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Updated November 2022
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

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Buying guide for Best baby seats

While it's important that babies spend plenty of time lying down for proper spine development and to encourage natural movement and gross motor skills, there are times when you want them to sit up.

Some baby seats are designed to effectively prop up babies who can't yet sit independently, while others are more like a high chair or made to be used as a booster seat on top of a regular chair. Picking out what kind of baby seat you need and sorting the quality models from the subpar ones can be overwhelming, particularly if you know little about these products.

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Some baby seats have a maximum size or weight limit. Your baby shouldn't exceed it for safety reasons.

Types of baby seats

Floor seats

As the name suggests, these baby seats are designed to sit on the floor. They can be simple, or they can be focused on activities, with attached toys and lights. While it's possible to feed your baby in a floor seat, it's less practical than a high chair or booster seat. If you're going to be the one spooning food into your little one's mouth, you'll need to sit or kneel on the floor.

Booster seats

Booster baby seats are designed to sit on a regular adult dining chair, bringing your child up to the right height to eat at the table. These seats feature straps to securely tether the booster seat to the chair so that it won't slide off. You can find a booster seat that grows with your baby, allowing you to take off the tray and the back so it can be used right into toddlerhood.

Expert Tip
Keep the use of baby seats to a minimum. Babies should have free movement as much as possible.
BestReviews Baby and Child Expert

Multi seats

If you want a versatile baby seat, look for a multi seat. You can use this type as both a floor seat and booster seat, so you get the best of both worlds.

Baby seat features

Material

Some seats are made from hard plastic, some are made from foam with a smooth, nonporous outer shell, and others are made from fabric. There is no single best material for a baby seat. What matters is that it's comfortable for your baby, easy to clean, and completely nontoxic. If you choose a model with a plastic tray, you may prefer it to be BPA-free, especially if you intend to put food directly on it.

Tray

While not all baby seats have a tray, most do. Some of those that don't come with a tray still offer one sold separately. A tray is important if you want to use your baby seat like a high chair for meals. A baby seat with a tray can also double as an activity table for drawing, coloring, and playing with small toys for as long as your child can fit in it.

Portability

A portable baby seat is useful for trips to a restaurant or coffee shop, visits to see the grandparents, or for taking to the childminder's while you work. However, some baby seats are more portable than others. Some fabric baby seats are light or fold down when not in use, which makes them easy to transport. Molded foam baby seats tend to be lightweight and durable enough to throw in the trunk without worrying about damaging them. Some models are more suited to home use only.

Safety

We'd hazard a guess that one of your main concerns is your baby being safe in her seat. Most baby seats have straps to keep your baby in place, preventing her from falling out of the seat and getting hurt. As we touched on above, any baby seat designed for use as a booster on a chair should have tethers to fix the seat in place. Never put any baby seat on a raised surface if it doesn't have a tether or other method of securing it in place.

Expert tip
When used as a highchair on another chair, these chairs should always be strapped onto the other chair.
BestReviews Baby and Child Expert

Support

A baby seat should provide proper support for your baby, especially if you're buying a seat for an infant who can't yet sit unassisted. Opt for a baby seat with a raised back to support your baby's spine. Some seats that are made for use into the toddler years have an insert to provide additional support for younger users. Likewise, some models have an extra-high back as standard, but the high back can be removed to better suit your child as he grows and can easily sit unaided.

Baby seat prices

Inexpensive

On the lower end of the price spectrum, you can find basic baby seats for as little as $15 to $25. These are fine for occasional use, but they might not stand up to the wear and tear of heavy daily use.

Mid-range

These baby seats cost around $25 to $50 and tend to be sturdier and better designed than the cheaper models.

Expensive

High-end baby seats can cost as much as $50 to $80. These tend to be multi-functional seats with a range of extra accessories.

Tips

  • Choose a baby seat that's easy to clean. It's no secret that babies and toddlers are perpetually sticky. And that's before you even think about their various emissions. As such, you'll thank yourself for choosing a baby seat that's easy to wipe down or has a machine-washable cover.

  • Opt for a versatile seat and you’ll get more use from it. If you can feed your baby in the seat, use it as a toddler booster seat, and it has added toys or activities, you will likely use it much more than you would a simple floor seat.

  • Don't focus too much on appearance. While there's no harm in selecting the most attractive seat out of two or three that have equally impressive features, don't choose a poor-quality seat just because it looks cute.

  • Pick a baby seat with a wide, stable base. This will prevent the seat from tipping over even with a wriggly baby inside.
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Not all baby seats are safe for unattended babies, even for a few minutes. Check the manual for your model for advice. It might be safer to lay your baby in the crib if you need a moment alone.

FAQ

Q. Are baby seats beneficial to babies?

A. Floor seats aren't necessarily beneficial to babies, but they can be useful for busy parents. While they're fine for occasional use, your baby is really better off lying down when you're not holding her because a more natural position will help with muscle tone and developing gross motor skills. Booster seats are essentially an alternative to a high chair, so they're ideal for babies who are old enough to eat solid food. Remember, booster seats should always have straps and be securely strapped to chairs if used on a chair instead of the floor.

Expert Tip
Chairs can topple backward if your baby is prone to extensor tone (leaning backward). Babies should always be supervised on these baby chairs.
BestReviews Baby and Child Expert

Q. Are baby seats comfortable?

A. Nobody designs a baby seat to be uncomfortable, but some are softer and more padded than others and therefore are likely to be slightly more comfortable. That said, your baby shouldn’t be left in the seat for prolonged periods of time, so it shouldn't make too much difference.

Q. Should I buy a baby seat with a tray?

A. If you'd like to feed your little one in the baby seat, a tray is a must-have. It can also be handy for coloring or other activities.

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