Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Fisher Price Booster Seats

When people ask for recommendations for highchairs, on my Baby Led Weaning - Let your babies feed themselves page, the two most popular with fans are the Ikea Antilop highchair and the Fisher Price booster seats. While not specifically "highchairs", the booster seats can be strapped to an adult chair, enabling your baby to sit with you at the table. I think the reason why both these chairs are popular is because they are small - so a young baby is well supported in them and can also reach the tray with no problems - and they are also easy to clean… a very important factor in baby led weaning!

I have no personal experience with the Antilop highchair but we do have a Fisher Price Rainforest booster seat which I thought I would write a little bit about, for anyone who is considering which highchair to buy at the moment…
We purchased the booster seat when Lucinda was about five months old. I favoured a booster seat as we only have a small house so a large highchair would take up more space and also because my husband works away most of the time so I don't usually sit at the table on my own at mealtimes, preferring to just eat from a lap-tray in the lounge. I chose the Fisher Price Rainforest booster seat as I liked the removable play tray. Lucinda could entertain herself with that while I was cooking our meals and then I could remove it when it was time to eat.

The booster seat has mostly been used on the floor at home. I have put it down on a wipe-clean mat on the lounge floor for mine and Lucinda's informal mealtimes - but it has easily transferred to a kitchen chair when we have sat at the table to eat. We have also taken it out to restaurants so Lucinda has been able to eat from her own tray and we have known it has been clean. It has also been taken to Grandma's house on a regular basis.

Although it is only used occasionally now as Lucinda is nearly four, it has had almost three years of solid use. It has grown with her. She was very small when we first got it - only weighing around 11lb, as far as I recall. She was able to sit up without support but the chair is compact in such a way that it would allow a baby to sit upright if she still needed a little bit of assistance to sit for longer periods of time. It is not, however, suitable for babies who can't sit up unassisted at all.

The seat is moulded to shape and is slightly risen between the legs. The straps fasten between the legs and around the waist using a secure plastic clip. Lucinda still can't undo the plastic clip (and she is otherwise pretty dextrous!) but they are very easy for an adult. The tray clips on at either side of the seat and has three positions. The position closest to baby was perfect to start with. It was easy for even tiny six month old Lucinda to reach the whole tray as not only is it pulled in closely it is also at the appropriate height. The seat itself can also be adjusted to three height positions. This is very useful for toddlers to sit up to the dining table, with the tray removed, and eat from the table at a comfortable height.

It is very well made from rigid plastic. There are no flimsy parts and there are no nooks and crannies for food to get stuck in. When baby has finished eating it is very quick and easy to wipe the seat down and rinse the tray under a running tap. When eating out it is easily cleaned using baby wipes or Milton wipes, etc. It is also lightweight and convenient to transport to restaurants or grandparents' houses.

I have bought very few items of "baby equipment" but I can't recommend this booster seat highly enough. It has definitely been money well spent. It has been the only "highchair" we have used at home and it has served every purpose that was intended for it. It has also probably been used for twice as long as a regular highchair would have been as it is practical well into the toddler and pre-school years.

I don't think the Rainforest version is still available directly from Fisher Price, however it can still be found widely on the internet. There have also been other versions of the booster seats. I remember using a "lion themed" one at a baby show once.
The booster seat currently listed on the Fisher Price website is this one, which appears to be the same design apart from having a removable insert instead of the play tray...

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