My prayers were answered when I received the Evenflo Platinum SafeMax All-in-One Car Seat. It is the FIRST roll-over tested car seat, and it can be rear-facing, forward-facing and used as a booster! The recommended weight range is 5-120 pounds. It is difficult to find a seat as versatile as this, so I was eager to test it out with my 2-year-old and 4-month old.
Admittedly, I am not good at installing car seats; it has usually been my husband’s duty. With that said, I was determined to install this one myself! The manual was very helpful with step-by-step illustrations and directions. It also provided a glossary describing the back seat of a car for easy reference—they thought of everything!
The manual is also divided into sections by rear-facing installation, forward-facing and booster conversion. As I planned to try it in all configurations, it did take me a while to read and install, but I’d estimate about 15-20 minutes for the first install. There are various “clicks” of attachments that tell you you’re headed in the right direction, an arrow that guides base level, and pictures in the manual that show you both the proper and improper way to install. Again, this seat has three possible configurations, but once you understand how to install one, each additional one is easier to accomplish.
The seat itself is pretty large and rather heavy, but it’s not a bucket seat—so you won’t be toting it around. It fit easily into our SUV, but was snug in our four-door sedan. It takes up the most room as a rear-facing seat because it’s reclined, and it takes up the least amount of space as a booster fitted upright. It is both deep and wide, as there’s extra padding/protection on the sides for safety that is bulky, but I’m not complaining. The base of the seat is attached; therefore, moving it from car-to-car with multiple bases is not an option—which might be a negative for some.
Now, for the real test: buckling the kids in. Tears … or no tears? My toddler tried the seat first in the forward facing position. She seemed comfortable and had plenty of room. She is tall, so the extra depth suited her. She enjoyed having two cup holders. There are soft, thick belt covers and the seat and back are outfitted with very thick, somewhat cushy, soft fabric. The side headrests are also very soft and comfortable, evidenced by my daughter’s (rare) ability to nap on a longer drive home.
The shoulder straps move up and down easily to accommodate for various shapes and sizes while all straps are tightened/released by a front harness adjust strap. There are two removable pads that are used to secure baby and ensure a proper fit, as well as a headrest adjust lever which moves the back of the seat up or down depending on desired configuration.
One of my favorite features are the buckle pockets on the sides at waist level to tuck the seat belts into when not in use—they keep them out of the way and also prevent them from getting hot. This is so incredibly clever!
We then moved the seat to rear-facing for our little guy who seemed equally as happy in the seat. The conversion took just a few minutes, and it was easy to figure out based on the initial install and with help from the manual. The soft padding was added for proper fit, and he seemed very comfortable and safe. No tears from either child—success!
Again, this seat has been roll-over tested, side-impact tested and has a steel frame. It also describes an expanded zone of protection and has three layers of protection to reduce side impact crash force up to 50 percent and designed for structural integrity at energy levels about two-times the federal crash test standard. The seat has a 2-year product warranty and a 10-year expiration. The plastic and metal parts can be cleaned with soap and water, the removable cup holders are dishwasher safe, and the seat pad is machine washable.
The price point is on the higher side. However, when you consider the safety features and the ability to use this seat through all/most phases of growth and an extended expiration date (which means fewer car seats to purchase), it’s well worth the investment.
It comes in various colors: a bright, happy blue, gray, red or purple. The overall aesthetic is simple and appealing. I would highly recommend this seat as we’ve found it to be functional and safe—and our kiddos love it!
Where to buy: Amazon.com