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Blog: Smart…Clean…High Chair…the ultimate oxymoron? (Ingenuity’s™ Trio 3-in-1 SmartClean™ High Chair) By »

June 1st, 2016

I never really understood how messy mealtime could get until MJ started eating solids. We were spoiled at the start though. At 6 months, he was eating purees, loved all food and never threw anything up, so other than wiping his cheeks and mouth, things were pretty contained. It wasn’t until around 10-11 months when we started to introduce chunkier food he could pick up with his fingers, that I understood the true meaning of a ‘mealtime mess’.

His fav dish? Spaghetti with ‘sugo’ (pasta sauce), meatballs and bread. A born and bred Italian. A real carb monster.


As you can imagine, spaghetti isn’t the cleanest food, even when adults eat it, someone is bound to get a sauce stain on their shirt somewhere! Well with babies, that ‘stain’ multiplies and becomes their face cream, shampoo and ear wax – meaning – it gets all over their face, in their hair and deep in their ears. Oh yes, they decide they want to put their hands everywhere the minute they’re full of sauce.

But ‘let them be kids’ is what I say, and at the end of it, if they are actually eating and not just playing with their food, then that’s all that matters. Messes can be cleaned…it’s how time-consuming that cleanup is, that’ll make you go batty.

Hence when I was asked to review the Ingenuity™ Trio 3-in-1 SmartClean™ High Chair, which is marketed as, ‘Every chair baby will ever need because it’s three smart chairs in one’, I decided to give it a whirl. The brand also claims that its ‘baby gear is designed with parenthood in mind. Understanding that those everyday parenting challenges, need thoughtful products and features that can make a big difference’…I thought, well, smart, clean and high chair in one sentence, seemed like the ultimate oxymoron to me, but I’ve been known to be wrong – just don’t tell my husband!


Read on for my findings:



I know this sounds like a weird point, but sometimes (and you can chalk it up to my lack of patience) I get most frustrated at trying to open the ‘why is there so much tape on this box’ box, and take all of the little pieces out of their additional inner wrappings. This was actually a pain free process and the individual pieces were well (not annoyingly) packaged – with additional foam pieces surrounding them – to protect from rough shipping, movement and scratches. I liked that…and had patience to move on to building.

Visually appealing:

This is definitely an individual preference point, but I found that both colour options for this high chair (the Aqua, which I reviewed, and the Slate), were quite visually appealing and neutral enough to use for either gender and in any colour kitchen. The look of the backrest (which is foam), also gives it a modern appearance, rather than the typical cloth/wipeable plastic material.


This high chair can be converted into three modes of use. Full-size high chair (which I used for MJ, see below for pictures), booster seat (where you detach the legs and strap it onto your regular kitchen chair, along with the tray), and the toddler chair (which just acts as a chair with a harness that you can push right up to a place setting at the adult table!)

With the versatility of converting from high chair to toddler chair, this product literally grows with your toddler until they are 50 pounds.

Not only that, but you can actually use it as a booster and a toddler chair, at the same time. That’s not only convenient if you have 2 children, but if company comes over as well.

Harness System:

The high chair and booster provide a 5-point harness for baby’s safety and the toddler chair has a 3-point harness – which just clicks in around their waist. I found the buckles/straps to be extremely easy to move from one notch to another. Many times the backing has a thick stitch and thus doesn’t thread easily, but, as you’ll see in my video below, as I was taking the seat foam off, the buckles were quick and painless to remove.

Foam Seat Pad:

This is where the ‘SmartClean High Chair’ oxymoron, proves it’s not that at all, but rather a very valid statement. Let’s face it – high chairs get messy…really really messy. I’m not talking about the messes that you can just wipe off of the tray, I’m talking about those pieces of food that have ketchup on them, milk, mashed potatoes, juices from orange slices, and chunks of avocado that get stuck between MJ’s legs, at his hips and in the corners of the high chair.

Well, problem solved with the soft foam seat pad that’s both easily wipeable and dishwasher safe. Whaaa?? How easy can this foam come off you ask? Check out the video below that proves clean crevices has never been easier.


I’d say the tray size is medium, as I’ve seen both larger and smaller ones on other high chairs. The great thing about this tray however, is that it’s deep, which helps keep food contained…especially if your little one is like MJ and decides that it’s fun to flick food on the floor. The tray also pushed up rather close to MJ’s belly, which is awesome because many a time you’ll find other brands leave wayy too much space between the baby and the tray – and yes, this fact also depends on the size of your child.

The tray has two cup holders, which are also nice and deep, and great not only for choice in beverage, but if your child happens to favour one hand over the other.

The top tray is also easily removable (like one hand easy!) to allow for a second surface to either eat on, or play on, as you’re washing the top. Speaking of washing, both trays are also dishwasher safe. I like it when things are easy!

Locking Wheels:

Wheels are always a must with high chairs…believe me, there will be many a time you’ll be pushing and pulling that thing around the kitchen and the easier the better – for you and your floors! I found these wheels ‘ok’, as they worked front to back, but not so well laterally – side to side. The lock feature is also convenient, but I never use it.


The Ingenuity Trio 3-in-1 SmartClean High Chair retails for $199.99, which is a low to mid price range for a high chair, and considering the versatility until your child is 50 pounds, and/or you use it for two children at once, it’s a good value.



Instruction Manual:

After my love for the packaging, I quickly became frustrated with piecing everything together. I mean, this could very well be because I haven’t put a high chair together before, but I found the instructions quite confusing. They list out three different configurations for set-up, because of the high chair, booster and toddler chair options…however, the order was weird, the arrows for the straps placements were unclear (ie. are the toddler chair straps still in place when it’s a high chair?), and most of all, they don’t identify if the locking wheels went on the back or front of the chair. To some that might be common knowledge, but instructions need to list all details, without assuming someone knows something. Very frustrating.


Once I clicked the seat into the high chair base and started rolling it around, I noticed it was light, but I felt that it erred on the side of flimsy, not just light. It didn’t give me the first impression of a chair with sturdy quality.


This chair doesn’t fold up, which means good luck storing it and/or transporting it. The other high chair I have, has been folded and put in our van an umpteen amount of times, when we go visit family and friends, so I’m used to that convenience. .

However, once your child is only using the booster seat, it then becomes an easier transport because there are no legs to worry about.

Wide wheel base:

Staying on the transportation topic, I found that the wheelbase (both front to back and width wise) was quite large. Keep this in mind when you’re thinking about where this chair will live in your kitchen, as the width also makes it hard to manoeuvre around tables.

Chair Height:

Once you put the high chair together, there is no option to raise or lower its height. My assumption is that they’re all a standard height, however having the option to raise or lower the entire seat, would be very beneficial and is offered on other high chairs.


This feature is always a ‘nice-to-have’, but not a ‘need’ in a high chair, and the reason why it’s a con for me, is because it states there are 3 recline positions, but when I clicked it back with MJ in it, it went straight to what I assumed was level 3. Level 2 was hard to find and really not needed.


If MJ could tell me, he would, but he’s only 18 months, so I’m really unsure if this is a super comfortable chair – so instead of a con, it should be listed under Neutral. As mentioned in the pro section however, the foam is a brilliant idea for cleaning and keeping up with parents needs, but to the touch, I didn’t find the backrest and seat overly cushiony.


This isn’t a make or break with a high chair purchase, but still thought I’d point it out – the footrest isn’t adjustable, as you’ll find in some other models, you’ll be able to move it up or down based on how tall your child is.

Final Verdict

Well the initial ‘Every chair baby will ever need because it’s three smart chairs in one’ statement rings true because it does indeed easily convert from the high chair, to booster, to toddler chair.

My oxymoron was shattered and SmartClean proved very valid, as it is definitely the easiest high chair I’ve ever cleaned and the first I’ve seen where the actual seat cushions can be put in the dishwasher!

All in all I’d recommend it for those who want a modern/gender neutral looking high chair, at a mid-market price, who love an easy clean and have the kitchen space.

But if you’re looking for a solid sturdy chair with ease of travel, ‘stow away’ capabilities when company comes over, and a small footprint, this isn’t for you.

In the meantime, as I continue to search for more ‘thoughtful products and features that can make a big difference’ , I’m going to invest in one of those signs that say; “Pardon the mess, we actually live here!” for my front hallway. Just to set the expectation from the start.

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