Saturday, 12 November 2011

High chair makers underscore ergonomics, protection

R&D for high chairs is geared toward furthering functionality and prolonging service life.

China manufacturers of high chairs are upgrading structural design to enhance usability, comfort and safety. These product aspects depend largely on the type of material and frame utilized.

The most common input options are wood and plastic. Models that adopt the first come in beech, oak, birch, poplar or plywood. Releases are made into foldable X-shaped or KD versions for easy storage and portability. Variants of the latter can even be reassembled into a stepladder or a desk and chair set for when the child is older.

Meanwhile, plastic high chairs often employ ABS and steel tube supports. Apart from the conventional X design, the latest styles utilize A-contoured frames. This configuration boasts more user-friendly and ergonomic features in addition to the customary padded seat, detachable tray, and safety straps and locks.

To illustrate, recent releases are no longer fixed at the joints, allowing parents to adjust the angle and height of the seat and footrest. Such models can have three to six chair levels. This not only helps improve posture but also prolongs the item’s service life.

Further, more manufacturers are incorporating safety harnesses, following the placement of straps in baby car seats. The design renders the products suitable for different sitting positions.

Alternatively, some companies are developing stronger plastic versions that do not require steel supports. The innovation enables factories to create a wider selection of styles, including KD types. Similar to wooden counterparts, these high chairs can convert to a desk and chair. Additionally, fabrication is easier and quicker since there are no extra metal production processes such as spray painting, welding and cutting.

In terms of safety, companies are adjusting to the varied requirements of each export market. For instance, while the EU and the US generally have the same guidelines regarding stability, durability and nontoxic materials, they differ when it comes to securing babies to the seat.

According to the EN 14988-1:2006, high chairs should be fitted with a hard protective bar and crotch strap, or a 5-point harness at the least. Meanwhile, the US ASTM F404-07 tolerates at minimum those adopting a 3-point fastener system. The ruling, however, does not permit releases containing only safety bars and crotch restraints.

China-made high chairs range from $13 to $55 depending on the materials used, design and features. The most basic wooden models are $18 to $28, and come in poplar and plywood. The releases adopt foldable X-shaped or KD constructions, and an adjustable seat and footrest.

The midrange is between $28.50 and $40, and utilizes birch, poplar or plywood. Those in the high-end are quoted at $40.50 to $55, and employ oak or beech.

Upscale models use environment-friendly paint. Their product features include a safety harness and a seat cushion. X-contoured and KD designs are available.

As regards plastic high chairs, low-end versions are $13 to $20, and are made of ABS and steel tubing. Most are foldable and X-shaped with fixed joints. Variants have one layer of 3P or regular PVC seat padding and a 3 to 5-point safety harness.

Intermediate releases are $20.50 to $35. Built utilizing ABS and steel frames, they are A-contoured and boast adjustable structures. Apart from altering the footrest position, users can raise the seat to three to five levels and lean it back at three angles. Two or four rotating wheels are incorporated.

The most expensive plastic versions are $35.50 to $45. Imported materials such as PEVA padding are employed. The models adopt similar features as the midrange, but have additional attributes such as five or six chair levels.


Read the full report at Global Sources, a leading business-to-business media company and a primary facilitator of trade with China manufacturers and India suppliers, providing essential sourcing information to volume buyers through our e-magazines, trade shows and industry research.

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