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The first weeks and months of a baby’s life are filled with wonder.
It seems like every day, every hour even, they’re learning something new. The fear of missing a special moment can make it hard to put them down for a second. Yet, even the most devoted parents need their arms for other tasks and, with a baby floor seat, you can keep your little one safe even when they’re not on your hip or chest.
In this article, we’ll talk about those baby activity seats, what they do and why you might need one. Plus, we’ll look at five of the best currently available baby floor seats in 2021.
Are Floor Seats Good for Babies?
There are lots of good reasons to use a baby floor chair but the most common is it frees up a parent’s hands for other tasks. If you’re home alone with a very young infant, you’re going to need four arms or a secure child seat – with a harness and a fully supported back – to get anything done.
Baby floor seats keep infants safe and upright while they’re not being held. Some provide stimulation in the form of rattles and other brightly colored toys. Others encourage the development of the sitting muscles in an infant’s trunk and legs.
For these reasons, baby floor chairs can be highly beneficial but there are some safety rules to remember.
· The baby should always be strapped in or held secure to the seat with a safety belt or harness.
· The baby should not be left in a floor seat for longer than 30 minutes at a time or more than 2 hours per day. The torso of a very young infant is still developing and too much time in a semi-upright position can put a strain on their spine and lungs. This same rule applies to car seats and highchairs as well.
· Pediatricians advise against the use of baby floor chairs for infants below the age of three months because they cannot hold their heads upright. Newborns should never be left in a baby floor seat. They require a bassinet or rocker which supports their whole body.
· Never leave a baby unattended while they’re in a floor seat. These products are designed to be used with a parent in the same room. Make sure the safety belt and/or harness works correctly.
See also: Best Mini Fridge for Breast Milk Storage
How to Choose an Infant Floor Seat
There’s no room for maybes when it comes to the safety and security of your little one’s floor seat. Here are some key features to look out for when shopping for a floor chair for baby:
A lot of baby floor seats come with removable pieces – food trays, rattle toys, safety harnesses, etc – to help with storage. These pieces mustn’t be small enough to pose a choking risk so it’s actually rare for baby floor chairs to include more than two or three large pieces.
Some can be collapsed into a semi-flat shape. Others have a slimline design so they can be stored under the kitchen table or in a corner of the room when not needed. They can still be pretty bulky so pick a size that suits both your baby and his home.
The best floor seat for a baby guarantees no escape even if your child is extremely wriggly and restless. Not all baby floor chairs come with a safety belt or harness so if you choose one that doesn’t, make sure it’s a very snug fit.
Floor seats without safety harnesses usually come with a detachable tray that circles the baby’s torso and secures their legs. The molded seat must have a leg divider to prevent the baby from slipping under the tray and out of the chair.
The important thing is your floor chair’s safety features allow for little to no lower body movement. If you want to be doubly, triply safe, buy a baby floor chair that includes all of these features.
The best baby floor chairs come with an integrated feeding tray, a rattle toy rail, or sometimes both.
These accessories keep an infant stimulated so their parent can get on with tasks close by. These extra pieces should never be small enough to pose a choking hazard. It’s worth shopping around to see what’s out there.
Some products come with washable feeding mats, removable seats, interchangeable toys, and more. You’ll need to decide which types of toys, activities and distractions you’re looking for (if any) when buying a baby floor seat.
Best Baby Floor Seats
Bumbo is an extremely popular brand with parents and its Classic Floor Seat has been a bestseller for many years. It’s also one of our favorites because it encourages good posture and can be used as a chair to help baby sit up.
Weight Limit: 22lbs / Age Limit: 12 months / Overall Size: 14.96 x 14.96 x 9.25 inches
· Available in 10 color variations
· Contoured foam seat ‘hugs’ baby’s trunks and legs
· Comes with a safety belt
· High back helps baby develop good posture
· Pricey compared to rival products
· No removable front (larger babies may not fit)
· No stimulation (doesn’t include toys or a tray)
Fisher Price’s wonderful ‘Sit-Me-Up’ floor seat has everything a busy parent and a restless infant could need: stimulating rattle toys, a wipe-down food tray, and a supportive shape for posture and learning how to help a baby learn to sit up.
Weight Limit: 25lbs / Age Limit: 12 months / Overall Size: 8.27 x 10.43 x 12 inches
· Fabric is removable and machine washable
· Available in a variety of bright animal prints
· Can be collapsed flat for under sofa storage
· Includes 2 rattle toys and a detachable tray
· Seat is a little tight (larger babies may not fit)
· Seat is at a 45° which may frustrate restless tots
· No safety belt or harness
If you love the Bumbo Classic but need a floor seat that can accommodate a chunkier infant, take a look at the Ingenuity Baby Base 2-in-1 Seat. In some ways, the two products are similar but the Ingenuity has a dishwasher-safe feeding tray and a foam insert that can be removed to make extra space as your baby grows.
Weight Limit: 50lbs / Age Limit: 48 months / Overall Size: 15 x 17 x 12 inches
· Feeding tray is detachable and machine washable
· 2-in-1 design (converts to a highchair)
· 3 point harness and 2 strong straps
· Removable foam insert to ‘size up’
· High back (good chair to sit baby up)
· Pricey compared to rival products
· Not as heavy at the front (slight tipping risk)
The Summer Infant 3-Stage Super Floor Seat comes with a hanging rail of colorful toys and stimulators. It’s one of the most attractive and beautifully designed floor chairs on our list and also the most versatile. Different pieces can be removed to ‘upsize’ the seat and make it suitable for babies, toddlers, and even smaller children.
Weight Limit: 33lbs / Age Limit: 4 yrs / Overall Size: 9 x 16.9 x 17 inches
· Lots of right colors and eye-catching patterns
· Includes a rail of hanging/rattling toys
· 3-stage design means the seat can be sized up
· Toy bar can be attached to other surfaces
· Comes with a super-secure safety strap
· Very, very pricey compared to rival products
· No storage space for detachable toys
Hugaboo’s Original Infant Sitting Chair is a little different from the other baby floor seats included on our list but it does a great job all the same. Instead of having a rigid frame, it’s completely soft and rests on the floor almost like a small beanie chair. It still has a really supportive shape with a wide back and molded spaces to hold the baby’s legs in place.
Weight Limit: no limit / Age Limit: 10 months / Overall Size: 22 x 18 x 11 inches
· Soft design for parents who don’t like ‘plasticky’ chairs
· Very lightweight and easy to move around
· Entire seat is machine washable
· Comes with loops to attach hanging toys
· Can be awkward getting baby in and out
· Not rigid so provides less posture support
· Doesn’t include hanging toys (just loops)
See also: What is the Best Baby Carrier?
Frequently Asked Questions
Q – Is it safe to place a baby floor chair on a table or countertop?
A – Never place an unsecured baby floor seat high up on a table or other surface. Some products come with straps that enable them to be attached to a chair or table. These are the only cases when a floor chair can be safely raised off the ground. Otherwise, do not try this and certainly never leave a baby unattended in this position. It’s very unsafe.
The same rule applies to their use in water. Baby floor seats are not designed to keep babies safe in the bathtub.
Q – Is it safe to use a baby floor chair outdoors?
A – Yes, it is safe to place a baby in a floor chair outdoors provided the ground is level and doesn’t present a tipping risk. The infant must be supervised at all times.
Q – I’ve purchased a baby floor chair with a 2-in-1 design. When will my baby be old enough to use the booster seat?
A – All babies are different. However, a good rule of thumb is to switch to using the booster seat after your child has been able to support their head and neck for some time and can climb confidently enough not to put themselves in danger (in other words, when a minor tumble is unlikely to hurt their head or neck).
Q – How do I know if my child is old enough to eat from the tray on their floor seat?
A – A baby who can hold its head up unsupported and is already eating solids can be fed from the tray on a floor seat. Always supervise to keep an eye on choking hazards and intervene if they somehow manage to tip the chair. This is unlikely but not impossible for very boisterous babies.
Q – Is it safe to let a baby sleep for several hours in a baby floor chair?
A – Very young infants should not be allowed to sleep for longer than 30 minutes in their baby floor chair. A baby’s neck muscles are underdeveloped and breathing problems can occur if they are left sitting upright for prolonged periods. The golden rule for floor chairs is no longer than 30 minutes per session and no more than two hours of use in a single day. This is very important advice for keeping your little one safe.
Our favorite pick of the bunch is Fisher Price’s Sit-Me-Up Baby Floor Seat. It comes with a variety of stimulating accessories and it’s the best chair to help your baby sit up and observe the world safely. While it doesn’t have a safety harness, its slimline design is guaranteed to keep smaller infants snug and secure.
Unfortunately, the Fisher-Price model isn’t suitable for larger babies but, if you’ve got a chunky tot, we strongly recommend the Summer Infant 3-Stage Super Floor Seat. It accommodates babies and toddlers up to four years of age. Although it’s very pricey – double the cost of some other baby floor chairs on our list – it’s fantastic value for money in the long term because you don’t need to replace it once your child starts growing.
Hopefully you found something you’ll like for your little one. If you found another baby seat somewhere else that you preferred, we’d love to hear about it! Tell us about your experience in the comments below!
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