Like strollers, I thought the perfect high chair didn’t exist. We tried a couple of those chunky plastic versions – you know, the kind with the puffy vinyl-covered padding that appear as supportive as a newborn’s car seat and collect crumbs better than high-pile carpet. They had five-point harnesses. They reclined. They had toys that fit directly on the tray. And – oh my word – they took up about half the kitchen.
I hated every single one of them.
I returned each one, feeling a bit more deflated each time. Would my kid be relegated to the “in-the-meantime” booster seat we’d been using until he was old enough to sit in a big-boy chair? I really didn’t want one of those fabric tie-up things that have your kid in an adult-sized chair; I wanted The K Man to be seated up high with us and to be able to eat without a tray, right at the table. Yeah – like part of our family (imagine that!).
And, you don’t need any of that fancy stuff. Your baby shouldn’t be sitting in a high chair, eating solids, until she can sit up by herself anyway, so all that extra support isn’t necessary. And why the heck do you need to recline your baby at the table? It’s downright dangerous to let a baby eat who’s even a little reclined – it prevents their natural ability to gag food out. Or maybe she’s sleepy? Then put her to bed; don’t let her sleep at the table.
So we started looking north of the $200 mark that we’d been spending. We looked at the Stokke Tripp Trapp and the many copycat versions of it, but they were too small for my big boy who was – until well into his second year – quite a pudge. We considered the AGE HiLo and came very close to buying it, convinced that we really would get our $300 worth, until a friend asked if we’d looked at the IKEA Antilop high chair.
I had my doubts about quality and stability because of its price, but we left IKEA with a chair and a tray – for $25. The K Man, a few months shy of four years old, still sits in that chair so happily that we bought a second one (on Craigslist for $10) when it was time for Miss Q to start enjoying meals with the family.
It’s so inexpensive! Even for families on the tightest budgets, this high chair is totally affordable. And it lasts – our first one still looks brand new. The Antilop‘s overall footprint is quite small, and the style is modern and sleek. It fits perfectly with our contemporary decor.
The tray is detachable, so we keep our kids pulled right up to the table (a perfect fit) for every meal and snack; we use the trays if we have company over and eat in the dining room, which is pub height and too high to accommodate a high chair, or if we take them outside in the summer to eat on the patio.
Because the entire seat is one single piece of plastic, it’s super-easy to clean. In fact, we’ve been known to take it into the backyard for a good hosing off. I keep a bottle of vinegar water in the pantry and it works like magic. Of course, if you buy the white ones (which is what we have), you want to get to spills like spaghetti sauce right away because it will leave an orange tinge if left too long.
The legs stick out just far enough that inevitably some adult walking by trips over them. Like, every day. It’s comical, actually. We should really start taking bets on who it’s going to be from day to day. Somehow, the kids never fall prey to the Antilop’s ninja-like legs.
The harness is a joke. It’s a single buckle and The K Man had the “unlocking” down by the time he was a year old. It’s a good thing I don’t birth climbers, or this high chair might not work.
4.5/5 (just short of perfection, a three-point harness would earn this full marks)
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Are you in love with your high chair? What are you using?