not using the chair according to the manufacturer's instructions. Most of all, the injured kids were overwhelmingly not strapped in with the safety harness. “Two-thirds of the children who fell from a high chair and were injured were either climbing or standing in the chair,” said Dr. Gary Smith, who lead the study. “One of the things parents need to remember is that these children need to be strapped in using the high chair’s restraining systems to prevent those kinds of injuries.”
No matter the cost of your baby's high chair, the following tips will help you choose and use a safe one:
- Always use the harness!
- Select a high chair with wide-set legs that won't tip easily.
- Don't put the high chair near a table or counter where baby could push off and knock the chair over.
- Don't allow your toddler to climb or play on the high chair.
- Supervise your child while he or she is in the high chair.
- Keep your child's fingers away from moving pieces of the high chair while you are adjusting it.
- If there are broken or missing pieces, stop using the high chair until it can be repaired or replaced.
The high chairs listed below meet ASTM voluntary standards. All of them are inexpensive, coming in at less than $100.
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At less than $20, the IKEA Antilop is hands-down the best cheap high chair out there. Don't let the low price fool you, though. This clever high chair is easy to use, easy to clean, and easy to transport. The smooth seat doesn't trap food and wipes off quickly. There's a harness and a post between baby's legs for safety. The tray pops off in a flash for washing up, and you can use the high chair without the tray, as well - just pull the chair right up to the table. When it's... time to travel, the legs pop out quickly to be packed up. This storage capability also makes the Antilop high chair perfect for grandparents' house or other places where you don't need to have a high chair set up full time.
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As the name implies, the Ingenuity Trio can be used in three modes - traditional high chair, booster seat, and toddler chair. Even better, the booster seat and the toddler seat can be used at the same time, for two different kids, providing even more value for the price. The tray is dishwasher safe and can be removed with one hand for quick washing. The Trio has four tray positions and three recline positions. The seat pad is also removable for machine washing. Locking caster wheels are an... upscale feature not typically found on budget high chairs.
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At less than half the cost of some other high chairs on this list, the Simple Fold certainly qualifies as budget-friendly. Hence the name, this high chair folds quickly to nearly flat, and it even stands up when folded. If you live in a small home, that means you can easily fold the high chair up after meals and stash it against a wall or in a closet so you don't need to maneuver around it all day. The folding capability makes this another great option for grandparents' house. The tray... has three positions, and the seat pad has smooth fabric that wipes clean instantly.
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You'll need to find a sale for this Graco high chair to be under $100, but sales are relatively easy to locate on it. The Slim Spaces high chair has 6 height positions and 3 seat recline positions. It's easy to fold, and has the flattest fold of any full-size, full-feature high chair. It's just 8.5 inches thick when folded. There are two front wheels for easy maneuvering around the house, plus a one-hand removable tray and dishwasher safe tray insert for quick clean up. The seat pad... is stain-resistant, and it's also machine-washable. The removable infant body support allows your little one to comfortably join you at the table even before he or she is ready for solid foods. This is a luxury high chair at a very nice price.Continue to 5 of 11 below.
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Six height positions, three seat recline positions, and three tray positions give the Sit Right high chair a custom fit for your baby. The tray can be removed with one hand, and both the tray and the insert are dishwasher safe. The seat fabric is very soft and comfortable for baby, but it's also smooth enough to wipe clean with a damp cloth after meals. The legs fold together, but the seat doesn't become more compact when folded.
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Considering the ultra-low price, this Evenflo high chair offers quite a lot for your and baby. It's a traditional high chair, of course, with a little platform beneath the seat for storing feeding supplies or a few cloths for clean up. The seat pad wipes clean with a damp cloth, and the tray can be removed for washing up, too. You can also remove the seat portion from the platform section so your little one can sit with feet touching the floor. When you remove the tray from the seat portion,... the tabletop piece can sit in front of it and your child can use it for snacks or other activities.
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The SmartClean Trio 3-in-1 just squeaks in under the $100 mark when it's on sale, but it's definitely worth a look thanks to its superior ease of cleaning. The high chair itself has all of the features of the Trio 3-in-1 shown above, but the SmartClean version has a nifty foam seat pad that doesn't hold on to food at all. It's among the easiest to clean overall. In fact, you can just toss the seat pad in the dishwasher along with the tray. This is a full-featured, upscale high... chair at a great price.
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Looking for sleek modern design at a low price? The Blames high chair has a beautiful wood frame painted bright red or classic black, and a removable white tray that's easy to clean. There's a harness and a post between baby's legs for safety. The seat is table height, so baby can enjoy the meal along with you. Separate machine-washable seat padding is available, though the high chair is perfectly usable without it.Continue to 9 of 11 below.
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Not only does the Slim Snacker high chair fold nearly flat for storage, it folds with one hand and stands while folded, so whisking it into a closet or up against a wall is fast and easy. It's about 11 inches thick when folded.This high chair also has an easy-clean seat pad and a mesh basket beneath the seat to store bibs and other lightweight feeding accessories. The seat has three recline positions, so you can use it even when your baby is little (or for those days when he or she falls... asleep in the spaghetti).
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This Evenflo high chair has a pared-down features list, but it still has everything you need to feed your little one. There are two seat recline positions and three tray positions to give an optimal fit for every baby. Front wheels help you move the chair easily around the dining room. The seat pad is machine-washable, and the tray liner can be cleaned in the dishwasher. The whole thing folds to about 8 inches thick for storage or travel, so this is another nice high chair for occasional use... situations.
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Perfect for travel or outdoor use, the Pop n Sit high chair weighs less than 8 pounds and comes with a storage bag so it's ready to go when you are. The lightweight frame opens up in just a few seconds. The seat fabric is machine washable, but it also wipes clean easily if you're out and about, so you don't have to worry about putting a filthy high chair back in that storage bag. The plastic tray pops on and off easily and cleans up quickly thanks to the seamless design.