The Stokke Tripp Trapp High Chair: An Honest Review
Disclaimer: This is my first and only high chair purchase. I have nothing to compare it to, and like most things that have to do with parenting, I have no idea what I’m doing.
The Stokke Tripp Trapp High Chair sucks.
Sure, it’s got that sleek, Scandinavian aesthetic and it’s made of real wood. You can also pull it right up to the table so baby can eat with the family. We’re off to a great start.
But you know what the top review of the Stokke Tripp Trapp High Chair says on the “acclaimed” Babylist website??
“Easy to clean.”
That is a joke. The top straps are near-impossible to remove. Every time my husband attempted to slide the thick straps through the thin slat it took him at least 15 minutes and profanities were flying across the room as our precious 1-year-old looked on. And the crotch strap? Forget it. You need a screwdriver to chip away at the plastic for it to come off. I’m not kidding.
Of course every parent has different things they want out of a high chair. As clean freaks experimenting with baby-led weaning, our top priority was ease of cleaning. For those who aren’t familiar, baby-led weaning puts baby in charge, so my son was essentially given the green light to play with his food and make a total mess. I loved it, and loved how much he enjoyed eating. I did not love that food remnants stuck to the straps would live on for months.
If you have different priorities, this chair may be for you. Lots of people love it. Part of the reason we bought it was because of my deep dive into glowing online reviews and referrals from friends.
But after a year with this stupid chair my husband and I wondered, “Do other parents know something we don’t??”
So I Googled further and found this review from a parenting website called One Smiley Monkey. She wrote:
"I love how easy it is to clean the chair at the end of the day. All I need to do is wipe it down with a clean damp cloth and it cleans up beautifully. The straps are not very easy to remove and clean but if they are really dirty I just fill a container with soapy water, set it on the seat of the Tripp Trapp and dangle the straps into it until they are totally clean. After that I pat-dry them with a towel and then let them dry overnight."
... Oh, is that all? I mean, really, who has time for that? I’m a Mom! And can you believe she had the audacity to start by saying she loves how easy it is to clean the chair?? Give me a break.
So I went on Reddit, the real place to go to for reviews. A fellow parent was lamenting about how hard it was to clean the straps. She wrote: “Oh my gosh, the straps are crazy. … What do people know that I don’t know for cleaning this harness?”
There were 22 comments. Here was my favorite:
“I put my entire Tripp Trapp in the shower and just used hot water and a little dish soap on it. It worked like a charm!”
I found this equally ridiculous and brilliant. Ultimately decided against it because we didn’t want to ruin the wood in the shower.
Most of the other comments revealed something surprising: they didn’t use the straps at all. Apparently, you don’t really need them. The straps are for safety. The website says you need the straps until 36 months old, when baby can climb in and out of the chair on his own. But another reviewer on Reddit wrote this:
“The harness is only a compulsory addition in North America - if you look at the website for other countries you'll see that Stokke doesn't really want the harness used. We don't use the harness on our chair so baby has freedom of movement (he always has someone beside him at the table and is never left unattended) and it's super easy to get him out if we need to.”
Like the above reviewer, we never leave my son unattended at the table. He’s also pretty sturdy at 15 months old, so we’re not worried about him falling out of the chair.
So we removed the straps. For good.
Once the straps were completely gone (after 30 minutes of my husband cursing with a screwdriver and hurting his delicate fingers), we took an old kitchen towel and wiped the entire crusty chair clean with warm water.
It appears that we have a new chair. We love that it pulls right up to the table so our son can eat with us. We love the look - it actually matches our kitchen table and chairs. We love the adjustable footrest, which is important for ergonomic eating.
Without the straps, this is a pretty great high chair.
Unfortunately, you can’t purchase the baby set without the straps, and you need the baby set for the baby seat, which provides side and back support. The top straps don’t come attached, so if you don’t want to use them you don’t have to, but the crotch strap DOES come attached. And even though the website says you don’t need any tools to remove it, they are lying. It will not be fun to remove the crotch strap, but you can do it. I believe in you. Or, since you’re never going to put it back on, you could just cut the nylon strap off.
All this is to say, I suppose the Stokke Tripp Trapp High Chair was a good investment. Maybe. I’ll let you know how I feel about it in another year.
In the meantime, I’m pregnant and looking for recommendations for a new high chair for Baby Girl. Please advise.