One of the joys of parenting is seeing your child develop right in front of your eyes, to the point where things that were once an essential part of their daily routine have become redundant.
High chairs have a similar lifespan, so if you started using a baby chair a year or two ago, you’re probably wondering exactly when to transition away from one.
There is no set age for when your baby is ready to stop using a high chair, although typically most toddlers transition from a high chair between the ages of 18 months to 3 years old.
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When To Stop Using A High Chair
Moving your toddler away from their high chair is a lovely feeling, because it can help make family meal times more inclusive, particularly if you all eat the same foods like well-cooked and unprocessed meat or baby friendly vegetables.
For many parents seeing their little one sit on a “big girl chair” or “big boy chair” is also a lovely milestone, although it does hammer home just how fast your baby is growing up!
But how do you know exactly when your child is ready?
The answer can be tricky, because there isn’t a set age as to when children should stop using high chairs.
Typically however, most children transition from a baby chair between the ages of 18-36 months.
But before transitioning your toddler away, it’s important to ensure they are ready for and want to make the switch.
In addition, there are also safety considerations you should keep in mind before deciding if your little one is truly ready to say goodbye to their chair, so let’s check out some key signs to look out for when determining if the time is right.
5 Signs Your Baby Is Ready To Give Up Their High Chair
1. They Want To Copy You
Children naturally look up to older kids and their parents.
So if your little one has been watching mom and dad or older siblings sitting comfortably on a “adult chair”, then it’s only natural they want to copy you.
When your baby is young they won’t have noticed that they aren’t sitting in the same type of chair as you, but once they become older, spot this and are unhappy they aren’t able to copy you, it might be time to consider ditching theirs.
2. Fussiness In High Chair
If your toddler is kicking and screaming each time they are put into their baby chair then this may be a tell-tale sign they are ready for a change.
But you should also look out for less obvious signs, like not wanting to stay seated in a high chair for even short durations, as these could also indicate your child has started to outgrow it.
3. Too Big For Their Chair
Some high chairs can safely take the weight of a grown adult, but others have much lower recommended weight limits.
If the one you have has quite a low limit, for example 30 pounds, then you should discontinue use when they are nearing this weight (which could be as early as 24 months depending on your child).
4. Able To Unbuckle Themselves
Given how far above the ground they sit, high chairs can be a serious safety hazard – just imagine a toddler who is standing up in one falling on a hard kitchen floor.
If your toddler is able to unbuckle their safety harness and “free” themselves, then it’s probably best to make the transition to another chair for safety reasons.
5. They Can Follow Instructions
One of the main advantages of a baby chair for younger children is that it “forces” them to sit in one place for long enough to hopefully eat a nutritious meal.
Sitting still while eating is also important for safety reasons and to help prevent choking, so before moving away from a high chair it’s vital your baby knows they should remain seated while eating.
If your child understands that grown-up chairs are not for playing with and standing on, and they can sit on one for long enough to eat a meal, then it’s probably time to say goodbye to the baby chair.
Is A High Chair Necessary?
Most families find that high chairs are a necessary part of raising a young child.
Costs can vary from $40 to $200 or more, but given they last several years, and are something you will likely use 3 times a day once your baby is over 6 months of age, they represent excellent value for money.
While high chairs do have their safety risks (for example risk of falling), they are considered to be one of the safest ways to feed your child because they help ensure your child is strapped into a comfortable and safe seating position while eating.
However it’s worth checking out some good high chair alternatives so you can make an informed decision.
What To Use After A High Chair
A lot of parents find the transition from a high chair can be made easier by using a booster seat.
Booster seats vary from a seat with a built-in harness and other safety features, to more simple versions such as padded seats (which are like giant padded cushions).
If your child needs some extra support to keep them in place, then it’s probably best to go with a booster seat that has straps to keep your baby in position and prevent them from slipping or falling off.
On the other hand, if you baby can sit still and comfortably, and they just need a bit of additional height, then a booster pad will probably be all you need.
- There is no set time when children should stop using high chairs, but for most children it’s typically around 18-36 months old.
- Some key signs that it might be time to say goodbye to the high chair include: fussiness, wanting to copy you, being able to sit down for long periods, being able to unbuckle themselves and physically outgrowing the chair.
- When it’s time to transition away, many parents find that booster seats are a helpful accessory to make the switch to regular seating easier, safer and more comfortable.