Baby Chairs for Grandparents' Houses

Innovative Models Compete With Old Favorites

If you're a grandparent, you probably used traditional high chairs for your own children. Remember how they managed to get creamed peas into every crevice? Today there are many choices for baby chairs for grandparents' houses, from traditional to modern. New grandparents will want to know just what is available. Just remember that some things don't change. Babies are still good at fingerpainting with peas.

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    If floor space is at a premium, grandparents may opt for this chair which straps into a kitchen chair. It reclines for infants, has a washable pad, and secures babies with a three-point harness. Choosing this type of seat does raise some other issues, such as where the seat will be stored when not in use. Leaving it in the chair all the time doesn't suit everyone as the chair can't be fully pushed under the table. It does convert to a booster seat for older children.

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    This ergonomically designed high chair looks as if it belongs in a contemporary arts museum instead of in Grandpa's house. The ingenious design works for ages from six months all the way to the teen years. Designed to be pulled up to the dining table, this chair's adjustable seat and footrest allow your grandchild to sit comfortably at any height. One drawback is that the Z-design of the chair means that the base is a bit of a tripping hazard. The Tripp Trapp is available in natural wood...MORE or in a selection of lively colors. Pads can be ordered separately.

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    This product from Phil and Ted is easy to like. The body of the chair is covered with a soft material, but it wipes clean and has no cracks for food to hide. The tray is dishwasher safe, and the whole chair weighs less than 10 pounds. If you need to stow the chair between grandchild visits, the back legs can be removed so that it fits into a space just 26 inches wide. Best of all for frugal grandparents, the chair can be lowered to become a regular chair for toddlers and preschoolers.

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    This is one of the chairs designed to fit children in their first year; it is suggested for children from 3 to 14 months. Designed to be placed on the floor rather than on a chair or table, it isn't really useful for feeding, other than giving the baby dry cereal or other finger food. It is, however, pretty darn cute, and it supports babies who aren't quite able to support themselves. It can be used with or without the tray, and no harnesses or straps are necessary.

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    This is more of a travel chair than a chair designed for home use, but it's so cleverly designed that a grandparent just might not be able to resist it. Folded, it's a carrying case for food or toys. Open it up, and it becomes a booster chair with a three-point harness to hold baby and a sturdy strap to anchor it to the chair seat. It's recommended for babies 9-36 months old.

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    This attractive chair has a super slim fold, a plus for grandparents who have downsized. It has easy-to-change height and reclining settings. A five-point harness means that children will not be able to wiggle out of the chair, but getting them in and out will not be as easy as with some other chairs. The chair is on lockable casters so it can be moved easily, another plus for grandparents. Also, the tray can be removed with one hand.

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    This classic restaurant-style high chair with a three-point harness is good for children who can sit up well. It cleans easily and doesn't take up much space. Since it doesn't have a tray but is pulled up to the table, it allows the child to be a part of the dinner circle. It also allows access to items on the dinner table, which can be a hazard to the child and also to Grannie's china.

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    And now for something quite different -- a lightweight canvas chair that clamps to the table with ingenious "lobster claws." The claws work something like vise grips. Grandparents will love the fact that it can be stored in a tiny space, but it may not work for certain types of tables. The canvas doesn't come off the frame but can be wiped for daily cleaning and dunked in soapy water ever so often.

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    For grandparents who are concerned about stability and good looks, this high chair is a great choice. In addition, it folds down for easy storage. The chair back has three different positions to provide a comfortable experience for younger babies; however, there is some space between the baby and the tray, which means that some food falls down, making for a messier dining experience.

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    This hook-on chair with a difference will keep both baby and adults happy. The chair has six different positions. Baby can face toward the table for self-feeding or to the side to be fed by an adult. They can even face away from the table to watch during meal preparation. Clean-up isn't super easy. The fabric pad can be machine-washed, but it will probably need it after most meals.

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    The Bumbo revolutionized baby seats. Made of a single piece of soft plastic, the Bumbo is designed for safe sitting for babies who can't quite manage it on their own, although they should be able to support their head fully before using the Bumbo. This type of seat should be used only on the floor, and babies should be supervised. It works for babies up to 22 pounds.

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    This all-plastic booster has the advantages and disadvantages of any chair designed to be strapped into a kitchen chair: it doesn't take up floor space but does tie up one of your regular seating units. It does fold up and fits in a small space, which makes it a natural for grandparents' houses. It can be used as soon as children can sit up well and accommodates weights all the way up to 50 pounds. The back and tray can be removed to make a simple booster for older children.

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    If you're a grandparent with a sense of style, you'll be intrigued by this good-looking chair by Svan Signet. Grandparents will appreciate that the chair is designed so that older children can climb in by themselves -- no lifting of heavy toddlers! Also, the chair can be converted to regular seating when it is no longer needed for a child. It is not foldable, but who wants to put away a chair that looks this good!

Now that you have feeding time covered, what about naptime? Baby cribs come in an amazing variety of styles, too. And don't forget the wipes, sippies and other baby supplies.

Recommendations are based on study of specifications, published reviews and word-of-mouth rather than actual testing of the products.