High chairs have been around for decades and are excellent tools for corralling children in one restricted space while eating. High chairs come with a tray for your child to have his or her food on. More modern high chairs have a three point harness system for safety to keep the child sitting in the chair. The tray may also be removed and the chair pulled up to the table to be more intimate with the family.
High chairs should only be used with children who are capable of sitting by themselves for extended periods of time, usually beginning around 5 -6 months of age. Typically the baby is eating some solid food. Children may use high chairs for several years, or until big enough to sit at the table. However, booster seats for older toddlers are another option.
Most high chairs today are plastic, but many wooden ones are still available. Wooden high chairs have less options and usually smaller trays. High chairs come in all styles and patterns. Generally you want one that is stable (wide base), secure (3-point harness) and comfortable (padded seat). Many high chairs have a reclining position that may be used for younger children and most have adjustable seat heights. Using a single strap instead of the 3-point system risks your child sliding down in the chair and either being strangled or falling.
Most trays are dishwasher safe and many come with removable covers over the seat which can be washed in the washing machine. Some trays have molded areas for cups and separating food items. You can also buy toys with suction cups that attach to the trays to provide entertainment for the baby. Often the trays are big and wrap around the sides of the high chair which gives baby room to play with toys while he or she is waiting on the meal. The high chair is also a good place for baby while mom cooks dinner for family.