Do high chairs expire? This question has created a raging debate among parents, young and old. On one end of the spectrum, you have parents arguing they’re completely safe for your little one no matter how old a high chair is. If I’m to be frank, this school of thought usually resonates with the elderly who believe in passing down baby gear from generation to generation. Sounds familiar?
Then we have new-age parents who are big on modern equipment featuring the latest features citing used high chairs are a definite no-no. Whatever your take, I’m here to weigh in on this discussion.
Let’s get started and find out where the discussion around high chairs and expiry dates have taken me as a father who’s curious about this topic.
Do High Chairs Have Expiry Dates?
Certain baby products come with expiry dates. Car seats and baby foods are known examples. But what about high chairs? Based on my research high chairs don’t come with expiry dates.
That’s why you’ll find certain high chairs are quite popular with vintage baby gear collectors. This is especially true of antique wooden high chairs that exude old-fashioned charm. But aesthetics aside, are they safe to use for your little one?
Granted, high chairs don’t have expiration dates, but before purchasing a collector’s piece for your little one, make sure it’s safe. I’ll explain how you can determine this in the next section.
How Do I Know if Baby’s High Chair is Safe?
When picking baby products such as high chairs, safety is paramount. This applies to both brand new or used models. According to a survey conducted in 2013, there were 40 000 high chair related injuries in America. And these injuries are particularly common during the first year of a child’s life.
I believe most of these injuries were also as a result of using brand new models. Now imagine, using an antique? The best you can do, whether you pick a new model or use a pre-loved high chair is to make sure it’s safe.
How do you ascertain this? Firstly confirm if the product wasn’t recalled. You can get this information by contacting the manufacturer. Then ask yourself the following questions:
- Does it have a five-point safety harness? This strap is designed to secure your little one’s shoulders, torso and legs. But being present is one thing, make sure they actually work.
- Are all the parts present? Make sure it has features such as the footrest, arms and tray.
- Is the chair stable? Under no circumstances should the chair wobble. This is made possible if you pick one with a wide and sturdy base.
- Does the folding mechanism work? If the high chair is designed to fold, make sure the folding mechanism actually works and locks in the right places.
- Are all the end caps present? If the chair features metal tubing, make sure all the end caps are present.
- Are the wheels lockable? If the model has wheels, make sure they lock and that the locking mechanism is functioning optimally.
Over and above these features, have a look at this video discussing how to use high chairs safely.
What’s the Best Type of High Chair for My Baby?
You’ll find different types of high chairs to pick from. When you can’t rely on an expiry date to tell you when something is expired, you need to rely on other aspects such as the build quality of an item and specific manufacturers’ guidelines.
The material of the product determines its overall build quality, durability, and ultimately the chair’s safety.
Plastic chairs tend to warp over time. This can be caused by a combination of factors that include exposure to extreme sunlight. You want to make sure you store it in a cool place when not being used for a long time.
Wooden chairs are more durable compared to those made of plastic. However wood also has its downsides. The chair in itself might have default issues and over time wood can deteriorate especially when stored in poor conditions such as areas prone to moisture or infested by pests or termites. Chances of this happening are higher if the high chair was stored in an attic.
Alternatively, you’ll find high chairs that feature a steel or aluminum frame. Steel is undoubtedly sturdy. However, when exposed to extremely high temperatures, structural integrity is compromised. If you’re taking over someone’s previously loved high chair find out where it was stored and for how long.
It’s important you adhere to the manufacturer’s guidelines when picking the type of high chair for your baby. Be guided by the maximum weight recommendations and how you must handle the product to extend the product’s life span.
If you can pay attention to the product’s date of manufacture, this will help you determine how old the chair is and whether it’s still safe to use for your little one.
I’ll compare the following two products based on the aforementioned factors. Hopefully, this will give you an idea of how to go about picking and maintaining a high chair to ensure longevity and safety.
|Feature||Baby Trend Sit Right High Chair||HM Tech Wooden Baby High Chair|
|Tray||Dishwasher safe at 180 degrees||Wash in the sink with warm water|
|Frame||Wash with mild soap and damp cloth soap||Wipe with a damp cloth|
|Seat pad||Don’t machine wash||Wipe with warm water|
|Date of manufacture||Found under the seat or manufacturer’s website||Found under seat or manufacturer’s website|
|Recommended maximum weight||40lb||35lb|
Is it Safe to Use a Second-Hand High Chair?
It certainly sounds tempting to accept a preloved high chair from a loved one or purchase a second-hand model given it’s usually cheaper. But I’d strongly advise against it because of safety concerns.
Used high chairs may have assembly issues, worn out, or missing screws. And if it’s an older model chances are it might not be up-to-date with the latest safety standards. But if you do consider using one, make sure all its hardware is intact.
Also, inspect the chair for any re-glued pieces or mismatched hardware that indicate the chair was previously repaired.
Let’s wrap up the article by re-capping the key points. Do high chairs expire? No. But are used high chairs safe to use? Not necessarily. The safety features may be outdated. However, if you do decide to use one make sure all its parts are intact and functioning optimally.
Above all, make sure the model hasn’t been recalled if you’re purchasing it from a second-hand shop or receiving one as a gift. Your baby’s safety comes first.