Are Hook-On (Clip-On) High Chairs Safe?

baby eating in her high chair

I’m the type of parent who likes to take my little one everywhere. And, that includes going to restaurants or out to friends. Since it’s not always convenient to take her traditional high chair everywhere with us, we have opted for a hook-on chair. Before we invested in one though, we had one major question to clarify – here’s the answer.

Hook-on (clip-on) high chairs are safe for use at home or on the go provided they’re used safely. A three-point harness and correct installation are crucial for baby safety. Ensure the table is made of sturdy ¾ inch  materials that can safely hold chair clamps. Never clamp the chair onto surfaces such as glass. 

What is a Hook-On, Clip-On High Chair?

We’re all familiar with a traditional high chair. But, if your dining area or kitchen is small, or you’d like to take your baby with you when you go out to eat, you might need something more compact. Enter the hook-on chair! 

A hook-on chair is a popular alternative that uses clamps and clips to be safely secured to a sturdy table surface. This puts the baby at table height and allows the little one to eat at the table with the rest of the family. It makes feeding your baby on the go so much easier! Taking your baby with you to the restaurant has never been more convenient! 

High chairs vs Hook-On

Let’s be clear, hook-ons will never replace traditional high chairs. However, traditional high chairs are the perfect option for use at home. Aside from being comfortable, they’re safe and sturdy and have the support of actual legs. 

Hook-on chairs should only be used for traveling or if you’re eating out. They’re more compact, fold easier, and don’t take up too much space in the car. Lightweight and portability are two features that make them very popular. 

Booster vs Hook-on

Unlike hook-on chairs, booster seats don’t get attached to the table. Rather, booster seats have a wide base that allows you to use them on a regular dining or kitchen chair. Booster chairs can also easily be placed on the floor if necessary. 

Boosters chairs have the necessary straps to keep your little one safe while they’re traveling or sitting in the chair. If the straps are used correctly, there’s no way the Booster will slide off the chair. 

Safety considerations of Hook-On, Clip-On High Chairs

As with every other piece of baby gear you’ve ever bought or considered, your priority is undoubtedly the baby’s safety. There are some crucial safety considerations to take into account before you settle on a hook-on chair. 

  • Ensure the chair has strong clamps to keep the chair safely attached to the table. 
  • Ideally, the chair should have a 3-point harness to keep the baby securely in the chair.
  • Chairs without a harness should have straps that should be secured.
  • Always test the chair once you’ve installed it. Tug on it to make sure it’s secure
  • Don’t allow your little one to sit in the chair if they’re exceeding the weight limit or if they’re too lively and may cause the chair to topple over. 
  • Don’t place a standard chair underneath the hook-on chair because your little one might use it to push away from the table or maneuver out of the feeding chair.
  • Never leave the baby unattended in the chair. 
  • Hook-on chairs should never be attached to a glass table or a table made of weak or thin materials.
  • Ensure the table is heavy enough to keep the baby firmly attached. A table that’s too light might topple over when the baby becomes fidgety.
  • Never clamp the chair onto a tablecloth or placemat on the table as this will loosen the grip. 
  • Not all hook-on chairs are suitable to be used on round tables or thin plastic tables. Always check if your specific chair is recommended to be used with your type of table.
  • Ensure that the hook-on chair you’re opting for meets the required safety standards.
  • Be sure to read the attached manual for any specific guidelines and instructions regarding the way your hook-on chair should be used.

Best and Safest Hook-On High Chairs

Choosing the right hook-on chair can be overwhelming because of the huge variety on the market. With all else you have going on with your baby, you might not have time to research each product. Fortunately, I’ve listed the 3 most popular (and safest) options to choose from. 

1. Inglesina Fast Table Chair

Inglesina Fast Table Chair - Award-Winning Convenient Baby High Chair - Use at Most Tables or Restaurants Without Leaving Scratches {Black}

The Inglesina Fast Table Chair can easily support a baby weighing up to 37lbs. The clamps attach to a 3.5” thick table surface. It folds flat which makes it easy to store and transport. This chair also has a handy back pocket where you can store your baby’s toys or any accessories you might need during mealtime.

It’s lightweight and portable, making it super easy to carry around and travel with. An interesting post I wrote recently is the Inglesina vs Phil and Teds Lobster comparison article which gives you a detailed analysis of these two options. 

Pros

  • Easy to install
  • The high backrest offers more support
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to clean by wiping down after use

Cons

  • Doesn’t fit tables with lipped skirts
  • No shoulder straps
View on Amazon

2. Phil & Teds Lobster Clip-On Highchair

phil&teds Lobster Clip-On Highchair, Black – Award Winning Portable High Chair – Includes Carry Bag and Dishwasher Safe Tray – Hygienic and Easy Clean – Safe and Secure – Ideal For Home and Travel

This model is immensely popular because, unlike a few other models, the Phil & Teds Lobster Clip-On Highchair has firm shoulder straps to keep your little one securely in place. Non-slip grip pads prevent the chair from sliding off the table. It’s also a great way to ensure that the metal handlebars don’t scratch or damage the table surface. 

Since the chair has a strong aluminum frame, it can easily accommodate a weight of 37lbs. A dishwasher-safe tray keeps the table clean and prevents spills and stains on the tabletop. A complimentary carry bag makes it easy to store and carry around when you’re on the go. This means it’s easy to sling over your shoulder while you’re handling your little one in the other arm. 

Pros

  • Includes a tray to protect the table from spills or scratches
  • Simple to set up and pack up
  • Includes non-slip grip pads
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • Small leg spaces can be awkward for some babies
  • Not ideal to be used with round tables
View on Amazon

3. Chicco QuickSeat 

Chicco QuickSeat Hook-On Chair, Graphite

Parents who are continuously on the move enjoy the Chicco QuickSeat because it has a nifty ratchet and lock technology. This type of technology makes it easy to secure this chair to a vast majority of tables including camping or picnic tables.

Rubber-coated grips protect the table surface from being scratched or damaged. A carrying bag makes it easy to transport the chair wherever you need it. This is definitely one high chair alternative worth considering! 

Pros

  • Supportive padding
  • Washable seat pad
  • Rubber-coated grips
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • Metal components are prone to rust
  • Not suitable for tables thicker than 1.5”
View on Amazon

How to attach a hook-on high chair

Attaching the hook-on high chair to a sturdy table is easier than you think. The exact steps might vary depending on the brand you’ve opted for but, the general concept is the same. Simply follow these easy steps:

  • Ensure the table is cleaned off and meets the required thickness and criteria 
  • Remove the hook-on chair from the carry bag
  • If the metal handlebars are separate from the actual chair, slide the bar in place
  • Clamp the chair onto the table using all the available clamps and straps
  • If the chair has a feeding tray, snap or latch it into place
  • Tug at the chair to ensure it’s still sturdy
  • Place the baby into the chair, ensuring the legs slide easily into the holes
  • Secure shoulder, crotch and belly straps or harness tightly into place
  • Give the seat another tug to make sure it isn’t loose with the weight of the baby
  • Ensure the baby is comfortable and secure before you start the feeding process
  • Keep a constant eye on your little one to ensure they don’t slide out of the chair 

Here’s a short clip to show you just how easy it is to get the Inglesina Fast Table Chair set up and taken down.

When can babies start using a hook-on?

The recommended age for babies to start using a hook-on chair is anywhere between 6 and 9 months. The age to stop using the chair is around 3 years or if the weight limit is reached before that age. A key point to watch out for is the back and neck support offered by the chair you’re considering. 

Once the weight limit is exceeded, it might be time to switch to a different option, such as a booster seat. You can read up about different high chair alternatives, including booster seats in another article I wrote recently. 

What are some typical weight limits for hook-on high chairs?

Most hook-on chairs can sustain a weight of up to 37lbs. There are however a few chairs that can’t hold anything over 30lbs. It’s crucial to know upfront what your hook-on chair’s weight limit is and keep an eye on how sturdy it remains as your baby grows. 

Conclusion

With the information I’ve shared with you in this article, it’s clear that hook-on chairs are safe to use provided the required safety protocols are followed. Start by choosing a chair with maximum weight allowances. Ensure there’s a safety harness and straps in place to keep your little one securely in the chair.

Once you’ve chosen your preferred option, always follow my safety guidelines to prevent your little one from getting hurt or toppling the chair off the table. A quality hook-on chair such as Inglesina makes it easy to include your little one at restaurant meals or outdoor camping trips. Feeding your little one on the go is easier than you thought!

Last update on 2022-09-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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