So you’ve gone to all of the trouble to ensure that your baby’s bottles are safe and that you’re expressing your breast milk with a healthy breast pump. But, as your little one grows, you should start thinking about purchasing an eco-friendly high chair.
This article highlights:
What chemicals to avoid in high chairs
All kinds of materials are used to make conventional baby chairs, most of which contain some measure of plastic. But the plastics used to make both the eating and sitting surfaces may be laced with un-safe chemicals such as:
- Bisphenol A (BPA): This chemical is used to make #7 polycarbonate plastics and has been linked to neural, reproductive, and developmental health problems in babies. Though steps have been taken to remove this chemical from baby bottles, it may still be found in other plastic baby items like high chairs. Sometimes polycarbonate is identified as “PC” on the bottom of the product.
- Polyvinylchloride (PVC): PVC plastic can be used to make high chairs, but it should be avoided if possible. Manufacturing and disposing of PVC creates dioxins which cause neurological, reproductive, developmental, and hormonal health problems. PVC plastic is highly flexible and can be identified by the #3 in the chasing recycling arrows.
- Phthalates: Phthalates are another class of chemicals used to make soft plastics like that used in some high chairs. They have been linked to numerous health problems, including cancer, endocrine disruption, development delays, and reproductive system damage.
- Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs): This is a class of flame retardants used widely for consumer products, including high chairs. They can dissolve out of consumer products and be absorbed by the human body where they accumulate in our fat and resist degradation. Over time as they build up they can create health problems like decreased thyroid hormone levels, low birth weights in babies, hyperactivity, and even cancer.
- Polyurethane foam: This is used to make baby mattresses, high chairs, baby carriers, and baby car seats, but it’s full of chemicals including formaldehyde, toluene, formaldehyde, benzene, and surfactants, all of which can pose serious health hazards for your baby.
What features to look for in eco-friendly high chairs
These are some of the factors that play a role in determining how sustainable a high chair is:
- Longevity: Look for something that will grow and adjust as your child develops. That way you’ll only have to purchase one chair for your child that will last them until they’re ready to sit in a big-person chair.
- Recyclability: If possible, look for options that are either made from natural materials that will break down in the environment when composted or from recyclable materials. Likely with something as complex as a high chair there will be a mix of materials (metal, plastic, wood, etc), in which case you should be able to disassemble the chair once it’s outlived its usefulness so that each individual component can be recycled.
- Recycled: It’s always great to be able to purchase something made from recycled materials, be they plastic, metal, fabric, or wood as this saves energy, water, resources, and landfill space.
- FSC-certified wood: The Forest Stewardship Council is the only internationally-recognized third-party forest management organization recognized by major environmental nonprofits and is your key to finding a natural wooden high chair that is made from sustainable wood. Look for their stamp of approval on the packaging or right on the high chair.
- Unpainted and untreated: Many paints and stains can contain toxins like heavy metals that can enter your baby’s body when he/she chews and plays with them. To avoid this problem, look for wooden high chairs that aren’t painted or treated in any way. Safe alternatives to buying unfinished wooden high chairs include things like beeswax, tung oil, and linseed oil.
- Water-based paints and stains: If you really want a high chair with some color, choose water-based paints and stains. If you’re making your own high chair, a safe bet is AFM Safecoat paints which are environmentally responsible and non-toxic.
- Made from solid, not pressed wood: Pressed woods are made by gluing wood sawdust and particles together, but the glues can contain formaldehyde and other off-gassing ingredients that are neither safe for your indoor air or your baby’s body.
The best eco-friendly, non-toxic high chairs
Whether you prefer the practical convenience of plastic or natural wooden high chairs, there are plenty of sustainable products to choose from that fit the features we are looking for.
These are the best eco-friendly, non-toxic high chairs:
Stokke Tripp Trapp
Made by the Norwegian company Stokke, this Scandinavian-style wooden high chair is made from solid beech wood and painted using water-based paints. Free of BPA and phthalates, it’s another great eco-friendly choice.
BLOOM Fresco Baby High Chair
Lalo The Chair
Made using FSC-certified sustainable beech wood, Lalo’s The Chair is a stylish, non-toxic wooden high chair with plenty of boosting potential due to its wide array of available accessories.