Paraphernalia

Reviewed: Totseat travel highchair

More and more places seem to have worked out that offering highchairs is a good move – it’s pretty simple: give parents somewhere to put their babies where they can eat, play, watch etc and the grown-ups will stay and eat, drink and generally be merry.

Unfortunately, as high chairs (and babies) come in a variety of different shapes and sizes, they aren’t always suitable – without shoulder straps, Minnie tends to either slide her bum gracefully forwards until she’s very uncomfortable indeed or do her best to fold forwards, occasionally headbutting bits of chair on the way. When she was less adept at sitting up without support, it was even harder. Totseat-travel-portable-high-chair

And while I have once fed her one-handed while standing and holding her on my hip (a particularly grouchy teething day when nothing pleased her), neither of us had much fun and my left bicep is now probably twice the size of my right.

But if I had to schedule trips and travel around having her meals at home, we’d only ever have a couple of hours out – or I’d have to carry a high chair with me. Very practical.

As ever, someone has come up with a solution. A few friends, and the unbiased reviewers at Which?, had all highly recommended the Totseat, who very helpfully sent one for me to test out and review.

Made from a single material harness in some very funky prints – mine is brightly coloured Tapas, although there’s unisex and even personalised denim versions – it hooks securely over every chair, with a separate supportive cummerbund for backless seats.

The front section goes under the baby’s arms, then clips behind the seat back, and you can adjust it to help keep them supported as well as shortening the length for low backed chairs. We tried it on a series of styles, in airports, homes and cafes, and it keeps its promise to fit every single one, whatever shape or size they were.

The only times it didn’t work as well were on shiny slippy wooden chairs, as Minnie (just eight months at the time) would start to slither forward, and while the Totseat safely stopped her falling, it wasn’t desperately comfy.

I suspect older (or less wriggly) babies who can sit up even more confidently on their own probably wouldn’t have this issue, and the makers do state it’s for those who can sit unaided (around eight months) so it’s not suitable for a wobbly six-month-old for example. Anything seat with a bit of grip, especially leather, fabric or even textured plastic, and she was fine though.

It also promises to be washable, squashable and portable, and entirely lives up to its end of the bargain there too. Squishing down into a drawstring bag, it fits easily into a change bag (or can live in a car boot or buggy) and if you’ve got big pockets you could potentially stuff it in as it weighs practically nothing.

Then you can throw it into the machine to de-gunk it without any hassle after it’s been treated to the full dribbling, gummy, raspberry-blowing lunchtime experience. Plus there’s even a lifetime guarantee.

At £24 (including p&p, with one design at £18.75), it’s one of the most useful and very far from the most expensive piece of baby paraphernalia I’ve bought.
After watching Minnie in puree-gobbling action, the childminder having her lunch in the Minnesota Science Museum café agreed wholeheartedly, even coming over to find out where we’d bought it and whether she could get one too (she can, as there are international stockists all over the place).

And Minnie’s happy to take her commission as a display model in anything pear-flavoured…

EDITED: Top tip from the lovely people at Totseat – if you’ve got an equally wriggly slidey baby, try wrapping the cummerbund around them and the Totseat once you’ve strapped them in as normal. It’s wide fabric so shouldn’t be uncomfortable, and just gives a bit of extra support if you need it. Clever.

 

Image courtesy of Totseat