At first glance, we wondered if the seemingly small and overly simple Baby Bjorn high chair could indeed handle the full range of occupants it claims, from baby all the way to toddlers pushing the upper age limit of three years old. We quickly realized that not only did our older baby fit in this chair, but they did so with ease. The smaller space just meant that there was no extra space to collect food, or worse, squirm free. The stylish design uses the tray for a dual purpose, integrating it as part of the baby's restraint system, which is vital since this only has a 3-point harness and there are no shoulder straps like on many other high chairs. The chair, made from durable, chemical-free plastic, is effortless to wipe clean and has no crevices allowing food to hide. Best of all, it folds nice and flat for storage and can be used for travel in a pinch. Read on to discover more about why we gave this little powerhouse an Editor's Choice Award.
Pros: Easy to clean, folds flat for storage, promotes great posture
Cons: Buckles do not remove, doesn't maneuver on floors well, small size
Our Analysis and Test Results
Baby Bjorn was created in 1961 by a man named Bjorn Jakobson and remains a family-run business to this day. Bjorn and his wife, Lillemor, still play an active role as CEO and head designer of the company. They uphold their commitment to providing long-lasting products that will stay in excellent condition, as they believe that having children shouldn't require you to buy a lot of "stuff." They stand behind their core principles of safety, quality, and style for every product they manufacture, starting back with their first baby carrier in 1973.
Ease of Use
Truly, the Bjorn performed well all around in this category. The tray has a large knob underneath that you squeeze and then turn to release down, and then squeeze and turn again to lock it back in the upright position. This aspect of the chair is very intuitive, and we quickly figured it out. The straps come together to form a straightforward 3-point pelvic belt that is easy to buckle and adjust.
Behind the buckle is a nice sturdy piece of fabric with a soft backing that will protect your baby's belly from any pinches. However, the buckles do not feature a one-hand release, making it slightly less convenient. This chair does not accommodate newborn infants, but will adequately support your baby from 6 months up to three years of age. Our baby sat in an ergonomically correct position, with her feet resting on the footrest and her back supported by the sleek, rounded design of the chair. What we found that wasn't so intuitive was the two-step fold process. Luckily the instruction manual is very clear and helpful with this process.
Our ease of use metric also accounted for how well the chair accommodated baby throughout different stages of development. It was this area where other reviewers felt the Bjorn may have lacked, with some commenting on how it did not fit their child who was 37" long. The manufacturer clearly states that this chair is for children under 38" tall, so at only one inch under the limit, we would expect a child to be pushing the envelope. Our baby tester, however, was only 31" tall at the time of testing, and had at least 2.5" of space between the tops of her knees and the bottom of the tray (while her feet were flat on the footrest). Therefore, this was not an issue for us, but keep in mind that once your child reaches around 37" long, you may find leg space to be an issue.
Ease of Cleaning
When it comes to ease of cleaning, this chair blows away the competition. It has absolutely no crevices for food to get caught in, no big base for food to land on, no cushions to stain, and no inserts to lift or remove and machine wash. Just wipe down this chair when your baby is finished eating, and you're good to go until the next meal. It's tray depth adjustments even allow you to put the tray snug against baby's belly to prevent extra crumbs from finding their way down to baby's legs, keeping baby cleaner as well. The snack tray easily snaps off with two hands if you'd like to remove it for a wash before taking the baby out. There is no need to lower the main tray to remove the snack tray.
Not surprisingly, this chair also delivered regarding quality. It features just exactly the right amount of chair while still maintaining the smallest footprint and most lightweight material possible. All this while keeping baby safe and secure. Don't let the small size of this chair be mistakenly interpreted as less stability, as it was certainly sturdy enough to handle our squirmy toddler. Our little one was always properly supported and restrained by the 3-point harness, and the seat depth and curved back seemed almost custom-fit to our toddler tester. Lastly, the tray and crotch post, a feature unique to this chair, stayed attached to the chair as part of the restraint system itself. Since the chair does not have a recline feature, and your baby sits upright in an ergonomically correct position, there is still no danger of baby slipping once you release the tray down.
Ease of Set Up
The Bjorn was a breeze to set up. Just snap in the four-leg posts, and it's time to eat! The instructions provided by the company were relatively simple to understand, and our total setup time for this chair was a whopping 2 minutes 39 seconds. Not too shabby. In fact, it probably took us longer to figure out how to tip the tray up for folding than it did to assemble the entire piece.
Footprint and Portability
This chair will only take up about 454 square inches in your kitchen, and very little space when folded up inside the pantry or closet. Like several of our other chairs, it does not have wheels. Some others earned extra points for the ability to slide across the floor, even without wheels. However, this is not the case with the Bjorn. The actual feet are quite small, and we could not slide it around our tile kitchen without those tiny feet getting stuck in the grout lines. But weighing in at only 10.6 lbs, it is easy to pick up the chair entirely to move it from place to place. However, you should do this before you secure your baby in the chair, as trying to slide it around afterward can create a tripping hazard. And of course, always follow the safety guidelines in the owner's manual provided by the company.
Regarding overall portability, you won't find a full-size high chair more portable than the Bjorn. If you are still unsatisfied, you are probably actually looking for a travel booster seat (in which case, you should check out our review on The Best Portable High Chair).
— Juliet Spurrier, MD and Lindsay Selig