Boon Flair Highchair: "What's That? George Jetson's Chair?"

My husband walked in the house and cracked up when he saw the Boon Flair highchair ($230) in our kitchen. Normally he doesn’t get excited when new gear arrives, (in fact, quite the opposite) but he said the Flair looks pretty cool.

When we strapped 10-month-old Egan into the chair the scene changed to the bridge of the Starship Enterprise. It’s very sleek and cool and pod-like in its form.

Assembly took just a few minutes and the instructions are easy to follow, though the box it comes in is enormous and heavy. I just put the pieces in place with seven little bolts and a Phillips screwdriver.

The Flair high chair, like many, has two dishwasher-safe liners for the tray. The difference here is that the things actually fit in the dishwasher. How novel! The white tray is not dishwasher safe and should not be submerged in water. The clear liner is difficult to remove when the tray is in place because the tab that releases it is at the baby’s tummy, but it’s easy to snap off when the tray is in the sink. The tray has two large handles underneath that release the simple latches that secure it to the chair, a function that can be done with one hand. The small tray sits low between the arm rests, so some food goes down into the sides of the seat when Egan eats, but this chair cleans up so easily it hasn’t been a big issue. If it were larger, the tray liners wouldn’t fit in the dishwasher. It’s a tradeoff I’m willing to make.

The seat is molded plastic with a rubbery pad in it. They easily come apart (you just have to thread the straps through the slots) to wipe clean. There are no skinny little seams or annoying crevices in the seat. I took it apart and cleaned it in five minutes. The seat post and straps can be easily removed by an adult and the chair holds kids up to 50 lbs, so a quick adjustment makes it an additional chair at table height. The straps adjust so easily that we accommodated a larger child for a lunchtime playdate with no fuss whatsoever. My 3 1/2-year-old son Finn loved sitting in it, too. It wobbled just a bit but not enough for me to worry for his safety.

I’m not terribly impressed with the foot-pedal brake, though I’d hoped it would work well. We have hardwood floors and two steps down to the family room from our kitchen, so I worry about my preschooler sending the baby tumbling. It is still easy to move the chair with the brake applied. Our “old standby” chair skids across the floor easily, too. It’s just something we have to watch carefully until someone comes up with a great braking system.

The other button on the base controls the pneumatic lift-and-lower mechanism. While it doesn’t give that satisfying “whoosh” a salon chair makes, it does work smoothly after you do it several times. Just push the chair down with the button depressed to lower it and it comes up on its own with another press of the button.

The Flair comes in three color schemes, white with an orange seat pad, blue with white and hot pink with white. The bright pink chair is new for 2009 and really makes a fashion statement.

Pros: Fashion-forward design. Super-quick cleanup and no nasty crevices to scrub.

Cons: Brake is not reliable and the tray sits between the chair’s arms.

— Kristen

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