Is your baby ready for solids? This happy milestone naturally deserves the best chair accessories, like a high chair footrest. But what is a footrest exactly? And is this essential?
Well, nowadays there are plenty of high chair products available. Some are ideal for outdoor use, while others are portable and easy to clean.
But if you’re after something that will give your baby the most comfort and benefits, then consider getting one with a footrest. Here are the details you need to know before going chair shopping.
Is a High Chair Footrest Necessary?
No, you don’t need one. Your baby will be okay without a footrest, and the law does not require it either.
However, once your baby starts eating solid food, you’ll likely encounter problems like constant fidgeting and whining.
And having a footrest somehow helps address these issues and makes mealtimes less stressful for you and your little one.
But given that we have varying needs, parents can always go for high chairs without a footrest. For instance, if you prefer to save space, a footrest will only affect a chair’s stackable or foldable feature.
A footrest is also an add-on accessory that increases product cost. Parents on a budget will naturally skip such extras and pick an affordable option.
An ergonomic seat is also challenging to design and produce. While a built-in footrest boosts functionality, it often does not match babies’ height or growth development.
What are the Benefits of a High Chair Footrest?
A footrest for a high chair is still worth considering despite the cons. Here’s how it can help your growing baby.
It makes your baby feel comfortable.
Babies tend to move and wiggle around in a high chair when their legs are dangling. That’s because their lower body is still training to keep an upright position while sitting.
The feeling is like adults sitting for several minutes on a barstool without a foot ledge or rail.
Without a stable base, babies will spend more energy and time getting into a comfortable position. Discomfort will only make them eat less and fuss more.
A footrest not only adds comfort but also minimises tantrum triggers during mealtime. A comfortable eating environment will make your baby excited for his food and, perhaps, more open to eating something new.
It supports self-feeding.
After a few months of weaning, your baby will begin grabbing his spoon or using his hands to feed himself. These signs of motor skill development require encouragement and support.
And parents can do that with the help of a high chair footrest. You see, babies need to sit upright and stay stable when eating by themselves.
Continuous movements, slouching or leaning to the side will only cause swallowing, gagging or choking problems. A footrest will prevent these from happening.
Also, the added stability will boost babies’ levels of concentration plus help develop good eating habits.
It encourages proper posture.
Parents need to train their kids how to stand, sit or walk correctly at an early age. That way, they get to avoid long-term postural problems or defects later in life.
A footrest for a high chair is perfect for this purpose. By providing ample leg and foot support, you are also encouraging your child to keep his back straight and feet flat on the surface.
What are the Choices of Footrest for High Chair?
The function footrests play in our babies’ early development makes them more than a high chair add-on.
So, if you’re thinking of getting one, there are two choices to choose from: the built-in and the DIY types.
If you prefer the built-in type, make sure to go for adjustable footrests. Doing so will counter the problem of poor chair ergonomics. Moreover, it will make the chair easier to pass on to your next baby.
Now, if you already have a high chair at home or want to save money, a DIY footrest is best. Here are some options for your makeshift support:
- Large cloth. You can tie an old scarf on the chair’s legs. Alternatively, use and sew an old pillowcase, then secure it with clips or straps.
- Pool noodle. Cut the noodle to size, then string a rope into the middle to attach it underneath the chair. You can use pool noodles for adjusting the car seat angle, too.
- Resistance bands. A training band wrapped around the chair legs is easy to install, adjust and clean.
- Wooden board. Find an old wooden board slightly longer than the chair’s width. Then make cuts on both ends where the chair legs would go. Sand it down and paint it with a clear waterproof coat. Finally, use rubber bands to secure the footrest.
- Other household items. You can slide a stack of books, a cardboard box or a low stool under the chair for support. Make sure to cover any of these options with an old towel to catch any food drip or mess.
Should You Get a High Chair Footrest?
A footrest for a high chair is not an instant cure for mealtime troubles. But it does reduce discomfort and frustration that trigger these problems.
That alone, for me, is a good enough reason to get an adjustable footrest for my child’s high chair. On top of making him a happy camper, it also doubles as his teacher for good posture and motor skill development.
We all want the best for our kids, after all. And a footrest is undoubtedly an essential factor to consider when buying a comfortable chair.