When my husband and I set out to find the perfect highchair, our primary concern was finding something modern and sturdy that would survive many years of food-flinging abuse—and for me, I didn’t want something that would simply survive, I also needed a chair that continued to look clean and unobtrusive all the way from pureed peas through dino nuggets. It sounds like a tall order, but our kitchen and dining area are small, and whether we like it or not the highchair is a major focal point. A highchair has to be functional and look good. With all that in mind, we decided to give the OXO Tot Seedling Highchair a try.
We’re glad we did because we’re thrilled with this chair! The Seedling’s functionality appeals to my husband’s practical side, and the simple lines and color scheme satisfy my desire for a modern highchair with visual appeal. And at $149, the ratio of price-to-perks can’t be beat. Overall, we think it’s the perfect combination of kid-friendly comfort and parent-centric ease. Let me tell you why …
Its simplicity starts straight out of the box. The manual is remarkably easy to follow and contains clear illustrations and written instructions for the chair’s assembly and long-term use. There are no extra parts, screws or unfamiliar-looking pieces; the Seedling is broken into four easy-to-recognize sections that are ready to be snapped together in about three minutes flat. Although assembly is certainly doable for one person, we found it helpful to tackle it as a team: One person depressed the buttons that secure the legs while the other slid the legs into place. We liked the speed and ease with which it went together, and that we could feel and hear each piece snap securely into place. Taking it apart for storage is just as easy.
Once assembled, it’s apparent how sturdy the chair really is. It’s a solid piece of furniture: It weighs about 23 pounds and measures 21”x31.5”x41” at its highest setting. For anyone without a tape measure handy, let me just note that that’s big. In fact, it’s a bit of a tight squeeze in our small dining space, as the base of this highchair is actually wider than our adult-sized kitchen chairs. Thankfully it’s easy to move around: The wide base includes locking wheels, so it’s a breeze to scoot the chair in and out of its “parking space” behind our kitchen table.
If your dining area is on the small side, I highly recommend you measure your space before ordering the Seedling. However, even though it’s a bit snug in our own home, we don’t see the size as a major drawback; actually, many of the Seedling’s unique perks are due to the stability provided by its large footprint. One of these perks is its ability to adjust to fit kiddos from 4 months to 3 years old (or up to 45 pounds). It has three reclining positions and five height settings, so it’s ideal for babies who are bottle-feeding all the way up to independent toddlers who need a safe seat at the grown-ups’ table. We ultimately decided that this long-term functionality, which was at the top of our high chair wish list, was worth giving up a little extra floor space.
Plus, what the Seedling takes up in floor space it makes up for in its easygoing demeanor. Hands-down, the best thing about this chair is that it’s entirely self-sustaining. It doesn’t require extra tools, time commitments or storage space for additional parts to make any adjustments as our baby grows. For us, this is priceless. I absolutely love that all I have to do is press the large, impossible-to-miss button on the back of the seat and my baby is in the perfect reclining position for holding her own bottle. Seriously—I just push the button, and suddenly both of my hands are free to tackle the ever-growing stack of dishes nearby. The big buttons under the arm rests make adjusting the height equally easy. Even removing the tray is a one-handed adventure, and when it’s not in use I just snap it onto the back legs for storage.
It’s worth noting that our little lady seems to adore this chair, too. While her petite 9-month-old frame is far from filling out the roomy seat, the five-point harness keeps her safe and comfortable. And like everything else on the Seedling, the harness is adjustable so it can accommodate her as she grows.
So, what about the cleanliness-factor I so greatly desired? Well, the good folks at OXO addressed that, too. There are no tight seams, cracks, or crevices for food to wedge itself in for eternity. The large tray is flat-bottomed, so I don’t send Cheerios rolling every which way when I set it on the table. Everything can be cleaned: the entire chair is wipeable, the tray cover is dishwasher safe, and the stain-resistant cushion is removable so it can be tossed into the washing machine. Even after a wash, our gorgeous green cushion is still just as vibrant as it was straight out of the box, so I imagine the other lovely color options would fare just as well. And not only is it clean on the outside, it’s also clean on the inside—the Seedling is BPA-, PVC-, and phthalate-free.
When our friends come over and compliment this chair (which happens frequently), I’m quick to recommend it. If you want a modern-looking and perfectly practical highchair that will grow with your family, then the OXO Tot Seedling Highchair is a great option for the price!
To buy: oxo.com