While our editor Kate Finney is on maternity leave, her and two little helpers put Stokke Tripp Trapp highchair through its paces
I’m definitely someone who likes to prevent their home looking too much like a playgroup – or at least that’s the aim! – and part of this is choosing baby kit that doesn’t stand out too much. Having said that, I love good design and the Stokke Tripp Trapp highchair is not only an iconic and clever piece of furniture but one that promises to stand the test of time and grow with a family.
Most importantly I want my children to feel comfortable, secure and relaxed, and to eat and communicate well whilst sitting at the table, and the great thing about this chair is that it enables your baby or child to sit at the right height, up against the table and therefore be at the centre of the action.
But does it perform as beautifully as it looks? I needn’t have worried – everything from the neat triangular box and clear instructions (one page of easy diagrams to follow) meant that it was incredibly easy to assemble and adjust. At 38 weeks pregnant I managed to do it on my own, with the help/hindrance of a toddler and a three year old, and I even did it in just over 15 minutes. With only 10 screws holding the whole chair together even my baby brain couldn’t go wrong!
I started by setting it up with the plastic Baby Set (suitable for six months to three years) for my youngest daughter. It clicks into place easily and I find it straightforward to get her in and out, plus it goes in the dishwasher if needs be, or is easy to wipe clean. With the foot rest in the right position she can’t climb out, which has been a problem with other high chairs. If your child is more amenable to the idea of a harness than mine, then Stokke do make one. And the Baby Set also comes with a pair of sliders to extend the base of the chair so I’m not at all worried about it toppling over.
How does it grow with your baby?
I haven’t tried the Newborn Set (which is a clip-on seat suitable from birth – six months) but I’m tempted to once my third baby arrives. It really would mean the whole family could sit together and interact, and I love the idea of the baby being up high rather than down on the floor solo, one step removed from everyone else.
Once your baby is sitting up, the Baby Set is the next step, and is great for the weaning stage. My only problem has been the height of my kitchen table means I can’t slide the Tripp Trapp underneath so there is a small gap between the lip of the baby’s bib and the edge of the Baby Set. Not really too major until your little one demands to feed itself and most of a meal ends up on their lap… But I’d still rather have this problem – easily resolved with a tea towel – in order to have the baby up at the table rather than sitting further away in a chair with a tray that sets them apart from everyone else.
Once your toddler is big enough (around the three-year mark) then they can use the chair without the Baby Set. My three-year-old absolutely loves the Tripp Trapp in the seat formation, mainly because she can climb in and out of it on her own and because she is up high, so feeding herself is much easier than when she sits in an adult chair and the plate of food is almost level with her head. We also have a small table and chairs which we have used in the past a lot for drawing and art projects, but since having the Tripp Trapp I’ve found that the girls prefer to be up high at the table for most activities like painting, baking and reading… and they’re happier to share things and interact with each other which is a miracle. Now they both have a Tripp Trapp there seems to be a greater sense of equality between them, and it’s easier for me as a mother having everyone up at the table. It’s good for mealtimes, good for promoting conversation, and good for my sanity overall!
At £159 the Tripp Trapp chair is expensive, especially once you add accessories like the Newborn/Baby Sets, cushion and harness, but it will last many years and the simple design means it is indestructible (no folding parts) and very easy to adjust as your toddler grows taller and needs more legroom.
Above all, the good design has real implications for how a family interacts and this is what justifies the price for me, plus it is versatile, simple, sleek, hygienic, and comes in a huge range of colours. A Scandinavian friend, now a father-of-two himself (and owner of two Tripp Trapps!), described how he and his brothers had used their Tripp Trapp chairs into adulthood and they became much more than a childhood accessory – I have a feeling the same might become true in our house.
For more information about the Tripp Trapp and other great Stokke products, please visit stokke.com