If you are looking at buying a high chair, it can be a little difficult with so many different models and styles on the market. There are also many different aspects to consider, including the ease of use, and most importantly the safety aspect. On top of this it needs to be easy to clean, and comfortable for the child. In this article we are going to be looking at the Steelcraft Messina High Chair. Can this model fulfil some of the important aspects mentioned above? Let’s have a closer look at that below.
A look at the Messina Chair
For those of you who don’t know anything about Steelcraft as a brand, they are an Australian based company that has been making baby focused goods for the past 65 years. They were bought up by Britax in 1987, who now distribute their products and oversee their production. Britax are a big company, who control a number of brands internationally. The company has not changed much since they were taken over, and have continued to release a variety of new and interesting products.
Now the Messina high chair has been on the market for a few years, and seems to have sold fairly well. The chair retails for around $199 Australian dollars, which works out at around $151 US dollars at the time of writing. This puts it in the lower to mid range budget area, which has a fair amount of competition on the market. So what sets it apart from competing chairs, if anything? Let’s talk about the design for starters. This Steelcraft high chair comes in four colours including tangerine (pictured above), onyx, dove and silver (pictured below). All the color choices are nice enough, and it’s hard to pick out a favorite here.
This chair is designed for babies from 4-6 months old all the way up to 3 years, with a maximum supported weight of 15kg. The height of the chair is adjustable to six different heights, to keep up with a growing child. This is done by pressing the red buttons behind the front legs on either side, and sliding the seat up or down to the required height. The tray on the front is removable, and has to be removed every time you put your child into the chair. This is done by squeezing the release lever under the tray and pulling the tray out, or alternatively squeezing the tray and pushing it in back in when lined up with the armrests. The tray is actually two layers, and the top layer snaps off for easy removal. The top tray has deep walls to contain spillages, and a built in cup holder. The seat can be reclined in three different positions, with the lowest position being at a roughly 45 degree angle to the ground. This can be done by squeezing the latch at the rear of the seat, and moving it up or down. This is handy for when your child is very young, and needs more back support. A seat insert is included which features a soft fabric cover on one side which makes it nice and warm for a younger child, and a easy to clean vinyl cover on the other side for the older kids. The seat insert can be machine washed, provided it is done on a gentle setting. The seat has a five point safety harness built in, with a crutch bar built into the tray. The seat belt has two height settings which can be adjusted as your child grows.
In terms of other features, there is an adjustable footrest for young children. This can be put up or down using the levers underneath the footrest. Beneath the footrest is a small storage pouch which can hold a few small items such as bottles or bibs. This chair sits on four wheels for easy mobility. Once it is where you want it to be, you can lock the wheels in place by pressing down on the lever behind the rear wheels. Once you are done with the chair, it can be folded away for storage. This is done by firstly removing the tray (which can be hooked at the back of the chair), and then by folding the armrests up. You then put the chair in the lowest height position, and adjust the frame supports by moving them all the way to the top which will close the frame. It sounds a little tricky to do, but after one or two goes you should be able to do it fairly quickly.
Are there any issues?
So it sounds like quite a promising purchase so far, but are there any obvious issues with it? Yes, there are a few worth mentioning. This model is quite tricky to clean, as there are quite a few nooks and crannies, especially in the seating area. If your child spills anything that doesn’t land in the tray, then it is a bit of work to get clean again. And anyone with a child will know how messy they can be, so we were certainly not pleased with this aspect of the design. Another issue is that the tray sits a little high up, and perhaps a little far away from the child. A bit of manoeuvrability in the tray area would have fixed this issue, and it is certainly a issue for smaller babies. It becomes less of an issue as they get bigger, but what can you do in the meantime?
And lastly the chair is quite big and bulky. The base is very wide which makes it nice and stable. However we can’t help but feel they could have trimmed it down a little, while still keeping the base area secure.
So that is a look at the Messina high chair. It has a variety of nice features, and sits somewhere in the middle of the market in terms of pricing. It does have a number of flaws though, so we would struggle to recommend it based on those. None of the flaws seem to compromise the safety of the child though, so if you do see it on sale then it may be worth a look. Otherwise your best option is probably to keep looking for something a bit more promising.