If you have kids who are in the four to six age range, you’re probably facing the same dilemma I did: to buy a transitional dinner table chair or stick with a booster seat or just flat-out let them navigate a grownup chair on their own terms.
Boosters don’t seem to work well for us from day-to-day; they’re harder for younger kids to get into on their own (so, frankly, why not just keep them in a high chair if you need to help them in and out of it anyway?).
But transitional options usually come in the form of convertible high chairs, like the Tripp Trapp, keekaroo, HiLo and other similar options. The question is: are they worth the extra hundreds just to make it through this awkward post-toddler, pre-tween age range? For something like the Tripp Trapp or keekaroo, I wholeheartedly believe that if you use it from the baby stage right through to teen years (as a desk chair in your kid’s bedroom), that—yes—the price tag is worth it. You’ll undoubtedly get good value for your money once you factor in cost per use. Some of the other “convertibles,” however, may not be wide enough for a tween’s growing bottom or provide enough support to counteract the weight of a young teen who’s already weighing more than 150 pounds.
All that to say, you really need to think through your long-term use if you plan to spend more than pocket change on something like the IKEA Antilop high chair.
One of the newer contenders in this convertible high chair category is the Stokke Steps system, which takes you from those early baby bouncer days right through to up-to-the-table eating.
If you’re really organized, and you think through multipurpose baby products well in the moments any time before you actually have a child and your brain turns to complete mush for anywhere from seven to 16 months, or longer, you can really make this system work for you. And that’s because it all starts with a bouncer. (Seriously—who doesn’t have a bouncer for her baby? WHO?) The Stokke Steps offers several stages of convenience for you and your child, starting pretty much out of the womb. And it’s a bouncer that just does more, because you can also bring that brand-new baby smell right up to the table with you when your family eats. (But please remember to NEVER feed a baby who is reclined; babies need to be able to sit up independently to eat.)
The Stokke Steps Chair is unbelievably easy to assemble and get working for you right away. This is the edge it has on the Tripp Trapp, which is a total pain to put together. You can also more easily adjust the footrest on the Steps Chair than the Tripp Trapp. The chair fits my four and six year olds equally well, and I think it’ll fit them until at least age eight or 10, depending on how tall they each get. And it just so happens to match my kitchen table perfectly because we have a white quartz top with dark brown legs.
There’s no getting the footrest wrong. What do I mean by that? Well, if you’ve ever assembled the Tripp Trapp and didn’t exactly follow the instruction manual, you may have made the same mistake we did and install it incorrectly—meaning that your kid stepped on it and sent it soaring out from under him. Oops. But not with the Stokke Steps Chair; there’s only two holes into which you can connect the footrest on either side.
The bouncer in and of itself is a pretty fabulous bouncer. It’s stable on the floor and in the chair, nicely padded, and portable. Plus it looks clean and modern and will match your contemporary décor should you choose to keep it near your furniture rather than stow it away.
The chair is also easy for my kids to get in and out of, and is the perfect height at the table (at least for now). Miss Q’s been able to climb in and out of it since she was three, so even toddlers should be able to manage for the most part—once the baby/toddler seat has been removed, that is.
Although I’m not usually a proponent of plastic goods for kids, when it comes to a high chair or chair, plastic is your friend. It wipes down so easily and if (no, WHEN) food gets stuck on because you didn’t happen to wipe it off right away, you can pick it off with your finger without working that you’re going to nick paint or a wood stain. The parts of this chair that are most likely to get dirty are plastic, and so easy to clean and get “white-white” again.
We’ve tried a few Stokke products now, and they are always incredibly high-quality. And its customer service is really just shockingly good if you ever do encounter a problem.
Once your little one is ready for a proper seat at the table, the Steps Chair transforms into a high chair with the help of a harness, tray and seat-back—only adding to the overall function.
But, darn it all, there’s no harness option once the toddler seat comes out. Maybe you don’t need a harness for YOUR four year old, but at times I do. With the Tripp Trapp, sometimes that was the only way to keep her in her seat after a bout of bad listening.
You can’t, sadly, move the seat up and down with the Steps Chair, which means it won’t last as long for your child as something like the Tripp Trapp.
It also only comes in two colour options: you can get a white seat and footrest with either a light wood or dark wood stain. It’s similar to the keekaroo in that respect, but pales in comparison to the Tripp Trapp with its 458 different colours (OK, OK…slight exaggeration).
My chubster bottom doesn’t fit into the Steps chair as easily as the Tripp Trapp or keekaroo. This is clearly not going to be a problem for your kid. But I thought I’d mention it.
And of course because this is a pick ‘n mix seating system, there are many price tags to consider along the way. The chair, the bouncer, the tray, the baby/toddler seat… it all adds up. In all, it could be $650 or more, depending on where you buy your Stokke Steps set. That’s not exactly cost-friendly for the average family. (Though you could easily do without the tray; just pull your babe right up to the family table!) You can of course soften the blow by having at least one or two more kids make use of the thing. Just have them at least four or five years apart so you’re not in the precarious position of needing a new chair each time to connect to the other components.
3.5/5 (the ability to adjust the seat height would have garnered this product a much higher mark)
So…where can you get it?