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Choosing the right high chair for you and your baby can feel like a daunting task. There are so many different chairs out there on the market, and even many different types of high chair.
In recent years, the hook-on high chair has gained huge popularity, but with that increase in popularity, there has also been increased concerns over their stability and safety.
This post will discuss the safety aspects of hook-on high chairs, how they work, how you can keep your baby safe whilst using one, the benefits of hook-on high chairs over traditional high chairs, and which hook-on high chairs are the best on the market.
Check out these links if you want information on other types of high chair including whether they should recline or have a footrest.
Are they safe? The big question surrounding hook-on high chairs is whether they’re actually safe. And the answer? Yes. Generally speaking, hook-on high chairs should be safe to use at home and in restaurant-like settings, provided that you’ve bought a good quality product and have securely attached it to a strong table top. Traditional high chairs can be equally unsafe if they aren’t assembled properly, or if they’re made of poor quality material.
What is a hook-on high chair?
Hook-on high chairs (also known as clip-on high chairs) are very common. Even if you don’t own one yourself, you’ve probably seen one before at cafes, restaurants or friends’ houses. They can be clipped onto most tables, serving as a more portable and space-saving alternative to the traditional high chair. This enables your child to eat with you, rather than separately, which many parents prefer as they believe it’s better for their child’s development.
How do you attach a hook-on high chair?
Whilst attaching a hook-on high chair correctly is vital for your child’s safety, it’s fortunately not rocket science. For most chairs, you simply clamp the arms of the high chair onto a sturdy table top. All chairs should come with an instruction manual, and you can press down on the seat of the chair to double check that everything’s safe and secure for your little one.
Are hook-on high chairs safe? How can you keep your baby safe in one?
Here are some important check point to bear in mind and ensure your baby is safe in a hook-on high chair:
- Use the straps
Most chairs on the market should come with straps, typically both waist and crotch straps. Using both will prevent your baby from climbing out of the chair, and for this reason, it’s generally advisable to avoid buying a chair that doesn’t have this added safety measure.
- Don’t use on glass table tops
Glass tables are typically not strong enough to support the weight of your baby. Thin and flimsy tables are also unsafe.
- Always clamp the chair directly onto the table
If placemats, or a tablecloth sit between the table and the chair’s arms, this can increase the risk of the chair slipping out of place and falling over.
- Never place a regular chair beneath the attached hook-on chair
Doing this may give you an extra sense of security, but it’s sadly a false one, as your baby may kick their legs against it, and be able to push their hook-on chair out of place.
- Read the reviews before buying
There’s almost always going to be someone nitpicking in the review section, but you should take the time to double check that people aren’t complaining about the same issues over and over, especially if it’s safety related.
- Always read the user manual carefully
Whilst most of these hook-on chairs work very similarly to one another, there can be some differences, so always be sure to give the manual a thorough read through. You should find all the relevant information about weight limits, how to set up your specific chair, and anything else that might be important to know.
Hook-on high chair vs traditional high chair
Whether you opt for a hook-on high chair or a traditional high chair it will likely come down to your personal lifestyle. Generally speaking, traditional high chairs are the best product to purchase if you intend to use it only within the home, and you have plenty of space for it. Overall, they’re more stable and comfortable for your baby.
However, if you and your family travel a lot, visit friends and relatives regularly, or dine out a lot, then a hook-on high chair might be better suited to your needs.
Pros of the hook-on high chair
- Light-weight, portable and thus well suited to travel.
- Easy to store, as most can easily be folded away after use.
- Easier to clean than traditional high chairs.
- Potentially more affordable than traditional highchairs, although this of course depends on which brand you opt for.
Cons of the hook-on high chair
- If the high chair isn’t attached properly to the table, or you purchase a lower-quality chair with a weaker clamp, then it is possible for your baby to push the high chair off of the table top.
- Not all table tops are suitable for hook-on high chairs. You need to make sure the table is strong and sturdy, which might not be clear if you’re going to a place you have never visited before.
- Whilst some hook-on chairs do come with a tray attachment, many don’t. This is something to look out for if you don’t want your baby making a mess directly onto the table.
When can babies use a hook-on chair?
In terms of age, babies and infants can generally use a hook-on high chair between three months and three years old. However, every baby is different and every parent is different. Typically, most infants begin sitting up between 4 to 9 months, which may be the time when you, as a parent, feel it is suitable to use a hook-on high chair for meal times. Note that some chairs on the market don’t have sufficient back and neck support, which is something you will likely want from a chair if your baby is still new to sitting up.
What is the weight limit for hook-on chairs?
Different chairs may have different weight limits, and so you should always read the user manual for the particular chair that you have purchased. However, most chairs are typically able to hold a weight of up to 2.6 stone (equivalent to 37 pounds, or 16.7 kilos).
What are the best hook-on high chairs?
The market is saturated with a countless number of hook-on high chairs, making choosing one feel like an overwhelming task to even the most resolute shoppers. Getting a good quality product is vital, but of course you want that to be balanced out with a reasonable price point. Here are a few great options:
Toogel Hook-on Chair
This chair is suitable for infants between the age of 6 to 36 months, and it can clip onto table tops that are between 20mm and 80mm thick.. It has all the relevant safety features, from harness belts so you can comfortably secure your child, to non-slip soft, plastic arms that keep the chair secure whilst protecting your table top from any marks or scratches. This chair is also designed for an on-the-go lifestyle. It can easily and quickly be folded away, and comes with a carrying bag for extra portability.
The Toogel Hook-on Chair has mostly great Amazon reviews, with customers seemingly impressed by the convenience factor of the product, as well as how easy it is to clean and transport from place to place. A few reviews complain that the quality of the product isn’t as it should be, but these comments are in the overwhelming minority, as most customers have a great overall experience with the purchase of their chair.
Chicco Hook-on Chair
The Chicco Hook-on chair is equally popular with customers. It comes in two different colours, red or grey, and features high-backed cushioning for extra comfort for your little one. This chair can be used on table tops between 0.75″ and 1.5″ thick (approximately 19mm to 38mm, to compare with the Toogel hook-on chair). If you have a thick table top, this product might not be suitable for you.
However, many Amazon reviews have praised the product on its compactness once folded down, and the removable seat cover which makes for easy cleaning. As with the last chair, some reviews have complained that The Chicco Hook-on chair isn’t sturdy enough, but most reviews are positive, and customers seem to be impressed.
Inglesina Fast Table Chair
If you love colour choices, then a nice bonus of this chair is that there are eight different colours to pick from. The product description simply states that the Inglesina Fast Table Chair should be able to hook onto “most tables”.
In the Amazon review section, one customer states that it hooks nicely onto their 30 inch round table. Other reviewers praise the chair for how easily it can be washed and cleaned, as well as how compact it is. Amongst the cons, reviewers have listed the fact that it has no head or neck support for their infant, which is a factor worth bearing in mind if your baby is not yet sitting, or is still relatively new to sitting.
Graham is a father of two who founded Dadometer to share his parenting journey with other moms and dads.