Once newborns become toddlers—faster than you think—they may not want to eat in their highchairs anymore. This transition usually happens anywhere between twelve months and two years of age, though it can happen later.
At that age, most kids are still too small to sit in a regular dining chair. What’s more, they’ll need some sort of straps to help them sit safely. In that case, you’ll need a booster seat for the table.
A good booster seat will enable your child to really feel like a part of the family by allowing her to eat with everyone else. It will keep her safe and secure and should ideally be portable and easy to clean too.
How do you know which booster seat is the right one for the job, though?
It’s simple: just review our guide on the best booster seats that money can buy. We’ve also included some vital safety tips and our top picks of the year.
Our Top Picks: Summary
- Best Overall: Prince Lionheart Squish Booster Seat
- Most Versatile: Fisher-Price Healthy Care Booster Seat
- Easiest to Clean: OXO Tot Nest Booster Seat
- Most Portable: hiccapop Omniboost Travel Booster Seat
Springy and comfy, yet rigid enough to provide the stability your child needs.
Why we Picked It
Our top overall booster seat for your child is the Prince Lionheart. It’s a seat designed for young toddlers, 18 months and over, and allows them to join the family at the dinner table.
The comfort factor is high because the seat that has a suspended seating area. It’ll feel springy and comfy, yet it’s rigid enough to provide the stability your child needs.
The feet of the booster seat are slip-resistant, and it has two sets of straps to keep it firmly on your dining room chair. A three-point harness keeps your little on safely in the seat. Even a little Houdini will struggle to get out of it!
We particularly liked how lightweight and portable the booster seat is, too, allowing you to take it with you wherever you need it. It’s effortless to clean, with little obstructing you from doing so, and there are next to no places that food debris can hide, either.
Overall, the seat is sturdy, safe, and provides excellent value for the money.
Keep in Mind
Some parents would have liked the booster seat to be a little higher.
In a Nutshell
- Portable and lightweight
- Easy to clean
- Top value for money
Three height adjustments will suit children of various sizes.Check Price
Why we Picked It
The booster seat offering superb versatility? It’s the Fisher-Price Healthy Care seat. The seat effectively grows with your child when she’s ready to make the transition. Three height adjustments will suit children of various sizes and also allow for a custom fit to almost any type of table. The front and rear straps can also be adjusted to virtually any kind of chair.
It’s the attention to detail that drives it to the next level, though, with things like a carry strap so you can easily take it with you and the fact that it folds away for extra portability. A snap-on lid allows you to keep the feeding tray clean, and it comes with a built-in cup holder too. The tray is also dishwasher safe, making life that little bit easier.
Top that off with some frustration-free packaging that’s 100% recyclable, and you have a winner.
Keep in Mind
The back of the seat doesn’t have the option to recline as some booster seats do.
In a Nutshell
- Three height adjustments
- Excellent attention to detail
- Adjusts to fit chairs and tables
Why we Picked It
The OXO Tot Nest booster seat is the easiest to clean on our list. The streamlined shape makes it beyond simple to clean, and there’s nowhere for food debris to hide away, and subsequently, bacteria to grow.
With a high back and sides, the booster seat will act as a soft cushion for your child. It’s been created in such a way as to make it as straightforward as possible to store away too.
The three-point harness provides that all-important stability to secure your wiggling child in place, and most usefully, is adjustable for when your kids grow.
The bottom and back chair straps allow you to fit this booster seat to most dining room chairs. We were impressed with the non-slip feet and the built-in handle that allows for easy transport too.
The straps themselves are removable and can be stored in a compartment under the booster seat—neat!
Keep in Mind
Some parents will prefer their booster seat to have a tray for messy eaters, so keep that in mind.
In a Nutshell
- Three-point harness
- Very easy to clean
- Non-slip feet
A lightweight design with a folding frame that pops up and then folds down for travel.
Why we Picked It
Our top portable pick is the hiccapop Omniboost Travel booster seat. No matter where you decide to go for the day, this booster seater will make everything as smooth as possible.
It features a lightweight design with a folding frame that pops up and then folds down for travel. There’s a rear pocket for bibs and spoons, and a handy shoulder carry bag for easy storage.
An ergonomic harness system on the hiccapop keeps your child safely in place but emphasizes comfort at the same time. The buckles at the side—to secure everything down—are quickly released, and there are duck feet that distribute weight evenly, ensuring your child is always on stable ground.
In terms of cleaning, the hiccapop booster seat offers a machine washable cover. The chair has been designed to be wiped down quickly and easily, allowing you to get on with the rest of the day too.
You’ll be pleased to hear that the tray is also dishwasher safe and removable—no matter the carnage that may ensue!
Keep in Mind
The screws used are quite small and may become a choking hazard, so always be aware.
In a Nutshell
- Highly portable
- Duck feet offer great stability
- Easy to wipe clean
How We Chose the Best Booster Seats for the Table
How did we decide which booster seats to include in our top picks? By looking at five crucial areas in detail. From the safety of the booster seat to the price and versatility, we carefully examined each area to ensure these seats were up to the job.
After that, we settled on the four booster seats, out of dozens, you see featured above.
Here’s everything we looked at for some clarity:
Safety is one of the most critical areas of a booster seat. All of our top picks have a three-point harness for kids, and they can also attach to chairs. While it’s true that kids often don’t need straps past age three, we felt it was essential to have them so parents can choose when to stop using them. We wouldn’t pick booster seats for our top picks if we weren’t confident in the safety they provide.
Easy to Clean
A booster seat will become messy very quickly, so it’s crucial that they’re easy to clean and maintain. Specifically, booster seats should be easy to wipe down, with not too many nooks and crannies for crumbs to hide. The best booster seats will have a soft and comfortable surface that’s straightforward to clean—they should limit the opportunity for bacteria to grow. We like to see tear-resistant seats, where possible, too.
A great booster seat should be adjustable, or at the very least, should be able to fit kids for several years. We look for booster seats that provide value for money here and don’t require customers to reinvest quickly after their initial purchase simply because their child has grown. We like to see booster seats with backs that can be adjusted to recline, as this can offer additional support for the child as well. The best booster seats are functional and may even accommodate multiple stages of development.
When it comes to price, we think booster seats should offer value for money without compromising on quality or the safety of children. We believe and know it’s possible to have a healthy balance between features, efficiency and price, and desire to see this in our top picks each year.
Our favorite booster seats are not always the most expensive ones; rather, it’s the excellent designs, innovative features, and brands that are pro-consumer, with value at their core, that stand out.
We look at a range of customer reviews for all of the products we create guides for, and booster seats are no different. Customers reviews show us parents’ opinions on how reliable and safe their purchased booster seat has been, and we take them seriously.
We view many customer reviews before coming close to any form of decision. Once we’ve sifted through a great many, we then deliver our final decision. Rest assured, only the crème de la crème will make it.
What is a Table Booster Seat?
While a booster seat is similar to a highchair, and some parents use one in place of a highchair, it’s not quite the same. Instead of being a stand-alone seat and tray, a booster seat sits on top of an existing dining room chair. It raises your child to the height of the table, and at last, he’ll feel like a big kid!
There are a variety of booster seats available, including those with different heights and those with or without backs.
A booster seat with adjustable height will mean you won’t have to consider the height of the table in relation to the chair every time. You can adjust as your child grows. Other variants have adjustable backs to provide some extra stability while your child is still developing.
It’s worth noting that car safety seats are also referred to as booster seats, but they’re a different item altogether.
When Should my Child Use a Booster Seat?
The decision to move your child from a highchair into a booster seat is largely up to you and when you think they’re ready. With that said, most parents make the switch somewhere between 18 months and two years of age.
There is nothing wrong with children staying in their highchairs if it’s comfortable and safe, so you shouldn’t feel concerned. When the time is right, you’ll know, and your kid may even express a desire to join you at the table. If they’re actively climbing out of the highchair, this can be a strong sign they want to change. It’s also dangerous for them to keep doing so; it can mark a good point to transfer over.
It’s also essential for kids, especially those closer to a year old, to have a booster seat with back support. Older children can sit in a booster seat without a back more comfortably because their back and core will have developed. Younger children, however, will need that extra support to keep them sitting securely and without straining their back.
Remember that booster seats are portable, and often cheaper than highchairs, so they’re a worthy investment, even if the time isn’t quite right yet.
What to Consider When Choosing a Booster Seat for the Table
You may want to purchase a booster seat but aren’t sure of the key points you need to consider first. Fret not; we’ve detailed five areas you need to think about before investing in one for your child:
Of course, the age of your child is a primary consideration. Some booster seats are better for older or younger children, while others are adjustable and can literally grow with your kids.
Younger children will need support for their back; ideally, the back of the seat will be adjustable, (until they have grown some more). Older children won’t really need back support as they should be able to sit up on their own. Think about your children and whether they need support at their age. It’s also worth asking yourself how vital an adjustable booster seat is for you.
Some boosters seats will be used in the same spot over and over again until your child has grown up. Others, however, will be shuttled all around, from the nanny’s house to the daycare center and anywhere else you may need them. How important is the portability side for you?
If it’s of significant importance, then you’ll want a smaller and easier-to-install booster seat, which will be far more portable. If you don’t feel like you need that bonus portability, then focus on booster seats with features like additional trays and added comfort.
The design of the booster seat is something you need to factor into the buying process. For example, do you want a booster seat with a tray? Maybe you’re lacking on space around the house and want something minimal that gets the job done?
It’s also worth taking note of the size of your dining room chairs—are they an unusual size, and what booster seat would work best with them? Ultimately, the perfect design for you depends a lot on your preferences.
Younger children can be very messy; it’s just a fact. Luckily there are a range of booster seats available that make cleaning and maintenance as simple as can be. If you’re a parent who wants the booster seat to be as easy to clean as possible—and most place this high on their list of priorities—then you’ll want to invest in a booster seat that takes that into account. This fact is particularly true for those with younger children.
In that case, you’ll want to look for booster seats with no trays or corners that allow food debris to build up over time. A quick wipe down is the aim of the game here!
Your child should be able to sit in a booster seat for an extended period without becoming uncomfortable. There are booster seats available with designs that focus heavily on the comfort of the child, with soft surfaces and cushioned seats.
Some booster seats have thick cushions built into them. The balance here is between being soft and sturdy, and there are some great choices out there. For instance, our top pick for the best overall booster seat this year is an excellent choice that does just that.
Booster Seat Safety
How do you use a booster seat as safely as possible? Glad you asked. We’ve detailed some hints and tips to keep your child secure and snug below:
- Always use the chair straps: Using the straps for the booster is crucial for your child’s safety. You should always use them, even if you think your child isn’t going to be at the table for a long time.
- Buckle the child in the seat: The straps on the chair will fasten for a more secure fit. It’s crucial to appropriately fasten the straps, until at least the age of three.
- Positioning your child correctly: The comfort your child will feel in her booster seat depends on her positioning. She should be close enough to the table (by bringing the chair close) to be able to reach without leaning forward too much. Her back should be positioned so that her legs are at a 90-degree angle. The back, hips, knees, and feet should be well supported, as this will result in the perfect comfort for your child.
- Do a dry run: You should test to ensure your table works well with a style of booster seat before letting your child sit down. By doing this, you can avoid any unnecessary accidents.
Be sure to check out our other independent guides below: