One of my favorite baby milestones is introducing solid foods. It’s exciting to share your love of food with your new baby, and it’s fun and rewarding to see your baby experience solid food and new flavors all at once! And the messy faces are just a cute bonus. Of course, high chairs and introducing solids go hand in hand, and a high chair becomes pretty essential once your baby starts solids. And since meal time with babies can be just a little messy (let’s just say their food will definitely make contact with the surface of their high chair), it’s wise to choose a non-toxic high chair to avoid exposing your baby to BPA, phthalates, and other harmful chemicals when they eat. I’ve listed a few of the best non-toxic high chairs (including the best wooden high chairs) below for you to choose from.
When do babies need a high chair?
You’ll likely begin using a high chair once your baby starts eating solid foods. This is usually anywhere between 4-6 months of age, depending on your pediatrician’s recommendation. (Though it’s important to note that a growing number of organizations now recommend waiting until 6 months of age to introduce solids.) A few of the developmental readiness factors your pediatrician will look for include:
- whether your baby can sit up unsupported, and has good head control,
- that your baby expresses an interest in food and in what you’re eating,
- and that your baby is developing the pincer grip, where they hold items between their thumb and index finger. (source: kellymom)
Personally, I prefer to wait until a baby is 6 months old to give solid foods. Babies have immature digestive systems, and I see no reason to rush solid foods. I also like to give baby probiotics from birth, though you should run this by your pediatrician first.
So, if you’re wondering when to buy a high chair and you’re reading this page, let me say that it’s probably not too early. The first few months with your baby will go by really fast and your baby will be in a high chair before you know it! (Bonus if you’re just putting together your baby registry — I suggest adding a high chair to the list.)
What to look for in a non-toxic high chair:
Here’s what to look for when choosing the right high chair for your baby and your home:
- Made with safe materials. I look for high chairs that don’t contain BPA, phthalates, PVC, or VOCs because I don’t want my kids to be exposed to these chemicals during mealtime. All-wood high chairs are a great option, too, though most will come with a food-safe silicone tray cover.
- Safe and stable. A high chair has to be safe for your baby to sit in. High chairs that don’t have a stable base (like restaurant high chairs, especially) worry me because they are a tipping hazard. (We actually considered buying a restaurant high chair for our home once my son turned 2, but I couldn’t get past my concern of them tipping.) You also want to make sure that the chair has a stable, five-point harness to secure your baby in the seat; the buckle should also be strong enough to be toddler-proof.
- Easy to clean. Some high chairs have fabric seats which can be thrown in the washing machine; while this may sound convenient, I personally find it difficult to keep up with the laundry with a little baby so this isn’t ideal for me. I prefer high chairs that easily wipe clean, meaning that all parts and pieces will stay in my kitchen.
- Size and footprint. If space is a concern, you’ll want to factor in size when choosing a high chair. Some high chairs can take up a lot of space. Consider a compact non-toxic high chair, or a portable high chair.
- Grows with your child. Some high chairs are convertible, and can be used for years as your child grows. While this is nice, it’s not a huge factor for me because I like to let my kids sit at the table when they are tall enough. But it may be an important factor for you, so keep this in mind as you are selecting a high chair.
Best Non-Toxic High Chairs:
Taking all of those factors into consideration, here are my favorite non-toxic high chairs.
Stokke Tripp Trapp: Possibly the most popular among the non-toxic high chairs, the Tripp Trapp is made from solid beechwood, and non-toxic water-based paint. The chair is manufactured in Europe, and the tray is free of BPA and phthalates. It is sold in 14 different colors, meaning you can choose the best look for your home.
This chair will grow with your child, but that means that baby accessories are sold a la carte including the tray, baby seating set, and cushion. It’s on the pricier side, but everyone who has this chair seems to rave about it! It’s on my wish list for baby #2.
Keekaroo Height Right High Chair: The Keekaroo is an adjustable wooden high chair, and its main selling point is that it’s a lower-priced alternative to the Stokke Tripp Trapp. It has an easy-to-clean cushion, and is finished with a low-VOC plant-based lacquer and comes in three colors, while the Stokke is made with a non-toxic water-based finish in 14 color choices. Overall, consider the Keekaroo if you’re looking for an adjustable wooden non-toxic high chair on a lower budget.
Abiie Beyond Wooden High Chair: A more affordable non-toxic high chair, the Abiie Beyond Wooden High Chair contains no harmful substances, including BPA, phthalates, PVC, nitrosamine, latex, or formaldehyde. The chair is made from cultivated beech wood that has been heat-sterilized. The chair is said to be sturdy, but its quality won’t match the higher-end chairs such as the Stokke or the Keekaroo. Amazon has the best pricing on this chair, but they have historically run out of stock for long periods of time. If this is the chair you want, I recommend snagging it if it’s available.
OXO Tot Sprout High Chair: While this isn’t a solid-wood high chair, the OXO Tot Sprout High Chair is a beautiful and well-designed chair that is free of BPA, phthalates, and PVC. This makes it a good option for parents who may want the convenience of a plastic high chair (i.e. easy to clean) while still avoiding these harmful chemicals. This is still a great way to go, in my opinion!
BABYBJORN High Chair: For compact spaces, the BABYBJORN high chair is an absolute winner. This ergonomic high chair is made from steel and plastic, and contains no BPA, phthalates, cadmium, lead, or bromine. Parents love it because it comes pre-assembled, it takes up little room (and folds up), the tray is snug and reaches right up to your baby, and babies seem to love it. It is well-designed and even folds down, making it a great option for use in smaller spaces. Some parents have commented that this chair feels a little snug for their kids who are in the higher percentile for height or weight, so keep that in mind when considering this chair.