Best Baby Seats

Updated August 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
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.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
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Pros
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

23 Models Considered
21 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
132 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
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.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
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.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Buying guide for best baby seats

Last Updated August 2019

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.

That’s why we've created this guide to help you understand what features to watch out for. Read on and learn all you need to know to find the perfect baby seat, and then check out our top picks.

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.

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.

Comfort and security

The Bumbo Floor Seat is designed for younger babies who can't yet sit independently. Its soft, molded low-density foam body is both comfortable and easy to wipe clean, with no awkward nooks and crannies. The sturdy single-piece construction makes this a rugged seat that will last well enough to be passed on to any future babies in the family.

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.

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.

EXPERT TIP

If you're worried that your baby will outgrow the seat too quickly, opt for a multi-functional model that can be used for older children, too.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

You shouldn't put your infant in a baby seat until he can hold his head up unsupported.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

If your baby seat doesn't come with a tray, you might be able to buy one separately.


Staff  | BestReviews

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.

Hours of fun

Not only is the Fisher-Price Rainforest Healthy Care Booster Seat a place for your child to sit securely but it also features a removable interactive play center on the tray. Remove the tray and the back and it can be used as a booster seat for toddlers and young children at a standard dining table.

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.

Other products we considered

With such a huge number of baby seats on the market, we would be remiss not to mention any of the other excellent options we considered. If you're looking for a similar option to the Bumbo Floor Seat, the Little Tikes My First Seat is a solid alternative, made from comfortable easy-to-clean foam. With a removable tray and extra tethering straps, the Bumbo Multi Seat is a more versatile alternative to the floor seat, and it can act as a floor seat, booster seat, or feeding seat. The soft, padded Fisher-Price Sit-Me-Up Floor Seat is a great choice for playtime or if you need somewhere safe to pop your baby for a minute or two.

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.

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.

The team that worked on this review
  • Bronwyn
    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Jennifer
    Jennifer
    Writer
  • Lauren
    Lauren
    Writer
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Senior Editor

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