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At What Age Should You Stop Using a High Chair?

by Susan Revermann

Because young children grow and progress through their development milestones so quickly, it's hard to keep up with the changes. If you’ve reached the point where you think your child has outgrown her high chair, consider a few factors before making the transition to a big kid chair.

Age Range

No hard-set age exists on when to transition to a high chair; it’s based more on your child’s development and your preference. You can start considering the high chair to regular chair transition between 18 months and 3 years. If your child can obey simple safety instructions and is able to hold her own weight, she might be ready. Always look at the age and weight limit on your a high chair to find the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Rules

The main concern with using a regular chair instead of a high chair is safety. If you’ve decided it's time for the switch, sit with your child down and go over the rules for the new “big girl” chair. She should never stand on the chair. Rocking with the kitchen chair is not allowed. During meals, she should stay at the table without getting up and down several times. These chairs are for sitting on, not for lying, rolling or playing on.

High Chair Pros

Keeping your child in a high chair for a bit longer has plenty of supporting reasons. High chairs have safety straps to keep your child safe while she is in the seated position. They also raise your child to the kitchen table height safely so she can interact with the family during mealtime. Many highchairs are adjustable so you can change the height level to fit your needs. Having a child in a high chair instead of a regular chair also contains the food mess a bit, although the floor is an easy mess target regardless of what you use. High chairs also raise the child to a more comfortable level for you to feed her, instead of stooping over her during mealtime.

High Chair Cons

You’ll also need to consider the downside to keeping your child in a high chair longer. As your child ages, she will become more independent and to want move around more freely. She might become fussy and fidgety if left in the high chair too long. If your child is getting restless, she might start to display unsafe behaviors as a result. For example, she might start to use her feet to push her high chair back or she might start to rock back and forth while she’s in it.

Alternatives

If you want to save space, but don’t think that your child is quite ready for a regular chair, you can use a booster seat that attaches to a regular adult chair. These seats are secured into place with safety straps and are more portable than regular high chairs. Another alternative is to allow your child to sit at a child-size table with a child-size chair instead of at the regular table. These are closer to the ground and are easier for your child to get up and down from comfortably. If he has a play date or sibling, they can both sit at this table. Sit your child on the seat and look to see whether his feet touch the floor and when he stands the table should be at his waist. If it does, it is the right size.

Photo Credits

  • Rayes/Lifesize/Getty Images