High Chair Hygiene
Meal times are a time of learning and exploration for babies and toddlers. Not only are they exposed to a variety of new textures, but to tastes and smells as well. While your baby is still eating purees from the spoon, fewer messes are to be expected; once he or she graduates to finger or table foods, however, all bets are off.
When our daughter first began eating table foods, it was an adventure. Not only did she have the joy and frustration of discovering different tastes and textures, but she also was able to explore her food for the first time not only with her mouth, but with her hands as well. After meal time was over, we’d find crumbs and small pieces of food tucked away into her hair, down her shirt and even underneath her legs where she was sitting. The high chair fared no better – food would be found all around the padded seat cushion, including on, inside and underneath it, not to mention crusted onto the tray.
What’s a somewhat clean-freak parent to do? Before getting out the bleach and spraying down the entire high chair, my husband and I decided to take a more calm approach. After taking the tray and padded cushion off the chair, we read the manufacturers’ instructions and proceeded to clean the chair accordingly. The tray goes to the kitchen sink, where it’s washed with dish soap and warm water, then dried and returned to the eating area. Then we use a non-chemical all-purpose cleaner to spray down the vinyl seat cushion, the chair underneath, and the foot rests. For the straps that hold her in, we scrub those with the cleaner and a sponge and, when they get really bad, soak them in soapy water or run them through the washing machine.
As for our daughter, we’ve learned a few tricks to keeping her clean at meal time, too. We use a receiving blanket tucked around her neck and down over her chest to catch any crumbs that fall down from her hand or mouth, and try to wipe down her hands with a damp wash cloth before she gets a chance to rub her eyes, hair, face or anything else within reach.
It’s not a fool-proof method, but it usually keeps the messes to a minimum.
Written by: Juliet
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