Best high chair for a disabled child? Details within.
April 15, 2016 11:10 AM   Subscribe

My son has outgrown his high chair and needs a new one. Caveat: he's got a host of health issues and developmental delays that means some chairs don't work as well as others. Any experience or advice on choosing a suitable chair is welcome, as are specific chair recs.

Note: I get that both "disabled" and "developmental delays" cover way too broad of a range, so I'll provide some detail on my son's delays in hopes that someone who's accommodated similar issues might have some advice.

Due to a stroke he had while in utero, my 15-month-old son has had a multitude of health issues, including infantile spasms (West Syndrome), cerebral palsy/high muscle tone/low muscle tone (not that the CP/muscle tone things are necessarily equatable or interchangeable -- just that our ped has said they are all part of whole in our kid's case), and general global developmental delay. I've discussed this with his therapy team (PT and OT) and they've recommended certain things, but don't have any specific chair recs.

More notes: his head control is getting better, but still needs occasional support. Also he tends to slide forward in any seat. We do some hacking for his trunk support with pool noodles, rice packs, etc. We also would like something that has room for him to grow into it and use it longer than his current chair has lasted. Finally, I'm less interested in high chairs specifically designed for special needs kids (like the Kaye High Chair) as even with the help of our Birth-to-Three program, they're outside our budget right now. So, to recap, I'd a like a chair that hits the following points:

- needs to recline
- needs to have some sort of pommel (rigid or flexible are both fine) to prevent sliding forward
- needs room to grow

The original chair we purchased was the IKEA Antilop. (I was thinking economy only at that point.) Bad choice for our little guy, as it turned out. Our current one that he's outgrown is a Fisher Price Spacesaver, and it's been lovely -- I am a big fan of just strapping something on a kitchen chair rather than buying a whole giant separate chair. But it seems like most chairs with extended age uses are standalone chairs/fold-ups, so I'm open to those, too. Specific chairs I've looked at:

Graco Duodiner

Ingenuity Trio

Anyone have experience with either of these? Or another type of chair? Is there another brand or chair type/keyword I should search for?
posted by pepper bird to Shopping (7 answers total)
How about the OXO Seedling high chair? The highest rated Amazon review is by a family using it for a 4 year old with cerebral palsy. Price seems reasonable.
posted by Kriesa at 11:54 AM on April 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

I've only become disabled as an adult, so I don't have personal high chair recommendations. (We also used the FP Spacesavers for our twins.) But I feel the pain and offense of astronomical prices for adaptive equipment.

This site has reveiws of mainstream and adaptive chairs one family has tried for their daughter.

Just brainstorming: are there any car seats or strollers that might also double as a dining seat?

Have you looked at feeding tables? They're used more often with multiples or in group care situations, but the seats usually have a pommel.

If you find a seat you like but it's lacking a pommel, you might be able to use a travel seat. We used one called Snazzy Baby travel seat (you can seedetails on Amazon, but i bought a $6 off ebay) when we traveled with the boys early on, and it worked better than expected.

For a more permanent solution, it might be cost-effective to work with a local carpenter to get a customized solution (for a wooden chair). I had one build a climbing toy for our boys about a year and a half ago, and the price was nearly half of what it would have been to purchase and ship cross-country (the only other option).
posted by ejvalentine at 11:58 AM on April 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

What about using one of these travel high chairs over seats that he tends to slide out of? You could make one yourself to ensure it fits over the intended chair.
posted by lizbunny at 12:25 PM on April 15, 2016

Here is a reclining chair that straps onto a kitchen chair, meant to grow with the kid from 3 months up to 4 years. It has option of 3 or 5 point harness, and appears to get good reviews.
posted by lizbunny at 12:30 PM on April 15, 2016

Can you hack a car seat to meet your purposes? They have those "wings" near the head - not exactly head control, but more head "containment" in this case. I'm no engineer, but I'm thinking there must be a way to mount one on top of a restaurant-style high chair, or perhaps someone can build you a similar platform that the carseat could nestle/strap into.
posted by vignettist at 3:59 PM on April 15, 2016

I saw a high chair in Sweden, and I found it in the USA some time ago. It looks like a restaurant high chair, but in addition, when put down on one side it is a rocking toy, put the other way it is a floor level seat with table. Here is an example on the left.
posted by Oyéah at 7:30 PM on April 15, 2016

These are all amazing ideas -- thank you so much! I think we will try the OXO Seedling chair, despite the fact that it's standalone and doesn't fold up (I really like the footrest, and that review is very encouraging). ejvalentine, thank you in particular for that review site link, it's fantastic. Will be reading that voraciously for this and for future questions.

I forgot to include in my original question that we'd like some kind of footrest/support, ideally, to help with the sliding bum thing. Right now he either puts his feet on my lap or I prop a large book beneath (between the seat base and the chair). And our little guy gets uncomfortable very quickly in most seats, car or high chair, and we're still figuring out how to get around that. Right now the solution is to hold him while he eats, but he's getting heavy!

Thanks again, y'all, I really appreciate it.
posted by pepper bird at 10:15 AM on April 17, 2016

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