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The Importance of Foot Support in Highchairs

Since many highchairs on the market don’t include a footrest, it may seem that they are not necessary. Why do some highchairs include a footrest while others don’t? Is foot support necessary when considering your child’s eating environment? Let’s take a closer look and get to the truth.

What are the Benefits of Having Foot Support?

Safety is the number one consideration when feeding your child, and foot support on a highchair promotes a safe eating environment. With the base of the body properly supported, the rest of the body can do its job without the extra effort of using more of the back and stomach muscles. Consider this: your child’s feet, thighs, and back should all be supported while eating. The 90-90-90 position needed for feeding requires a stable core, which includes stable footing.

Forward body weight is achieved with proper foot support. Your child’s feet should firmly press into the footrest. If not, the center of gravity is shifted back into your child’s bottom, reducing control of the muscles needed for chewing and swallowing. This is a result of reduced stability, a backwards tilting pelvis, and poor positioning of your child’s body, head, and neck. In this position, your child is less able to use their smaller muscles, such as their lips, tongue, jaw, and hands.

How Do I Know if My Baby is Lacking Foot Support?

These are some signs that may indicate a lack of or inadequate food support in your child’s highchair:

- Your baby holds their legs straight out from the highchair instead of hanging down in a bent position 

- Your baby is leaning backwards in their chair 

- Your baby crosses their legs or feet in order to seek stability 

- Your child squirms and fidgets or throws their food during mealtimes 

- Your child seeks to avoid mealtimes or end meals quickly because of the amount of work it takes them to sit upright

Why Does Foot Support Need to be Adjustable? 

The goal is for your baby to bear their weight into the footrest. They need to be able to sit upright with their weight forward and their knees bent at 90 degrees. Upright positioning needs to be addressed first (see previous post on core support). Once your baby is sitting upright, check to ensure that they are sitting far enough forward so that their legs bend. Then you can make sure that their foot support is in the correct position. 

When foot support is too low, your child may be unable to reach the footrest or unable to firmly press their feet into it. An adjustable footrest that can be raised can also be modified in the future and lowered to continue to provide support for your growing baby.

Unfortunately, £19 IKEA bestselling Antilop highchairs don’t come with foot support. But we have it covered for you, as we make adjustable solid wood footrests specially designed for IKEA Antilop highchair. Also, if your baby still feels unstable inside your highchair, you can check our cushions that help with core support.