The high chair can seem like the perfect spot to confine your baby or toddler while you’re eating a meal or trying to get some dinner prepped in the kitchen. Throw a few Cheerios on the tray and everyone is happy. But the high chair is also one of those things that parents of little ones use so often that your safety measures can become lax over time.
With high chair-related injuries (mainly falls) on the rise, it might be worth a quick crash course in high chair safety.
Most of these injuries occur when a child stands while attempting to get out of the chair. The resulting head, neck, and facial injuries can range from cuts to concussions.
To avoid falls and injuries, follow these guidelines:
Check the chair’s stability
The chair should not be wobbly or easily tipped over.
Check the lock
If your high chair folds up, it will need to be locked into place each time it is opened (you should hear and feel the lock click into place). If the chair has wheels, check that those are locked, too.
Use the safety straps
This is a biggie. Kids can’t be trusted to sit unrestrained even for a short period of time. Use a three- or five-point harness with a crotch strap, which prevents the child from slipping down and falling.
Keep the chair positioned away from the table
Also the counter, wall or any other furniture. If their little feet can get some leverage, they can push or kick the chair over. Also, make sure you keep sharp objects, tablecloths, utensils, plates and hot foods or liquids out of their reach.
Don’t leave them alone
Kids should always be supervised when they’re in their high chair to make sure they’re not trying to escape and to make sure siblings aren’t trying to climb on it, which could also cause it to tip.
High chairs that hook onto tables are not as safe as freestanding chairs
However, if you’re using one in a restaurant or during travel, get one that locks onto the table. The table should be heavy enough to support the weight of the child without tipping, and the child’s feet should not be able to touch the table support.
Any pushing with their feet could cause the seat to dislodge from the table.