In reviewing carseats for Best Buy the past couple of the years, I’ve been exposed to a lot of different brand names and seat types. With the exception of the one fancy Clek we have (my wife is a sucker for Tokidoki designs,) literally every other car seat is an Evenflo. My parents have Evenflo seats in their vehicles and I recently purchased an Evenflo Chase for our passenger sedan. Evenflo seats have proven to be easy to install, comfortable for my daughter to sit in and a trustworthy bunch of seats to protect her in the event of accidents.
The Evenflo Symphony is a seat brand that I’ve encountered in all shapes and sizes. However, this newest model of the Symphony LX has some features that I’ve never seen before. Let’s take a look together.
Before we get started, this is a similar looking but different seat to the Symphony model I reviewed last September.
One Seat to Conquer them all
The nice thing about Evenflo Symphony LX seats are the sheer convenience of knowing that this is the one and only seat that you need to get your child from day one to the last day they ever need it. The weight limit on the Symphony LX is from 5-110 lb. The seat itself grows with your child and is set up in what I always refer to as the onion formation. These sorts of seats always come out of the box ready for the smallest child. As they grow, you begin to strip off the various layers of the seat. It’s not a clever metaphor either. You are literally pulling padding off as they no longer need it. In this seat’s case, there is only a couple of extra layered pieces and they’re only meant for the rear facing phase. Once your child is old and large enough to front face (which comes at a minimum one year old regardless of weight but is not really recommended until your child is at least 22 lb too,) you can peel away the additional headrest and the insert and they sit in the seat regularly.
Staying on track
The best and my absolute favourite feature about Evenflo Symphony seats is the shoulder harness track system. This is something that I don’t believe any other car seat manufacturer (definitely not in Evenflo’s price range) does and really makes these seats stand out among the others. Rather than a slotted system where you have to thread harness straps through, the shoulder area is on a sliding track. This ensures that your harness is a perfect fit every time as opposed to just the nearest and best fit. This sort of ingenuity has single handedly caused me to recommend these types of seats to parents again and again over the last couple years.
One question I’ve received is the likelihood of a child’s hair getting caught on one of those tracks. My daughter (whose hair hasn’t been cut since birth) been sitting in a seat with type of track for almost 2 years and her hair hasn’t been caught once. There is enough padding surrounding the track that makes it really hard to get hair caught no matter how much you have a car seat wriggler trying to push the envelope.
3 phases in Evenflo Symphony
As with any Evenflo Symphony seat, there are 3 main phases to this seat. Each phase is accompanied by the swivel base at the bottom that changes the position of the way the seat sits in your vehicle. Here is a brief look at those 3 phases:
- Rear Facing: This the first phase of your car seat’s lifespan reserved mostly for the first year of your child’s life. In the rear facing phase, your child is facing the back while the seat is mounted as such. The swivel base should see the seat completely pushed back so that the child is sitting in a reclined fashion. This phase starts when the child is as light as 5lb and should last for at least the first year (though I recommend the first two years) and around 22lb. All of the padding that comes attached to the seat out of the box should remain.
- Front/Forward Facing: In this phase, you’re ok to remove all of the additional padding and sit your child in just the seat itself. However, you should continue use of the 5 point harness and the the seat should no longer be reclining. For installation purposes, you will also need to utilize the latch tether at the top of the seat. This is a legal requirement in all car seat installations and the appropriate tether hooks are included as mandatory on all vehicles model year 1996 or newer. If your vehicle is older and doesn’t have it, you can usually buy an aftermarket tethering kit from a hardware store or else call your local dealership as they may have a retrofitting kit for your vehicle specifically.
- Booster: In the final booster phase, you can shed the 5 point harness system and go with the regular seatbelt. To ditch the harness, it’s recommended that your child be a minimum 45 pounds. The seat itself now is not only acting as a buffer for safety and impact but it also helps encourage a better fit for the standard lap and shoulder belt, providing a “boost” to your child’s height in order to fit properly.
Changing the way you install a seat
As a child passenger safety specialist that’s done a fair share of car seat installs over the years, I have to say point blank that the most annoying thing about car seat installs is the Universal Anchor Tether installation. I get why car seat manufacturers make them so hard to fiddle with. After all, they’re basically the last line of defense between impact and a flying carseat. Still, some of those tightening feeds are so tight that they’re almost impossible to budge. Evenflo’s UAT connectors are constantly evolving. What used to be a fairly stock standard UAT (the annoying kind) in old seats has slowly changed. First, Evenflo started selling seats with QuickConnect, a pushbutton UAT system that made clipping into the vehicle’s anchors easy. While this doesn’t have QuickConnect, it has another great step in the evolution of safe UAT install. The SafeLatch system on this seat provides a strong bind between child car seat and regular car seat while instituting a locking system to ensure everything stays in place.
Always sitting comfortably
One thing I’ve noticed that Evenflo have been doing with their seats the past couple years is adding a fair bit of padding in the impact zones. It’s been done more with comfort than shock absorption in mind. The Evolve LX seat had a ridiculous amount of padding going for it and while the Symphony LX doesn’t quite go to those lengths, it is still a very welcoming and soft seat to sit down in. The additional padding are in places that don’t make it too soft/uncomfortable to sit in.
Why this is a great seat
Most Evenflo seats are usually pretty good, but the Symphony is one of the best of their offerings. The flexible shoulder harness track system is just so great and the fact that this is a solid 3 in 1 that lasts from start to finish is great too. Evenflo seats typically tend to be one of the easier seats to install to and this is no exception. I’d label this seat a definite winner and would recommend it to anybody that was in the market for a car seat.