Toddlerhood is the launching point of your child testing their skills thus far and their independence. The “I do” phase hits quickly, and once the train gets rolling, it doesn’t stop. Toddlers don’t see many things as obstacles. They tend to take a, why not approach, even if we adults cannot see the mindset behind it.
Not being tall enough is not something toddlers see as a challenge. We adults can see the dangers of climbing, leaning, and stretching up to grab items off the counters, but toddlers see it as a way to get what they want on their own. A safe solution for your independent child can be a step stool.
Best Toddler Step Stool Reviews
From tower stools to two-step stools, and of course, the good ole’ fashion single-step stools, there is something for everyone. Here are six of the best stools on the market.
Unicoo Bamboo Height Adjustable Stool
This adjustable height stool by Unico checks many of the great features boxes.
The stool can be used anywhere in your home, from the kitchen to the bathroom and everywhere in between. It is made of 100% bamboo with a non-toxic coating to preserve the integrity of the wood.
Railings are on all four sides of the stool to keep your toddler secure and reduce falling risks. The standing surface has three different heights, so the stool can be lowered as your child grows. The platform is rated for up to 150 pounds, and the stool is recommended for children from 1-5 years old.
- Grows with your child
- Rails for added safety
- Supports up to 150 pounds
- Bulky and hard to store
- The surface does not have any non-skid material
Hajack Step Stool
The Hajack step stool is 100% wood construction and rated up to 200 pounds. It is designed to sit flat up against a wall. The surface is smooth and thick, so it will not break while your child is standing on it. For added protection, it comes with 6 non-slip mats for the bottom of the stool and 4 for the top surface to prevent your child from slipping off.
The stool has two steps, so it can be used for multiple height counters, and as your child grows. The stool sides have hand grips so you or your child can pick it up and move it from room to room. The surface is effortless to wipe down and clean if it becomes dirty.
- Easy to Assemble
- Can be used by the whole family
- Comes with non-skid pads
- Packaged well to avoid scratching or breaking
- Steps can be too narrow for some children
- May want to use felt strips on the bottom instead of the included rubber ones
SDADI Kitchen Stool
If your toddler is a budding chef, this stool will allow them to consistently assist you and sharpen their sous chef abilities. The two-step design makes it simple for your child to climb up onto the chair and stand securely. The railing is on all four sides to prevent any falls.
The stool is made out of wood with a lead-free coating over the top for easy cleaning and longevity. It also comes with anti-slip pads for the feet to keep it from sliding while your child is climbing up.
- Comes with non-skid mats for the legs
- Can be stored under the counter
- Easy to assemble
- Responsive customer service
- Height cannot be adjusted
- The back arm may make it harder for older toddlers to climb on
Ginsey Growing Up Green Stool
If you prefer a simple stool, the growing up green bamboo step stool may be the answer to your needs. The basic single step stool is 100% wood and rated up to 200 pounds. It is made to withstand any stress your child may put it through and still keep going. The stool has 4 non-slip feet making it stable on smooth surfaces. The stool is light and easy to move around your home since it weighs only 1 pound, making it perfect for your toddler to pick up and take from the kitchen to the bathroom and back.
If it needs to be cleaned, you can take a cloth with a gentle soap to the surface. If you prefer greener items in your home, this stool checks that box as well. It is made of pesticide-free, quick-growing bamboo. The stool stands at 7 inches tall and 14 inches wide.
- Arrives completely assembled
- Easy to move around your home
- Bamboo can withstand the humidity of being used in the bathroom
- Rated for ages 3+
- No anti-slip strips on the top surface
B. spaces by Battat
This 3-in-1 step stool by Battat is perfect for households who like to get the most use out of their baby and toddler products. The stool can be used flat for a wider stepping surface for taller toddlers and has two different ways the step itself can be used. On one side, it has a high front and a lower step. It is about 5 inches from the floor. When it is flipped, it becomes a taller step for shorter or younger children, giving them 8 inches of added height. The best part is it arrives fully assembled, and there are no moving or adjusting pieces.
It can also be used as a chair in your child’s playroom for reading or coloring. The top has a built-in carrying handle to make it easy to grab and take to a different room. It can hold up to 154 pounds and can be cleaned with a damp cloth. The stool is made of a BPA, phthalate-free plastic. Edges have rubber to prevent slipping and sliding on the floor while in use. It is also easy to take with you if you do a lot of traveling.
- Grows with your child up to age 12
- Versatile, multi-purpose use
- Plastic construction, easy to clean
- Very sturdy, which reduces the potential tipping hazard
- 3 years+
- The seat may be too shallow for some children to sit comfortably
Tundras Step Stool
The Tundras step stool is a clean plastic construction with anti-slip dots across the top surface and grips on the bottom. The simple and light design of this step stool makes it perfect for a wide age range. It can be used for anything from washing hands to using the toilet. At 14.5 inches wide, it can also be easily stored in a cabinet in the bathroom for easy access or on a shelf in a hall closet.
The stool weighs less than a pound, making it perfect for your child to pick up and take to another room as needed. It is also sturdy enough to sustain weight up to 150 pounds. Handles are built-in on the sides to aid in carrying too.
- Easy to store
- Non-slip surface
- May not be high enough for shorter toddlers
- Needs better grips on the bottom
What is a Step Stool Used For?
Step stools have many uses. As parents, we use them to grab items out of hard to reach cabinets, change light bulbs, clean the ceiling fan, and grab blankets out of the linen closet, just to name a few. The concept is similar for children.
Toddlers can use step stools to reach the sink to wash their hands, use the toilet, help bake cookies, do art projects at the counter, or for older toddlers, help with the dishes.
Step stools can make it easier for you to help your child brush their teeth and hair as you are getting them ready for bed.
It provides a place for them to stand, so they can see how you are brushing their teeth and gives them an opportunity to mimic your actions since they can physically see it in the mirror.
Step stools can also be used as a portable place to sit if a chair is not readily available or there is not enough floor space for one.
Benefits of a Toddler Step Stool
Your toddler having their own step stool can have many developmental benefits on top of the many practical uses.
Our goal as parents is to raise happy, healthy little ones who eventually will be able to do tasks independently. Whether we are ready for it or not, this starts when they are toddlers. Using their own stepping stool encourages that developing independence in your toddler. With a step stool readily available, your little one will start to assert their newfound freedom in productive ways and can start helping with age-appropriate chores.
Helping you is one of the most significant ways to foster your child’s independence, even as a toddler. Stools allow them to stand next to you at the kitchen counter and wash a bowl or mix up some cookie dough.
Grows Their Confidence
As your toddler begins to do tasks, such as washing their hands, using the toilet, brushing their teeth, and getting their cups off the counter, they will become more confident in their abilities. Step stools eliminate the frustration toddlers feel when they cannot do things on their own. It allows your child to use their problem-solving skills. Once the frustration is eliminated, they can begin to grow their confidence. Some well-timed praise for using their stool, and you are well on your way to a confident toddler.
Aids in Coordination
Balance is required for just about everything in life, including using a step stool. Your toddler will learn to navigate, stepping with one foot up onto the step stool while bringing the other along, and that balance is required for that action. Using a step stool will also build and strengthen your toddler’s leg and core muscles since those are repetitively used for getting on and off.
Allows for Bonding Time
Toddlers want to be involved in everything you are doing, from changing over the laundry to cooking dinner. A step stool gives your child the ability to stand next to you while you cook dinner or bake desserts. Seeing what you are doing makes your child feel a part of the process, and they are also learning. If you have an older toddler, they can even help you roll out cookie dough or press down the cookie cutter.
What to Look For?
You would not think it, but there is a wide variety of toddler stools available. Here are a few essential features to look for to help you find the perfect one for your toddler.
Toddler stools come in many different materials. Most often, you can find them made out of wood or plastic. For your toddler’s stool, you want a sturdy material. Toddlers are not known for being very good at standing still. When your little is fidgeting all over the surface of the stool, you want to feel confident that it is not going to buckle or give in anyway.
You also want to stay away from any toxic materials such as:
- Dyes and Inks
- Toxic paint
- Lead and heavy metals
Many manufacturers already take this into consideration and will proudly tell you in their product description that they are non-toxic.
Size and Weight
There is a wide variety of sizes when it comes to toddler step stools. Step stools can be as simple as a small stool just tall enough to reach the sink and just wide enough for their two little feet, to more substantial stools with multiple steps and rails.
Plastic stools generally are lightweight, while wooden stools can be bulkier. This can be a delicate balance for your toddler. While you want the stool to be sturdy and large enough for them to confidently stand on, you also want the stool to be easy to move around the house.
Size also factors into storing the stool. If you have a smaller footprint, it will be easy to keep the stool under the sink or in the closet while not in use. Tower stools, with multiple steps and rails, can be more challenging to store in your home.
Step stools are used in many different rooms of the house. Most of us do not have the storage space to have one in every area. Having a step stool for your toddler that is portable makes it possible to have one step stool in your home and still meet your busy toddler’s needs.
Portability strikes a balance between having a stool that slides too quickly across the floor and one that is stable while your child is on it. Many grips on the bottom of stools grab the floor when heavier pressure is applied and slide more efficiently with lighter pressure. Look for stools with rubber pads or elbows on the bottom that will make this easier and protect your floors.
Sometimes, it is very difficult to buy products for your baby or toddler, knowing they will only be used for so long and then discarded. Having a stool that can grow with your child can be tremendously helpful, especially if you have multiple children in your home.
Step stools have a weight rating, and many can handle upwards of 200 pounds. This makes it possible for your older children to use the stool to get to hard to reach items and enable your toddler to reach the sink.
Stools also can function as little storage units. Beneath, there can be a compartment for holding bath toys or stuffed animals. Some even have a lid which reveals a box underneath to place items in.
Other stools have a hinged bottom step allowing you to make it into a tiny chair. This chair can now be used to sit and paint or have a tea party.
Ease of Cleaning
Spills often happen when you have a toddler, and their stool is not an exception. A stool that can be quickly cleaned up can save you time and hassle. Whether it is a juice spill or a potty training accident, you do not want to feel like you need the manual to clean the stool.
Look for a solid piece with few grooves and seams. These areas are magnets for everything and can be incredibly challenging to extract crumbs from. Also, make sure the surface can be cleaned with your regular household cleaner and that you do not need any special extra cleaners to keep it in working order.
As parents, we spend a lot of our time telling our toddlers not to stand or climb on things. Our toddlers must think we have lost it when we give them something specifically for that purpose. Thankfully, step stools provide a safe alternative for children. Even though step stools make it easier to get to those hard to reach places, there are some potential safety hazards to be aware of.
A smooth surface is not ideal when it comes to children and step stools. Little ones can slip very quickly as they are not always steady on their feet. Step stools are also most often used in the bathroom where surfaces can be wet.
Toddlers stand on stools to use the toilet or wash their hands. In both scenarios, the likelihood of liquid landing on the surface of the stool is highly probable. Any amount of water on the surface can make it easier for your toddler to slip off the stool and fall.
Look for a stool with a non-slip surface. Some models will have strategically placed stripes that will prevent your child from slipping off the stool, while others may have a grip pattern, like feet or grip dots. Non-slip material is made of rubber, PVC, or even a grippy-like surface such as silicon carbide.
While it is nice to have a stool that slides easily across your floor, you do not want one that will move too easily when your child puts their weight on it. Little ones are also famous for leaning into things. If a stool does not have non-slip feet, your toddler may lean into the step stool, and it can slide away, causing them to fall.
Find step stools with rubber feet or grip pads that keep it from moving on a slick surface. Your toddler will have better stability with anti-slide feet while using their step stool and be more secure.
Avoid Folding Stools
Folding stools are great in theory since they are easy to store. However, if folding stools are not set out correctly in a locked position, the stool can fold in on itself under the weight of your child. This can pose an injury threat to your child either by falling or scratching themselves on the way down.
Foldable stools also pose the risk of pinching your child’s fingers. Many are designed to fold simply, which can seem helpful, except little ones do not know to keep their fingers away from the moving parts. With so many moving parts, the likelihood of your child pinching themselves is increased.
Moving parts also can wear out over time, and foldable stools have many. Unfortunately, you will not know if something has worn out until it is too late, and the stool collapses.
Ensure that the surface of the stool is wide enough for your child to stand on. If the surface area is too narrow and your child leans to one side or the other, the stool may tilt over, causing your child to fall.
The base should sit evenly on the ground with wide enough feet. If the feet are narrow, they can catch on seams or grout lines and pose a tipping hazard.
Frequently Asked Questions
Even though step stools may seem like a straightforward topic, it is natural to want to find out more. Here are some of the frequently asked questions and their answers.
What is a Step Stool Used For?
Step stools have many uses. Just a few of the ways it can help your toddler is:
* Reaching something from a shelf
* Reaching the sink to brush teeth or wash hands
* Helping toddlers sit on the toilet
* Allowing your toddler to assist in the kitchen
* Brings your child up to counter height for arts and crafts
These uses help your toddler gain independence and feel like they are a part of family activities.
How Tall Should a Step Stool Be?
The height of the step should relate to how tall your child is and the height of the surface they are trying to reach, whether it be the sink or the countertop. You may also want to have a stool that will grow with your child. Generally, step stools are just under 10 inches, though two-step stools will be a little taller due to the second step.
How Do You Use a Two-Step Stool?
Two-step stools are helpful when your counters or tables are too tall for a regular step stool to reach. They are also very helpful if your child is on the shorter side of the spectrum. The option of having two steps helps the stool grow with your child. When they are smaller, they can use the top step, and as your toddler grows and gets more comfortable, they can move down to the lower step.
Two-step stools can often come in tower form with rails on either side and across the back to help your child feel more secure.
What is the Difference Between a Step Stool and a Ladder?
A step stool is a small portable version of a ladder that can stand on its own. Step stools come in only a couple of varieties and can be stored relatively easily. Ladders come in a wide range of sizes and tend to be quite large and very heavy. Ladders are used to reach up to tops of roofs or high up into trees. Often ladders have an adjustable height and need to be leaned up against something to stand.
Stools help foster your child’s budding independence while giving them an extra hand at developing their core muscles and balance. Today’s toddler step stools have many safety features that the plain wooden stools of our childhood did not. Handrails and towers make it easier for your child to participate in family life and learn while adjustable stools grow with them. Built-in grips minimize the risk of your child falling off of the stool.
Whether you are using the stool for potty training or to save your back while your toddler washes their hands at the sink, having a stool in your home can be a lifesaver. It makes it easier for your little one to feel like they are included in activities around the home and gives them more learning opportunities.
Looking for more gear for your little one? Head over to our Gear Guides Section to see more comparisons.
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Krissy lives in California with her family of three that make up “The Hadicks.” With a passion for research and helping others, The Hadicks was developed as a resource for other parents and parents-to-be!