By the time my eldest was two, I had heard enough about the bloody Tripp Trapp chair. At the time, I co-ran a parenting board (it no longer exists but was fabulous) and all I heard was how AMAZING the Tripp Trapp was. On and on and on the owners would bleat. “Best chair ever,” “amazing, little Johnny can join us at the table, he’s always at the right height for eating and drawing and everything.”
SHUT UP!!! I wanted to cry. I am so contrary that the more people tell me to buy something the less I want to buy it. There are a few, choice, individuals by whom I am insanely influenced. But not many.
My daughter had two Ikea high chairs and perfectly good they were too. One was the Antilop, hugely popular and a best seller. The other was the Blames, but in oak (no longer available). The Antilop lived at my parents’ house, the Blames was at ours. They were fine.
But when my daughter got to be two years old, she was too big for the highchairs and wanted to be more independent (actually this happened way before then but I ignored it because goddamit these were the highchairs I had committed to, what did it matter that she couldn’t get in and out of them by herself?). She could of course climb on an adult chair, and she did, but it was big for her and she was never at the right level for eating or drawing or counting her money.
It was at this point that I gave in and bought a Tripp Trapp, quietly and without telling many people because I was so ashamed. And of course, I realised what all the fuss was about. They are fabulous chairs and had I not been so pig headed or “with a head not even the pigs would eat” as we say in Italian (but we say it in Italian) then I would have had two more years wear out of it. As it is, my eldest is now nine and uses her Tripp Trapp every day, several times a day and has done for the past seven years.
The youngest was in hers from a very young age, about four/five months, when she could sit up unaided, with the babyset attachment. Tripp Trapp now does a newborn set so you can actually put then in it from birth, not that they can eat at the table from birth though, but they can join the family at the table.
So, what’s so goddamn great about this chair?
Well it grows with the child. As they get older you take off the babyset (if indeed you ever used it, obviously I didn’t first time round), you move the seat and footrest up and down according to need.
It looks great, being of northern European design of which I’m so fond.
It comes in lots of different, plain wood finishes/colours.
It’s so easy to clean, unlike some hideous highchairs I’ve seen.
So it’s not as cheap as some highchairs, from £120 new, but you can pick them up on eBay (they hold their value). Personally, I think it’s worth every penny as even adults can use it, so it need never go out of use.
Because it’s height adjustable, children are always sitting in the correct position (well, they are if you adjust it right) with their feet supported.
I think the Tripp Trapp has a smaller footprint than other highchairs. I can’t swear to this, but because of the design it doesn’t seem to have as big a footprint as others with their giant foot span. It also slides very neatly under the table, unlike almost all other highchairs that have a front to them.
My children sometimes sit on the footplate, facing the seat part and use the seat part as a table. You can’t do that with other highchairs.
There is a video in circulation that purports to show a Tripp Trapp falling backwards (the child pushes his feet against the table). Perhaps this is possible, but neither of my children have ever managed this and neither have I, I just slide when I try it. But I thought I’d mention it in case any of the Tripp Trapp haters mention it.
But the biggie for me is something quite subtle. The Tripp Trapp doesn’t come with a tray, in fact a tray goes against everything the makers, Stokke, believe in which is that a baby/child should be at the table, en famille, being part of everything. Not separate.
Anyway. I paid full price for both of mine from Back in Action. What I mean by that is that I didn’t get any special journalist offers or back handers.
I can’t recommend them highly enough. Although it’s taken me seven years to get round to writing this up. If you are thinking of a getting a highchair, don’t be an idiot like me and give in, GIVE IN NOW and buy one.