Review: Valco Baby Astro High Chair

With my first son, I registered for and received a very fancy high chair. Fancy in the sense that it was kind of like a Transformer. I thought I needed it to lay completely flat, sing my child a song and wipe it’s face for me. Okay, it didn’t do any of that but you get my drift. Being a first time mom, I didn’t think of how many future crumbs would fall into the cracks and crevices, only to be found weeks later, or how dribbles of milk would go unnoticed and stink up my entire house. Three kids and (I’m not even going to admit to how many) high chairs later, I’ve learned that I much prefer simplicity. Actually… simplicity, easy to clean, easy to store, safe and stylish.
Is that even possible?

Valco Baby sent me their stylish, compact Astro High Chair and I put it to the test. 

No Assembly
Right out of the box, it was ready to go. The high chair comes fully assembled and in the locked/stored position. I was shocked how flat and compact it really was. While folded the Astro measures: Length 31.5″ Width 22.4″ Height 6.7″ and it weighs only 15 pounds- it’s very easy to carry (you can also purchase a Travel Bag separately).

Unfolding and Folding
With a little pull, the high chair unlocks and pops right up into a standing position. To lock the seat in the standing position, you simple pull the seat back upward and forward until you hear two clicks. There are two locks- one that locks it in to place and the second is a safety lock. Collapsing the high chair is a two hand, two step process but very easy to do. There is a release latch at the top back of the seat that you lift up and a red safety lock underneath the seat that you twist. Once both locks are released, you simply push the seat towards the floor and it automatically locks in the folded position.

The Tray
The tray is a two-handed tray with release levers on the underside of the tray’s sides. It slides on and off fairly easily and has two positions. The innermost position leaves a space between my toddler and the tray and the second position is best for getting him in and out of the seat without having to take the tray completely off. In fact, I don’t even need to move the tray from the innermost position to get my 22-pound toddler out of the seat. Having the tray further from his tummy does allow more food to drop in to his lap but, realistically, food gets dropped no matter how far or close the tray is. A good thing about having that space between his tummy and the tray is that he is able to hold his straw sippy cup in front of him. The space also gives him the feeling that he can move; that he’s not strapped down so much that he wants to get out.
The tray is a medium-large size and it’s nice and deep, which keeps food from falling off (or being pushed off) the edges. It fits a child sized plate and large sippy cup with lots of room to spare. The tray is dishwasher safe.

The Footrest
The adjustable footrest has two positions. The highest position is perfect for my toddler’s feet; the lowest position allows another inch for growth. There is a button on the backside that you push to adjust the level. It folds upward for storage and locks in to place when in use.

The Seat
The majority of the seat is a leatherette material. It is lightly padded but you can feel the frame and the seat through the padding. It’s not, by any means, uncomfortable looking (or feeling) but it’s not a super-cushy-seat either. The leatherette is super (and I mean super) easy to clean. I take a wet cloth and wipe it down after each meal- the mess comes right off and then I run the cloth once through the seat crevice to get any leftover food out of the crack. Easy peasy.
The seat does not recline so it’s suitable for babies 6 months and up. The seat bottom is fairly large at 11.8″ wide and 9″ long so it will definitely grow with your child. The seat back is not fully upright so my toddler looks like he’s slightly reclined while sitting in the high chair. Although he could (and does at time) sit up in the seat to be closer to the tray.
Because it’s easy to wipe down, taking off the seat fabric is not necessary but it does come off.

The Safety Bar/T-Bar
The safety T-Bar could use a few improvements. It’s attached to the seat so it’s non-adjustable. I’d like to see it narrower between the leg areas, which, I believe, would make the leg opening bigger. My toddler has chubby little legs and he already takes up a large portion of the leg opening. Also, his legs are forced to open wider than at a normal seated position. If the fabric between his legs were narrower, it would allow the seat to grow with him a little longer (as he would have more leg room). I’d also like to see the T-Bar made from the same material as the rest of the seat. It’s not the leatherette material which, makes it harder to clean. Food drops in to my toddler’s lap, gets stuck between him and the T-Bar, and doesn’t wipe off as easy as it does the rest of the seat.

The 5-Point harness
The padded 5-point harness is easy to adjust and use. There are two height positions. Adjusting the shoulder straps is easy- you detach it from the waist belt and thread it through the back of the seat. The two pads that come with the seat are bulky, so much so that my toddler complained when they were on the straps. The harness, at it’s tightest setting, doesn’t cut in to my toddler’s neck or chest so using the pads is not necessary. Although, keeping the pads on the straps makes the 5-point harness snugger on my toddler’s body. That being said, he has yet to wiggle his arms out of the straps and definitely cannot stand up or get out of the seat.

The seat has two D-rings at the sides of waist harness belt. I’m not exactly sure what they are for but I found that you could store the shoulder straps without having to take them off the seat. This could be good for an older child while transitioning to a 3-point harness (before transitioning to a seat at the table). That way, you don’t have to re-thread the shoulder straps if you child isn’t ready.

More…
Speaking of sitting at the table, the high chair is 29″ from ground to top of the white tray guides. It slides perfectly up to our dining room table so my toddler has the option of sitting at the table with us or we can use it in this mode when he gets older.

My 3-year-old (who is 36 inches and 27 pounds) fits nicely in the Astro. He sits in more of an upright position, is closer to the tray and his feet rest nicely on the footrest when it’s in its lowest position. The Safety T-Bar is still a little wide between his legs but his skinny legs have no problem fitting through the leg openings. 

Pros:

  • Easy to clean seat
  • Folds flat for easy travel and storage
  • Easy to use/wash tray
  • Deep tray 
  • Tray is dishwasher safe
  • Stable yet compact base- doesn’t take up anymore room than a small/regular sized dinning room chair
  • Lightweight
  • Fast fold with automatic lock
  • 5-Point (padded) harness
  • Adjustable footrest 
  • For children up to 44 pounds

Cons:

  • Smaller leg openings
  • Fabric Safety T-Bar is not as easy to clean as the rest of the seat is
  • Seat does not recline or adjust
  • Tray to child distance is on the large side allowing food to drop more easily
  • Pads for the harness straps are bulky (but easy to remove)

If you plan to start solid foods when your baby is able to sit up on his own (usually around the 6 month mark) and want a simple, stylish and compact high chair, I would suggest looking into the Astro. If you plan on traveling, having dinner at friends or family members houses and need to take a high chair or if you plan to have a few children close together, you will need something that can transport and store easily.

Disclosure: Valco Baby sent us an Astro High Chair for this review. My opinions on the product are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive sentiments towards Valco Baby or their products.


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