Footrest FAQ: IKEA Antilop Highchair
Navigating the world of mealtime as a new parent or caregiver is tough! When purchasing a new highchair, there are likely a few main features on your checklist. You’ll want to find a highchair with:
- Great back support
- Easy-to-wipe down surfaces (for when your little one tries spaghetti!)
- Comfortable design to ensure your babe feels secure
Of course, the IKEA highchair checks off all these boxes- except one. It’s missing a critical component: a surface for your little one to rest their feet!
If you haven’t been using a footrest with your IKEA highchair up until now, don’t stress. Moving forward, a footrest should be a key part of mealtime! Highchair footrests promote the Ideal Eating Position for kids. The Ideal Eating Position encourages focus and comfort, while decreasing possible choking risks.
Need a footrest? Our Hardwood Adjustable Footrests are an excellent addition to any IKEA Antilop highchair.
In this blog post, we’ll break down why a footrest can help create a positive environment for mealtime! You'll also learn how it can help with some mealtime struggles (like lack of focus and refusal to try new foods!)
Keep reading to learn about the role of footrests in promoting good eating habits! It's as easy as 90-90-90.
Why the Ideal Eating Position?
There are three key reasons for the Ideal Eating Position (90-90-90) during your child’s mealtime:
It promotes focus and concentration while eating.
Even as an adult, we unconsciously search for support for our feet while we sit. If we can’t place our feet on the floor while sitting, we’ll rest them on another part of the chair, or even sit on our feet! Needless to say, lacking proper support for your feet is uncomfortable!
When kids don’t have proper foot support while eating, they’ll look for any opportunity to feel stable. Kids may grab or hold onto their highchair tray, or wrap their toes around the highchair legs.
Implementing a highchair footrest will allow babies, toddlers, and preschoolers to be comfortable. This allows them to focus their energy on eating instead of searching for more support to feel safe.
The Ideal Eating Position can decrease the risk of choking while in a highchair.
Did you know that highchair positioning can help reduce a child’s risk of choking? A child's airways are open when a child is seated and supported. The head should also be held steadily. Ensure your child can independently hold their head before trying a highchair!
When your child feels unsupported, they may slouch or otherwise not sit upright. Slouching can slightly compress your child's airway, possibly increasing their choking risk.
Having an open airway makes it much easier for food to travel down the esophagus and into the belly! When a child uses the 90-90-90 position to eat, it aligns the head, neck, belly, and hips. This helps the airway to stay open.
Pair the Ideal Eating Position with proper food preparation and careful watch from a parent/caregiver.
It stabilizes the core and increases comfort so kids can sit and eat for longer.
Core stabilization plays a key role in mealtime! Having a stable core allows kids of all ages to sit up properly and practice good posture.
Remember: eating is still a new skill for your baby, toddler, or preschooler! They are still learning how to eat and to try new foods. Parents and caregivers should create a supportive environment to promote safe discovery of new foods. When kids feel supported, they’ll feel safe to try new foods or a new method of eating (hello, using a fork!). If kids don’t feel supported, they are less likely to try new foods or will try to leave their highchair before the end of mealtime.
Highchairs promote core stabilization by supporting a child's back, feet, and legs. Parents and caregivers should ensure their highchair has an adjustable footrest to support the child's feet. The child's back should also be straight when supported by the highchair. If there's too much room to move around, the child could slide forward, destabilizing their core. There's a quick fix: check out our Cushion Inserts to support your little one's back.
As we learned previously, sitting upright decreases the risk of choking and increases focus. It also increases comfort so kids can sit and eat for longer!
Now, you know why the Ideal Eating Position is key for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. So now we dive into the real question: what is the Ideal Eating Position, and how do we encourage our kids to stay in it?
What is the Ideal Eating Position?
The Ideal Eating Position is often referred to as the 90-90-90 position. Babies, toddlers, and preschoolers need to be in the Ideal Eating Position as they learn to eat. Think about how adults eat at restaurants: feet on the floor, back against the chair, head up. Since kids won’t be able to touch the floor with their feet in a highchair, they’ll need a bit of support! They’ll need a footrest or object to rest their feet on until their feet can rest on the floor while sitting and eating. No dangling feet, please!
The 90-90-90 Position:
90: Hips bent at a 90 degree angle while sitting in a highchair.
90: Knees bent at a 90 degree angle, with thighs supported by a highchair.
90: Ankles make a 90 degree angle, with feet supported by a footrest.
To easily remember the 90-90-90 position, envision how an adult would sit in a chair. Each part of the lower body is at a 90 degree angle! The 90-90-90 position supports the child's body as they eat.
Footrests should be adjusted to ensure children are able to sit with their feet completely flat against it. All Wilder Babe footrests are adjustable and can be used between 4 months and 3 years!
Please note that while in the Ideal Eating Position, children should be strapped into their highchair. This keeps them safe during mealtime!
Congratulations- you passed your crash course in the importance of the Ideal Eating Position! Now, time to check your highchair and ensure your child is sitting properly during mealtime. You'll thank us later!
Want to shop our selection of footrests for the IKEA Antilop? Click here!