DIY Travel High Chair Tutorial for Wiggly Toddlers

When I originally posted a photo of my son in the “Travel High Chair for Wiggly Toddlers” I made using two separate tutorials, I didn’t realize I would get so many emails asking for an actual tutorial on how I smashed these two ideas together.

DIY Travel High Chair 2 DIY Travel High Chair

I had every intention of measuring out the one I made and posting all the measurements online for you, but somewhere between unpacking and cleaning out our summer clothing I lost the actual Travel High Chair. Bummer. Hopefully it will turn up before our next road trip.

However, I made some drawings that should help you put one of your own together. As far as measurements, feel free to use the ones on this tutorial, however I found that for an 18 month old the measurements were too small. You also need to keep in mind what size chair you will be using it for. You should definitely measure the width of the top of the chair to make sure you make the top strap for the shoulder straps long enough in circumference. If I was going to make another one, I would use my child to make the correct measurements and then add an inch or two so there would be room for growth.

Let me just pause for a second to say this is not a beginner sewing project. In order to do all of this and make it look finished, I would say you probably need to be intermediate at sewing because of all the different pieces you need to put together to make something like this. The normal Travel High chair without the shoulder straps would be considered a beginner project.

Travel High Chair Tutorial for a Wiggly Toddler

DIY Travel High Chair Tutorial_1

The different pieces you need.
The different pieces you need. (Two of each, or four if you see the x2 mean you need 2 completed pieces of each of those items.)

There are three groups of sewing you need to do. The first group is the yellow group, also known as the shoulder strap group. I used velcro to keep the two straps together so my little guy wouldn’t squirm out. Make two straps that look like the letter T cut in half. Cut out four pieces and put two pieces together, wrong side out, to make each strap. Make sure to leave an opening to turn them right side out. Then make the top strap by taking two pieces, sewing them wrong side out, and leave both ends open so you can sew the elastic inside. Sew the half T shaped straps onto the bottom of the top strap. Add velcro to your straps as indicated on the drawing. Your first section is complete.

DIY Travel High Chair Tutorial_2

Next make the pink group, which are two straps that you will use to tie around you little one’s waist. Make sure they are long enough for you to have room to tie a bow! Tying a knot is going to be a pain to untie every single time you use your Travel High Chair.

DIY Travel High Chair Tutorial_3

Next cut out your green section. I used two pieces of cotton and then one piece of felt that I sewed on the outside so it would then be inside the final product, to add strength and padding. You are going to need to pin the Yellow Section and the Pink Section inside before you start sewing, so they will be on the outside once your pull your high hair right side out. Just make sure you pin it really well and go slow, so you don’t accidentally sew through part of the shoulder straps or waist straps that you don’t want to sew into!! And make sure you leave the back part open to turn everything right side out (I highlighted where the opening should be in blue).

DIY Travel High Chair Tutorial_4

DIY Travel High Chair Tutorial_6
Match up the colors where and pin them inside. The yellow for the bottom of the shoulder straps, and the pink for the waist straps. The blue is where you should leave an opening to pull everything right side out. Make the button holes last.

The last thing to do is sew the opening closed and put in two button holes that are long so the waist strap can go through them, keeping your child securely on the chair.

If you have any questions please feel free to post them below. I will try to answer them the best way I can.

Happy travels,


The Perceived Reality Of A Parent

I have been wanting to write an article about this for a while, and today I had a trigger that prompted me to go ahead and get it written down and out of my head. What was the prompt, you might ask… well it was a large cup of soda and ice spilled all over my lap at Ikea. But let’s back up and I’ll return to the cold, sticky lunch time debacle in a minute.

When you are the parent of a small child, you see the world in a different way. Normal objects like markers, pens, knives, and scissors call out to you, and beg to be put out of reach. All of you non-parents out there that read this blog know what I’m talking about (yes, I know you’re out there, and I appreciate you!)… you notice how every parent you know that has a toddler automatically moves all of the drinks the waiter places on the table out of reach. You observe that whenever someone with small kids comes over to your house, they move all of the small breakables off of your coffee table and onto something high. Parents out there also know what I’m talking about. We take one look at a permanent marker and think about how it could equal a black mustache on our kid that will take several days to go away.

Parents are like secret agents… we enter a place, take a look around, and discern what needs to get put up, what potential dangers there are, and what damage could occur in the next few minutes. When you are a parent, you no longer look at reality, you look at perceived reality, a reality that could be if you were to simply put your child down and let things play out without interfering. And you have to do all of these things while seeming normal, and relaxed, so your friends won’t think you are a total freak. After a while it just becomes a reflex and you don’t even think about it.

Today, my reflex failed me. Travis was totally on top of things, but Kati’s arms have gotten longer as she’s grown, and he didn’t quite make it as he said, “No, Kati!” and attempted to keep her from dumping a full glass of cold soda all over me.

But, when our worst perceived reality becomes our reality, what do we do? Well, I walked around Ikea looking like I peed my pants and feeling sticky (exacerbated by the fact I’m 6 months pregnant) and I couldn’t help but laugh about it! Come on, go ahead and laugh at my expense, it’s funny, and I couldn’t care in the least. When things go wrong and accidents happen, have a good attitude about it. If your child breaks something, apologize, address it with your child (without overdoing it, they are just a kid after all), and do your best to replace it. But don’t let the little mistakes in life drag you down. And if you end up like me, looking like your pregnant bladder finally got the best of you, embrace it and enjoy the humor. Humor is part of humility after all.

Happy travels!


The Jet Blue vs. Family With Toddler Controversy

I’m sure you have seen this story on some website in the last week. There was a family traveling with a toddler who refused to sit with her seat belt fastened, and the pilot decided to turn the plane around and ask them to get off of the flight.

You might be expecting me to react in favor of the family, and although I am against all of the arguments that loud children should not be allowed to fly (should we ban obnoxious adults from flights as well?), I feel that in this case, the family should have been better prepared. I am always talking about preparation, in fact I’m sure at times I sound like a one-phrase parrot, but it really is important, and this is a case that proves my point.

Airline seat belts are extremely easy to unlatch, and a two year old can most certainly unlatch it themselves. This presented a huge problem for the family aboard this Jet Blue flight. At one point during this interview the mother recalls that her and her husband were holding the children down “with all of their might.” That is obviously not a safe way to travel, and I can’t blame the pilot for making the decision he did. The family was in essence refusing to comply with airline safety regulations.

Ksena sitting in a CARES harness when she was a little over 3 years old.

But what could the family have done to better prepare for their flight and avoid this awful situation? The first thing they could have done would have been to use some kind of restraint on the airplane like a CARES harness or a 5-point car seat. If they felt that it was too inconvenient to bring a bulky car seat, the CARES harness is super easy to pack in your carry on bag, and extremely light. The second thing they could have done was establish better discipline habits, like Sharon Markey describes here in this guest post. However, I realize that this flight was at the end of the family’s trip, and the kids were probably fairly exhausted. When kids are exhausted, they can’t be expected to listen or pay attention the way they would if they had all of their faculties about them. They should have also had distractions ready for their daughter, like coloring books, new special toys, play dough, a roll of tape or anything else that she would have liked to play with or eat (never underestimate the power of snacks!).

Kati well restrained in her car seat at 2 years old.

I’m sympathetic to the parents in this situation because I’m sure it was unpleasant, but you really can’t fault Jet Blue for what they did. They have to put safety first, bottom line. The one thing I would suggest to Jet Blue (and any other airline for that matter) is to put one or two CARES harnesses on each plane for future incidents, because it would go a long way in smoothing over situations like this and avoiding unneeded bad publicity. However, I don’t feel like they are obligated to do this. They are a business after all, and they have to think about their ability to make money.

Just some food for thought. Happy travels!