Consumer Reports designated the Dream on Me Bistro high chair as “Don’t Buy: Safety Risk” on Tuesday, February 7, 2012, because it lacks key safety features designed to prevent a small child from sliding out of the seat or possibly being caught and strangled during a fall. They recommend that current owners of this chair discard it.
Consumer Reports' tests showed that the Dream on Me Bistro, a folding metal-framed high chair that costs about $70, fails to meet two key points of our tests, which are based in part on the voluntary ASTM International safety standards for high chairs.
First, the Dream on Me Bistro lacks a “passive crotch restraint,” essentially a fixed post that sits between the child’s legs to prevent him from slipping under the tray and either falling or getting his head caught between the tray and seat, which can result in strangulation. The Dream on Me Bistro has a five-point belt harness that can be buckled to hold a child in place, but it doesn’t have the fixed post that the standard specifies.
The Dream on Me Bistro also failed their test based on the ASTM standard’s “side containment” requirement, because it has openings between the chair arms and seat that are large enough for a child’s leg or torso to slip through, also posing a risk of injury.
Consumer Reports engineers found other, less serious safety hazards, including places where fingers could get pinched while folding the chair or adjusting the seat height, and openings in the chair when it is set up that could catch little fingers.
Testers also found that the trays on all three Dream on Me Bistro chairs they purchased were difficult to install, adjust, or remove. On one sample, the fold lock broke while we were adjusting the tray.
“This chair just lacks the basic features we think are critical for the safety of your child when he or she is sitting in that seat,” says Joan Muratore, program leader for family and child product testing at Consumer Reports. “So we advise parents who own one to stop using it immediately.”
Consumer Reports notified the Consumer Product Safety Commission of its findings, and Director of Communications Scott Wolfson says the agency has opened a formal investigation.
For advice on what to look for when buying a high chair, see Consumer Reports' high chair buying guide.