In a year full of what feels like nonstop transitions, you may now find yourself trying to decide when the right time is for another one: the time to move Baby out of her high chair.
Most children transition into a new seating arrangement some time between 18 and 24 months, though some toddlers show signs of readiness sooner, and others may remain content in their high chairs well into their preschool years.
Unlike many baby devices that have strict weight limits, most high chairs are designed to hold children up to 50 pounds, so there’s a good chance your decision about when to move Baby will depend more on her maturity level, what your family wants, and how quickly she picks up table manners than it will depend on her size.
What time is the “right” time?
This one depends mostly on the way Baby acts at mealtime. If she starts to get fussy at the dinner table, there’s a chance she is trying to tell you she wants to “fit in” better with the family. High chairs can feel isolating to toddlers – after all, they literally put children on another level from the rest of the family. Certainly, if Baby starts trying to climb out of her high chair, it’s a clear sign it’s time to make the shift to ensure her safety. Short of that, though, the right time to switch is mostly your call to make – well, yours and Baby’s.
When is it safe to switch?
Children can safely transition to a booster seat once they are consistently sitting up and supporting their body weight on their own – typically between 9 and 12 months. However, the fact that Baby is physically capable of sitting in a booster seat doesn’t necessarily mean it’s time to put the high chair in storage. If Baby is happy and comfortable in the high chair, there’s no rush to make the switch.
What is the best booster seat to buy?
There are many brands and style options to choose from when buying a booster seat, and some high chairs even convert to boosters. Boosters lack the security of a five-point harness that high chairs provide, so it’s important not to make the switch until you feel your little one is ready. For her safety, you can find a model that has a strap for her body, as well as one that straps to the chair, which will prevent sliding. It’s also important to make sure the booster is compatible with your dining set, since some seats only safely attach to dining chairs that do not have cushions. Lastly, the seat should be low enough when pulled up to the table to give Baby some leg room, otherwise, you may end up dealing with the same isolation-induced tantrums as when she felt too far away in her high chair.