Baby Bjorn High ChairWeb:

Best known for its iconic baby carrier, Baby Bjorn has been slowly expanding into other categories in recent years. First there was the Bjorn potty, then a bouncer, and a playpen last year. And given their recent debut of kitchen ware (bowls, spoons, bibs), it’s not too surprising to see Bjorn debut its first high chair, cleverly dubbed the Baby Bjorn High Chair.

(Side note: this seems to be a trend–companies launching products with generic names, emphasizing the parent’s brand. Exhibit A: Britax’s new baby carrier, the Britax Baby Carrier. Or perhaps, in this down economy,  companies don’t feel like spending money on brand consultants and trademark attorneys.)

The Bjorn high chair has all the the Swedish minimalist design you’d expect from a Bjorn—the white/black color motif, seamless seat design and so on. It is also available in red and black. Of course, Bjorn hasn’t forgotten about safety: the high chair features a “Smart Safety Lock,” which is a two-stage lock that Bjorn says “ensures that children cannot open or close the safety table on their own.” This is probably the Bjorn’s most unique feature: the tray pivots down to enable a parent to put a child in or out of the chair. That differs from other high chairs, where the entire tray is removable–or the tray slides forward to let you move a child in or out.

So what’s not to love? Well, first of all, the price: at $240 (Amazon has had is as low as $195) , the chair is seriously overpriced. At this lofty price point, the Bjorn high chair is competing against both modern high chairs such as the Bloom Fresco and Boon Flair (both beat the Bjorn on style) and multi-function models like the Perego Tatamia, which transforms into a baby swing and recliner. The Bjorn doesn’t transform into anything. And considering Bjorn’s emphasis on safety, we were disappointed to see the chair lacks a five-point harness (instead it has a three-point harness).

Real world feedback on the Bjorn high chair has been positive overall. Parents like the seamless design (easy to clean) and easy assembly. The compact fold (a mere 10″ wide when folded) also is a plus. But the small size of the seat and tray had nearly every parent grumbling that, despite Bjorn’s claim the chair will work up to three years of age, it is too small for bigger toddlers (one parent review noted it was “sized for a small cat”). The video (above) basically underscores this point. The chair is light weight and the footprint is small making it easy to move around the kitchen. Finally, parents praise the tray mechanism saying their clever toddlers haven’t been able to figure out how to get out of the seat.

A few negatives: while the tray has a three-position adjustment (to allow more room for growing babies), there is no height adjustment for the chair. While we understand that Bjorn’s intention is to have the high chair fit most kitchen tables, this seems like a major oversight. Ditto for the lack of casters to make the chair more mobile. Finally, we should note the seat doesn’t recline—as a result, you won’t be able to use this chair with newborns who don’t have any head control. Add in the lack of a five-point harness and we are left scratching our heads at how this chair ever got out of Bjorn’s R&D lab.

Bottom line: this is a pricey but good high chair if (and only if) you have a small baby. Rating: B+