Long before I became I mama, I was aware of the importance of the family meal. Research shows that eating together can do everything from teach better manners and healthy eating habits to building a child's self-esteem. Sounds magical, right? Problem was, as long as my little one was perched in his high chair, it was hard to feel like he was fully immersed in the experience. Not to mention that feeding a toddler comes with its fair share of stressors (hello, picky eating and food messes!).

So when I had the chance to try OXO Tot's Nest Booster Seat With Straps, I jumped at it. I hoped it would give us a chance to start building mealtime memories as a family—and make feeding my toddler a little easier.

Turns out, it did just that. In addition to giving my toddler a literal seat at the table, the seat also gave me some peace of mind.

As the mama to an energetic, never-not-squirming little one, his safety is a frequent concern. It's actually one reason why we've been so hesitant about transitioning him to a booster seat in the first place. But I was able to breathe a sigh of relief when we strapped him into OXO Tot's Nest Booster. Two adjustable straps secure the booster tightly to our kitchen chairs, while the high back and sides, as well as a three-point adjustable harness with two side-release buckles help my wiggle-worm stay put.

Though hidden from view, the bottom of the booster boasts an equally enticing feature: non-skid feet that keep it securely in place (one less thing for worried mamas like me to fret about). Not to mention, they prevent the booster from scratching up chairs (something I really appreciate given that one of my first initiations into adulting was learning how surprisingly pricey dining chairs can be *gulp*).

At a mere five pounds, the booster is easy to pick up and go, making it no big deal to schlep it to restaurants (my husband and I found out the hard way that not all restaurants have high chairs, so we like to travel with our own booster—just in case). Another bonus: It's the ideal height for all sorts of tables and chairs, so it works just as well at Grandma's house or our favorite local diner as it does at home.

Plus—and maybe this is my favorite part—it's easy to clean. Let's be honest: For as much food that lands in baby's mouth, just as much, if not more, ends up, well, just about everywhere else (and I've got the stained walls to prove it!). Fortunately, this one's smooth plastic and lift-out cushion are a cinch to wipe down, meaning that while your family dinner memories are forever, those sweet potato puree splatters are merely temporary.

And unlike the pants and shoes my toddler seems to outgrow monthly, I don't have to worry about him getting too big for his booster anytime soon. This booster can go from 9 months until they reach 50 pounds. The adjustable straps will accommodate his warp-speed growth, and eventually, once he turns 3, we'll be able to conveniently tuck the straps away in a compartment beneath the seat and use it without the three-point harness.

Bottom line: The OXO Tot Nest Booster Seat is helping our family build a dinner tradition—one slightly messy, but definitely memorable meal at a time.

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