Putting high chairs to the test

Putting high chairs to the test

Feeding a hungry baby isn't always a picnic, but it shouldn't be dangerous. A recent study in Clinical Pediatrics reports an alarming number of children suffer injuries from high chair accidents. More than 9,400 children a year, come into the emergency room with high-chair related injuries. That's an average of one child every hour.

Consumer Reports does extensive testing to assess high chair safety. One test uses more than 60 pounds of force to determine whether straps and buckles are strong enough to withstand a wriggling child. Another test checks the size of the leg openings to make sure a child can't slip through.

Consumer Reports says the safest high chairs have a five-point harness. The harness attaches to the chair at 5 points -- one over each shoulder, one on either side of the waist and one between the legs.

Top rated is the $250 Peg Perego Prima Pappa Best -- which has a five-point harness and scored excellent for safety.  The Fisher-Price EZ Clean also has the 5-point harness and is very safe. At $85, it's a Consumer Reports Best Buy.

If you already have a high chair in use, check with the Consumer Product Safety Commission to make sure it hasn't been recalled.  The CPSC says millions of high chairs have been recalled over the years, but very few are returned.  That means many families and day care operators could be using high chairs that pose a risk of laceration, strangulation or other injuries to small children.