The practical side to magnets, as interpreted by 4moms’ new high chair.
A company that gets me excited about product design, 4moms’ lineup looks great and makes my kid (and her mom) look cool. After speaking with 4moms CEO Rob Daley on the launch of their connected, self-installing car seat for the Consumer Electronics Show this year, my enthusiasm and new mom status lent me an opportunity to test out the next product they’d launch, a magnet-optimized high chair, firsthand.
I’ll get right to it.
Read the instructions, dad
My first recommendation is to read the assembly instructions.
The high chair ships in a large box and will require minimal assembly. While the company is named 4moms, the assembly part I left for dad. A physicist, I was surprised to hear his account of a complex assembly process wherein the four holes to bolt the chair seat to the base were hard to reach. I raised an eyebrow in disbelief — having purchased the 4moms mamaRoo for our newborn, I expected a much friendlier assembly experience.
“Well, I didn’t read the instructions,” my husband admitted. Had he read the manual prior to assembly, he would’ve seen that you’re to adjust the seat height before bolting on the chair. Much easier to reach the bolts, much easier to assemble. Just a word to the wise!
Safe for infants!
My next surprise was that my four month-old daughter was able to comfortably use the high chair.
Since she can’t yet sit up on her own and is still on a liquid diet, the thought of putting her in a high chair hadn’t crossed my mind. But the chair has aviator-style straps that cross baby’s entire body, and the removable chair insert is contoured for comfortable seating. As the straps can also be height-adjusted, the 4moms high chair can accommodate babies large and small, maxing out at 60 pounds.
Now about these straps. They’re awesome.
Similar to car seat straps, the 4moms high chair straps come down over the shoulders and across the lap. There are four separate straps (two on each side) that fit together, then snap into the centered buckle. The best part about the straps is taking them off — with one click of the buckle button, the straps are released. Tug on them ever so slightly and they’ll break away, leaving 100% clearance to take baby out of the high chair without her arms snagging the straps.
Magical magnetic tray
And now for the piece de resistance — the magnetic tray.
My first test was to determine if I could attach and remove the tray with one hand, because in most cases I’ll have a baby in my arms. Success! The tray is so easy to use, even with one hand. Guided by magnets on either side of the chair, the tray slides into place immediately (it only gets easier the more you do it). To remove the tray, there’s a latch on its underside that you’ll need to squeeze and lift for full detachment. This two-part process is a safety measure that seems to keep the tray from being misaligned or too easily removed.
The tray also comes with a removable lining that’s dishwasher safe.
Bonus — the magnetic tray is great for keeping track of house keys.
The test kit also came with a magnetic bowl and utensils, which grip to the tray with just enough force. The dishes and utensils are sold separately, in a set or individually.
Design: The good, bad and beautiful
The high chair itself is beautiful, featuring a modern design with rounded edges for a smooth appearance. There are three color-combo options: White + Grey, White + Green and Black + Grey. The accompanying dishes and utensils match the high chair’s modern spin, with bold green accents and rounded edges resistant to banging.
The chair is also easy to move around (baby’s joined us in the kitchen and family room), and gives her the height needed to comfortably sit in front of our aquarium. Sixty-five gallons of saltwater, fresh coral and fish have a most soothing effect on baby girl.
I also love that, at four months, my little one can be close to eye level when I need to put her down and take care of other things, like cleaning the house, practicing my cello or working on the laptop. This makes ongoing engagement an easier task, as she doesn’t have to strain to see me or follow me across the room with her eyes. Since she can’t talk yet, this kind of engagement is crucial when I need her to stay calm when I can’t hold her in my arms.
The magnetic tray was so inspiring, I’d be interested in toy accessories. Granted, you could attach a suction toy to the tray, but if 4moms sold magnetically attached toy bases alongside their dishes and utensils, I wouldn’t think twice about purchasing them.
I’ve been using the 4moms high chair for two weeks at the time of writing, and can honestly say the only improvement I’d consider would be a holder or hook (or even a magnet) somewhere along the side or back of the chair base to rest the tray when I’m putting baby into or taking her out of the seat.
4moms high chair vs. the Bumbo Floor Seat
Having used both the 4moms high chair and the Bumbo Floor Seat, I can attest that they both serve their purposes. The Bumbo Seat is very mobile and can even go on road trips or to restaurants. But picking up the Bumbo Floor Seat with baby still in it can be tricky if she can’t yet hold her head up on her own, and its smushy foam body can be hard to grip when lifting and carrying.
Moving the 4moms high chair around the house has an equal number of pros and cons, in that it’s easy enough to move the chair but its size can make it cumbersome depending on your space and the type of floors you have. The biggest difference between moving the 4moms high chair and the Bumbo Floor Seat is that baby’s head won’t wobble much in the high chair, and the aviator straps keep her more secure than the Bumbo’s lap only straps.
As far as price, the Bumbo Floor Seat is going to cost you much less, and can be used as a booster seat at the dinner table, or you can purchase an attachable tray. For about $55 you can get the Bumbo Floor Seat and the clip on tray. The 4moms high chair will run you $299 before dishes and utensils are added. But when it’s all said and done, I feel baby is safer and more comfortable in the 4moms high chair.