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Dining Booster Seats Reviewed: The Yay to the Nay

By Ilana Wiles

the yay to the nayWhen Mazzy turned two, she started to complain about her high chair. We responded by letting her sit in a regular chair which meant she was either on her knees or standing on the chair during meals.

In retrospect, this seems like a very bad idea if you’d like to develop good habits— like sitting still at the dinner table. Something Mazzy has never mastered. Not that she’s tried, of course.

My daughter has what medical professionals call, “Ants in the Pants” and she finds complicated tasks like “sitting in a chair” near impossible.

A few weeks ago, Mazzy saw a dining booster seat at a friend’s house and was immediately intrigued. By “intrigued” I mean that she started screaming and crying when I told her she couldn’t sit in it because the owner of said dining booster seat, a three-year-old named Ella, was currently occupying it.

That’s when I had the RADICAL idea of getting Mazzy her OWN booster seat. (It’s my first kid, sometimes I can be a bit slow.)

I looked at two options: a sleek modern OXO Seedling Youth Booster Seat ($40) that would look perfect in our dining area and a pink plastic Disney Princess Booster (update: the pictured one is no longer manufactured; we have linked to a similar one by The First Years $25) that would clash with everything.

I decided to get both and see which Mazzy liked better, since my main goal was to increase her motivation for sitting at the table.

I set them both up side-by-side while Mazzy was napping.

The Oxo was easy. You just flip the cushion down and place it on the seat. The bottom has rubber grips so it won’t move. It also has the added advantage of folding up so you can transport it easily to a restaurant or stick it in a closet when you are not using it. But it actually blended in so nicely with my kitchen chairs (it’s white with either an orange, green, purple or gray cushion) that I wouldn’t mind leaving it on at all times.

The Disney Princess dining booster needs to be strapped to the bottom and the back of the chair. It’s still pretty simple but once you put that thing on you are not removing it any time soon.

Mazzy woke up from her nap in a pissy mood and she was crying as I brought her out of her room. Her demeanor brightened a bit when she saw the two booster seats.

“Do you want to sit in the booster?”

“Yes,” she said through tears.

“Which one?”

“THE PRINCESS ONE!” she sobbed.

I strapped her in and there she sat happily perched, drinking her milk for about fifteen minutes. Fifteen minutes is a long time in Mazzy’s world. Total success.

When dinnertime arrived, Mazzy asked to sit in the Disney Princess Booster again but I suggested she try out the OXO seat. She obliged.

“Squishy” she announced happily, pressing on the OXO cushion. The Disney seat is 100% plastic.

The OXO is not as high as the Disney seat, plus there are no straps so Mazzy was easily able to climb into it herself, as opposed to me having to pick her up and strap her in.

Of course, the disadvantage is that Mazzy can also climb out easily and didn’t have as high of a vantage point on the table, so she wasn’t compelled to sit quite as long as she did in the Disney Booster.

At this point, I was split. Clearly, the OXO dining booster looked nicer but the Disney dining booster chair actually held her in place.

My decision was made for me at breakfast the next morning.

“Which dining booster seat do you want to sit in?”

“This one!” Mazzy pointed to the OXO. “That one is for babies!” she added pointing to the Disney booster.

I guess she figured out the thing about the straps as well. She’s a pretty smart kid.

So here’s my final assessment.

I believe Mazzy would have gone for whichever booster I had brought home if she wasn’t been given the choice. And both improved her experience sitting at the dinner table, my ultimate goal.

So, it’s up to you decide:

If you care more about keeping your kid strapped down, go for the Disney Princess Booster Seat. It comes in a Cars theme as well if your kid isn’t into the princess thing. Also, if your kid is especially small, the higher seat might work better for you. Plus there is no denying the incredibly better price.

If you want something that looks really nice at your table, has a comfier seat and is easily portable, get the OXO Seedling Youth Booster Seat. And to make yourself feel better about the higher price, think of the lower seat and lack of straps as longer longevity, an investment. Your kid will definitely outgrow the Disney seat first. (Mazzy outgrew it in less than a day.)

Officially, I am giving both boosters a YAY.

If you have a different booster seat that you highly recommend, please tell me about it below. Obviously, I can’t try everything!

About the Author

Ilana Wiles

Ilana Wiles writes Mommy Shorts, a popular NYC humor blog geared towards new parents. In addition to blogging, Ilana has worked as a creative in advertisin...

Ilana Wiles writes Mommy Shorts, a popular NYC humor blog geared towards new parents. In addition to blogging, Ilana has worked as a creative in advertising for the past 15 years. She lives in the East Village of NYC with her husband, her two-year-old daughter and a rapidly growing pile of stuffed animals.

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  • Alissa

    July 20, 2012 at 7:00 pm

    I have a fabulous contraption called a Kaboost (found it on Amazon).  It attaches to the legs of your chair to lift the entire chair up higher.  So child sits high enough to reach but still sits on a regular chair.  Totally love it!

  • Angela

    July 22, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    We used the boosters with trays instead of a standard high chair, then ditched the tray when the kiddos were old enough to sit at the table (in other words, use a plate rather than eat finger food off of the tray). My girls are on the shorter side, and have that “ants in the pants” issue too, so they have been using a booster through age 5. We have a Safety 1st chair that’s been in pretty much continuous use for nearly nine years. (My advice – the fewer bells and whistles the easier it is to clean!)
    Like this one, ours has two different heights for use as kids grow:|pdp|11926138|ClickCP|item_page.adjacency&lnk=Rec|pdp|ClickCP|item_page.adjacency

  • danielle

    July 22, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    fisher price healthy care deluxe booster. its name sounds fancy pants, but it’s very basic and simple. and only $22-$30. it has buckles, so I’ve used it since six months till now with my 2 1/2 year old. actually we now have two – I have a 14 month old, too. not as cool looking as your oxo but a six month old wouldn’t fly in the oxo. no high chairs, just the booster. cleans well. travels easy. this is my once and done purchase – or at least one per child I guess. =)

    • Myriam

      July 23, 2012 at 9:01 am

      I have this one two, passed down for my SIL who now has a 7 year-old. I never used a high-chair, there was no need for one, as this seat works well with a 6 month-old who can sit down with a little support. I never really used the removable white tray, as my baby would tend to grab the outer side and pull, causing a real mess!

  • Autumn

    July 22, 2012 at 11:12 pm

    I have a keekaroo for regular use, and a fisher price booster for travel/back up when friends with kids visit.  I went with the keekaroo cause it’s adjustable (holds up too 250 lbs but you better have a skinny 250 lb butt) to grow with the kid.  And it looks great in our dining room.  But I have been very happy with the fisher price.  Folds down small for storage/travel, cleans easily, long straps to buckle to a variety of chairs.  And cheap too.  

  • IrishCream

    July 23, 2012 at 9:48 am

    My two-year-old loves the Prince Lionheart seat. It’s “squishy” and has a modern, more grown-up look, like the Oxo, but it also has straps. My daughter can climb up and buckle herself in, but can’t yet unbuckle herself — the perfect combination!

  • Jessie

    July 27, 2012 at 11:36 pm

    I don’t have any advice on this topic, my daughter is only 10 months but I do have a theory on the “ants in the pants”. It’s because her feet aren’t touching the floor (I’m assuming by looking at that photo).

    Ever try to eat dinner perched up on a barstool without a place for your feet?? Same thing.

  • wendy

    August 12, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    when my 12.5 yr old was a toddler, we went with the junior chair at ikea that puts the kid at table height. it was $20 or less. their current model is a bit more pricey at $50, but not having straps to contend with (we have a booster like that too, for visiting friends/family) and enabling child to get in the chair themselves and sit properly in a chair seat worked really well for us.

    our 3yr old just graduated to it from her high chair, so, it was worth the investment (even though at the time, it didn’t cost any more than the booster seats). here’s the link to the ikea one:

  • […] Best Dining Booster Seats | Alpha Mom […]

  • Cheryl

    July 8, 2014 at 9:53 am

    Perfect! These are the 2 I was stuck on! Except I was looking at a John Deere plastic one. Since my son is still pretty young I’ll go with the plastic one! Thanks!