Tuesday, June 3, 2014

BAK Gear: Chicco Poly High Chair

Have you ever bought a high chair where your kid couldn't sit at the table without knocking knees or pinching their leg fat?? When we first realized we were preggers, we went straight out to the store and bought the first Graco high chair we found. It functioned. It lacked some features but it worked. Plus, it was cheap. However, as she got bigger, our child couldn't sit at the table comfortably without some sort of injury, whether its pinching her fingers between the underside of the table and the high chair or her leg fat getting squished.

Now, enter the birth of our second kid, and things are a little different. We got some lessons learned from buying a cheaper high chair with limited functionality. We started looking for a more useful high chair that would serve our kid from the first time they sit down for a meal at the table, to at least when she can get on and off her own chair. Plus, for you pansy male designers it should fit the decor and design notes of the house right? As a conversational piece, it should draw in and complement colours of the surrounding area right? 

The Chicco Poly High Chair came in many textile design options and layouts. BAM opted for this red/orange paisley combo matching some artwork and brings out the warm brown and orange hues in the flooring and dining table. Plus it hides shit really well - especially tomato-based sauces - so you won't have a white-coloured high chair with the faint orange staining that you see at second hand stores. We bought this off a garage sale in near mint condition for cheap. Normally it retails around $150 at ToysRus but I still wouldn't pay that much for a chair. For that price, I'd rather the kid sit on stacks of medical textbooks strapped in with a shemagh scarf. So buy it on sale - or used.
Apparently this chair is Italian-designed (although probably mass produced in China and sold at a premium). So if you want to be chic and hip you want this chair. Almost everything about this chair can be operated one-handed - good, bad, meh - it helps.  Ok, so why do we like this chair so much. First here's the marketing text straight off the website:
The Chicco Polly 2-in-1 High Chair Features:
Ultra-slim fold
Two vinyl easy to wipe clean seat pads
7 seat heights, 3 seat reclines, and adjustable footrest
Convenient tray insert and tray storage
5-point harness with shoulder pads and 4 wheels with brakes
What we really like though, is the fact that its vinyl so we can wipe shit off of it, or just stick it outside, and hose the damn thing down - with the kid strapped in.

We also like that it folds into a compact size. Well as compact as any high chair could be squished, but it's out of the way, and out of site (and it won't fall over). I like that it has all sorts of doodads to adjust, whether its armrest, or seatback position, height under table, footrest, seatbelt positioning, It's like being in the driver's seat of a Land Rover.

On the back of the high chair, there's actually some additional features that make it a well thought out product. So if you're like me, you often wonder, "so now WTF are we suppose to do with the tray table if we don't use it?" Well, along the rear posts, there are hooks to keep the tray in place when not being used. There's also netting available which we use for holding myriad bibs and shit like that.

Ok, so now onto the sitting piece, the vinyl. I can't really figure out why they made it a two-piece affair, other than giving it some design contrast. Not a big deal but it works. Although, I suppose if the top layer becomes a Pollack painting, it can be removed leaving another underneath. As with other high chairs with vinyl content, when doing a field strip and clean be sure to run your fingers into the nooks and crannies to rid the chair of dried noodles and shit. Removing both covers for laundering is as simple as unthreading the seatbelts from the eyelets, and voila they both come off easily. Because its vinyl, its also very easy for our dog to do some pre-cleaning.

For the tray table itself, its also a two-piece affair with the main tray table affixed to moveable chair arms by means of sliding it along the rails on the arms. There's plenty of leg room between the tray and the seat, there's also a crotch block to keep your slippery kid from sliding down, if you're not using the seatbelt. The tray insert really is quite helpful with those inevitable spills, just lift off the tray insert, dump and re-attach. All the while keeping your kid in place. The underside of the tray really does look like the Starship Enterprise.

The tray insert is a semi-transparent plastic piece with shallow partitions for water cup, an entrée section, and some side sections. I like that its a solid piece, with no holes (unlike the Graco which had holes to accommodate plug-in toys) - making it much simpler and easier to clean. It also fits in our dishwasher. Not sure of the recommendation but I always follow my rule about, if its kid stuff, and its not machine washable I ain't buying it. We never actually used the tray, because our kid sat at the table

So the last bit I'd like to review is the height adjustment capability. We already know that you can lay this high chair almost flat so your kid can sleep while you eat. Or for an infant who can't hold their head up yet. When we went out looking for another high chair, seat height adjustment was a big performance factor. We needed something that would fit under our table while enabling our child to sit there comfortably without pinching her leg fat.

This chair enables her to sit at the table. With a few height adjustment options, we can essentially let the chair "grow" with the kid, enabling her to remain at our table, and perhaps not having to buy a booster or make her squat on adult chairs for height.

I'd recommend this chair for anybody who requires more control of the adjustment of their high chair to suit their family requirements for having their kids at the table (we didn't use the tray at all). As always, evaluate what you really need. We went through two separate Graco high chairs before we got this one. That's not to say Graco doesn't make a useful high chair, we just found it didn't' slide into our table too well with the kid in it, and when collapsed it actually had a weird weight distribution making it prone to falling over.

Disclaimer

Full Disclosure: Unless noted, Bad Ass Dad has not been compensated in any means to review this gear. It is all his own, procured through pro-channels, retail, or issuance.