Product Reviews Feeding Baby
Here are recommendations for kitchen boosters and hook-on chairs!
Hook-on chair. Top pick: Chicco’s two entrants in this category are excellent. The Caddy ($40) has a compact fold, three point harness and “quick grip” table clamps. The seat pad is removable and machine washable. FYI: Chicco makes a version of this hook-on chair with a seat that rotates, dubbed the 360 Hook On ($63). Either one is a good bet.
We also like the Inglesina Fast Table Chair ($69), which has a quick flat-fold for travel. The cover is removable and hand-washable. A bit more pricey than the Chicco Caddy, but the parent feedback is excellent.
Kitchen booster seat with tray. Top pick: Fisher Price Healthy Care Booster Seat ($22). Fisher Price has a winner here: we liked the snap-off feeding tray that can go into the dishwasher, easy fold and shoulder strap for road trips plus three different height settings. When your child gets older, the tray removes so the seat becomes a basic booster. The only caveat: the back does not recline, so your baby must be able to sit up on his own to use it safely. (No biggie for most toddlers, but we know some folks consider these boosters as high-chair replacements—not a good idea unless your child can sit upright). Price: $22, making this a good value.
Runner Up: Summer Infant Deluxe Comfort Booster. This affordable ($17) booster is similar to our top pick, but adds one nice bonus: it features a compact fold for easy transport. No snack tray, but the full-size tray is dishwasher-safe. Be aware: this seat has a 33-pound limit—as a result this one won’t work for larger toddlers. (FYI: The Fisher Price Healthy Care booster is good up to 45 lbs.).
Kitchen booster seat without tray: The Price Lionheart Soft Booster ($32, right) is our pick for kids who’ve outgrown their highchairs, but still need a boost in a regular chair. Designed for kids three and up, the foam seat includes a rubberized, slip-resistant grip.
Another good bet in this category is the OXO Tot Perch booster seat ($30). It quickly collapses and has a carry handle for travel. Reader feedback on this one has been quite positive.
A brief warning: The Bumbo Seat ($36) is a popular seat designed for younger infants to sit upright. The problem? Babies have fallen out of the seat and been injured, especially when the Bumbo is used on elevated surfaces (which is contrary to the manufacturer’s instructions that it only be used on a floor). There have also been reports of injuries to children when the Bumbo has been on the floor. As a result, the seat has been the subject of several safety recalls. We suggest passing on the Bumbo.
Your toddler has outgrown his high chair, but doesn’t quite fit into the adult chairs at the kitchen table. What to do? Consider a booster. There are three types of kitchen booster seats on the market today:
1 HOOK-ON CHAIRS. As the name implies, these seats hook on to a table, instead of attaching to a chair. Pros: Lightweight; yet most can hold toddlers up to 35 to 40 lbs. Very portable—many parents use these chairs as a sanitary alternative when they dine out since many restaurants seemed to have last cleaned their high chairs during the Carter administration. Cons: May not work with certain tables, like those with pedestal bases. Fear of tipping an unstable table leads some restaurants to prohibit these chairs. Hook-on chairs do not recline, a feature you see on regular boosters.
2 BOOSTER SEATS WITH TRAYS. These boosters strap to a chair and usually have a tray. Pros: Most fold flat for travel. Some have multiple seat levels. Can use with or without a tray. Cons: Child may not be sitting up at table height. Some brands have too-small trays and difficult to adjust straps make for a loose fit.
3 PLAIN BOOSTERS (NO TRAY). These chairs are just boosters— nothing fancy, no trays. Pros: Better bet for older toddlers (age four or five) who want to eat at the table. Cons: No restraint system or belt, so this isn’t a choice for younger toddlers.
See the Recommended tab above for specific brands.
A EXCELLENT-our top pick!
B GOOD-above average quality, prices, and creativity.
C FAIR-could stand some improvement.
D POOR-yuck! Could stand some major improvement.