Evenflo’s newest addition to their child restraint lineup is the much-anticipated Secure Kid LX and Secure Kid DLX combination harness/booster seats. Here at CarseatBlog, we know it’s our job to give you the kind of thorough, professional, parent-perspective reviews that you’re just not going to find anywhere else on the Net. And we take that responsibility seriously, so here it goes…. First, let’s clarify the differences between the LX and DLX models:
- Secure Kid DLX: This is the premium model with Evenflo’s patented, self-ratcheting SureLATCH lower LATCH connectors and their “e3” side impact protection technology which utilizes 3 different types of energy-absorbing foam in the headwings to minimize crash forces.
- Secure Kid LX: This model offers nice, push-on lower LATCH connectors (Evenflo calls them “Quick Connectors”) and EPP energy-absorbing foam lining the headwings. This is NOT a low end, stripped-down model by any means. And the price point is about $20 less than the 400 model.
- “Platinum” Secure Kid DLX: This model is a BRU exclusive. It offers all of the features of the DLX model plus buckle pockets and OUTLAST performance fabric. We have a separate review of the Platinum SecureKid DLX model here.
The sample used for this review is the Secure Kid LX. It’s definitely a gender-neutral pattern that should appeal to most grownups and look good in most vehicles. If you know me, you know I’m a fan of fun, colorful and kid-appealing. This falls a little short on those counts but the integrated dual cupholders are bound to be a hit with almost any kid so that makes up for the basic, neutral fabric in my opinion.
Secure Kid LX/DLX Specs:
- With 5-point harness: Forward-facing only for kids 20-65 lbs, at least 1 year old, height of 50″ tall or less (shoulders must be at or below top harness slots and top of ears must be below the top of CR headrest).
- In booster mode with vehicle lap/shoulder belt: 40-100 lbs, at least 3 years old, height 43.3 – 57″ (top of ears must be below the top of CR headrest).
- 4 sets of harness slots
- 2 crotch strap/buckle positions
- Premium lower LATCH attachments (either push-on “Quick Connectors” or “SureLATCH” connectors)
- Energy-absorbing EPP foam or e3 foam that lines the back and sides of the headwings
- Adjustable height head support
- LATCH attachments can still be used in booster mode
- Dual integrated cup holders
- FAA approved for use in aircraft (with 5-pt harness)
- 6 year lifespan before expiration
- Harness slot heights: 12″, 14″, 16″ 18″
- Crotch strap positions: 5 1/2″, 7 1/2″
- Seat pan depth (leg room/thigh support): 11″
- Booster height: 19 1/2″ to bottom of headwings with headrest in tallest height position
- Weight: 12.4 lbs (according to my digital bathroom scale)
Fit to Child Comments: On the bottom end of the size range it fits small toddlers well although I wouldn’t recommend this, or any other forward-facing only seat for children less than 2 years old for obvious reasons. I did try a petite 22 month old (22 lbs, 31″) in this seat just to check fit and the harness fit her well on the lowest harness slots. I am choosing not to include the pics of her in this seat because I really don’t want to promote a forward-facing only seat for children under 2 years old who should still be rear-facing in a convertible seat. Secure Kid was a good fit for a thin 48 lbs, 49″, 6 year old. With the 5-pt harness and also in booster mode (on my vehicle demo seat). She still had a little bit of growing room height-wise in the harness. Forgive me for cheating with the demo seat but it was cold outside that day and we decided to “play” indoors in the storage room where it was nice and warm.
With 5-pt harness:
With lap/shoulder belt as a belt-positioning booster:
My son who is now 7.5 years old, 60 lbs and 50″ was just slightly too tall for the harness (his shoulders were a few cm above the top harness slots). Considering the max stated height limit of this seat in harnessed mode is 50″ – I’d say that’s a realistic expectation. Kids with long torsos will always be the exception.
The Secure Kid fit my son very well in booster mode although he only had about an inch of growing room left. The shoulder belt was positioned perfectly and the lap belt was nice and low, touching the tops of his thighs. Note that the lap belt (and just the lap belt portion) must be threaded under the “lip” on both sides of the lower belt guides. The manual really doesn’t make this clear but I have clarified this information with Evenflo and this is the correct way to route the seatbelt in booster mode.
Installation Comments: Based on 300/LX model with push-on “Quick Connectors” I’m happy to report that installation with either lower LATCH anchors or seatbelt was easy and straight forward in the several vehicles that I tried. All of the vehicles I installed in (including the vehicle demo seat) had head restraints that were adjustable and/or removable so I was able to install the Secure Kid flush against the vehicle seat in each case. Evenflo recommends adjusting or removing the vehicle’s head restraint if it interferes with the carseat’s ability to rest against the vehicle seat back. I’m not sure what they would recommend in cases where the vehicle’s head restraint was fixed and angled but this is a problem we’re running into more and more often with newer vehicles. If you have a newer vehicle with head restraints that tilt forward and are not adjustable or removable then the best advice would be to “try before you buy”. For the record, Evenflo allows installation of the Secure Kid in the center seating position with LATCH if the lower anchors bars are spaced 11 inches or wider AND if vehicle manufacturer permits.
Attaching the top tether strap on the carseat to the tether anchor in your vehicle is strongly recommended regardless of the child’s weight or installation method but Evenflo states to switch from using the lower LATCH anchors to a seatbelt installation (plus tether) once the child reaches 50 lbs. Since this seat does not have a lock-off device for seatbelt installations, please read your vehicle owners manual for information on how to lock your seatbelt when installing a child restraint. The seatbelt MUST be locked to keep the carseat from wiggling loose after it’s installed. Not sure how to lock your seatbelt and missing your vehicle owners manual? Visit our forum at www.car-seat.org and we’ll help you figure it out! Or find and visit a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician in your area. Since my son is over the 50 lbs. weight limit for the lower LATCH anchors in my vehicle – I installed the SK300 using the seatbelt and the top tether strap. The lower LATCH connectors should be stored on the sides of the seat (as pictured) when not in use.
Secure Kid Advantages:
- Very tall top harness slots and 65 lbs. weight limit
- Generally easy to install properly with LATCH or seatbelt
- Easy to tighten/loosen harness straps
- Harness straps are thick and not likely to twist
- Deep headwings are good for sleeping and for enhanced side-impact protection (SIP)
- Design doesn’t promote “head slump”
- Can use LATCH in booster mode
- FAA approved for use in aircraft (with 5-pt harness)
- Good value for the price
- Good fit on my models when used in booster mode
- Cover is relatively easy to remove and machine washable (cold water, delicate cycle)
- Harness and crotch strap are replaceable if necessary
- Made in the USA!
Secure Kid Disadvantages: (In all fairness, these aren’t necessarily problems but I list them here to inform potential consumers of specific Secure Kid issues)
- Continuous harness
- Lacks harness strap covers
- No recline setting
- No lock-off device to help with seatbelt installation
- Seat needs to be uninstalled to move harness straps to a different height
- Short tether strap may require separate tether extender from Evenflo if your tether anchors are further away than average
- Shoulder belt guide in booster mode is easy to miss and will be impossible for most kids to navigate on their own
- Lap belt guide requires some maneuvering to get the lap belt tucked under the “lip” of the guide
Summary: Overall, the Evenflo Secure Kid has a lot going for it. With very high top harness slots and a 65 lbs weight maximum, both the LX and DLX models will accommodate kids in the 5-point harness longer than most other seats currently on the market. It’s also a good value for the price and made in the USA! I love that it’s lightweight yet doesn’t feel cheap or flimsy. It’s easy to install and use correctly in harnessed mode which is how most consumers are going to use the seat. Honestly, my biggest complaint has to do with the guides for booster mode and the lack of clarity in the instruction manual regarding correct seatbelt routing. Yes, the belt fit in booster mode appears to be excellent but it’s too easy, in my opinion, to misuse the seat in booster mode. It’s also too difficult to “do it right”. I would wager that the vast majority of older kids (I’m talking age 6+) will not be able to buckle themselves properly in this seat in booster mode. Now, if you don’t mind helping your older child each and every time or if you’re only planing to use the seat in booster mode occasionally then this shouldn’t be a deal breaker – just consider yourself warned. On the plus side, even when I misused the seat in booster mode (shoulder belt not placed in the upper guide and lap belt not tucked under the lip in the lower guide) I still found great belt fit. Obviously that’s not an excuse or justification for not routing the seatbelt correctly in booster mode when you know better but I’m definitely not going to lose any sleep over accidental misuse in booster mode. In fact, even when the lap and shoulder belt portions aren’t routed perfectly, the belt fit is still way better than most other combination seats in booster mode. And that’s progress in my book!
The Evenflo SecureKid is on our updated list of Recommended Carseats!
Thank you Evenflo for providing the Secure Kid LX used in this review. No other compensation was provided and the opinions and comments are entirely those of CarseatBlog.
I love the SecureKid DLX carseat and bought two (one for each car) after reading this post. Now my youngest is old enough for a combination seat and I’d like to get another, but I can’t seem to find them anywhere. Have they been discontinued? I really hope they haven’t been recalled and I didn’t know it. I can’t find anything comparable on the market at a similar price point.
Yes, the SecureKid has been discontinued. Evenflo has the Maestro Sport which has higher harness slots and looks like a SK, though. https://carseatblog.com/45119/new-from-evenflo-maestro-sport-combination-seat-everystage-all-in-one-pivot-xpand-stroller/
The SecureKid DLX seems to have been discontinued. Does anyone know of the Transitions or the Evolve is sucessor model? They both seem to be 4.6 pounds heavier than the SecureKid. Thanks
@Allen – yes, unfortunately, the SecureKid is phasing out and is already out of stock in most places. It will continue to be available in Canada for a little while longer but that doesn’t help you if you are in here the states. The Transitions and Evolve are both excellent new seats from Evenflo based on a newer platform. I highly recommend both versions and we have reviews of both models that you can find under “COMBINATION FORWARD-FACING HARNESS/BOOSTER CARSEAT REVIEWS” here: https://carseatblog.com/reviews/
However, both Transitions & Evolve are bigger and heavier than SecureKid. If you’re looking for something lightweight, you may want to consider the Evenflo Maestro instead. It won’t last as long as Transitions and Evolve and the harness is only rated to 50 lbs., instead of 65 lbs., but it’s lightweight, inexpensive and good for traveling. HTH!
We have used this car seat for 2 years and have been very happy with it. As my child is due to switch from the harness to the seatbelt in booster mode, I want to be sure I understand: am I to release the LATCH when he uses the car seatbelt? I’m not clear why that it advised. Thanks.
Hi Anne, Evenflo allows you to continue using LATCH to secure the seat even in booster mode. At that point, the LATCH is just securing the carseat in the vehicle but the seatbelt is actually doing the real work securing the child. HTH!
Great info on this site! My son is 4, but 59lbs and 46 inches. We want to use in harness mode which the manual says must be installed using seatbelt only (not latch) due to his weight. When installed and seatbelt locked, the base wiggles a good 6 inches side to side, even with the tether strap on and headrest removed. I’ve contacted Evenflo but any suggestions in the meantime?
Does this carseat push the child’s head forward? It looks like it pushes it forward uncomfortably. That’s my main concern and we don’t have a location close by where we can go try it out.
Hi Jennifer, no, it does not. HTH!
I want to but the gray one, but the accent color looks pink in some photos and red in others. Does anyone know which it is?
Hi Carla – the “Kohl” fashion is gray with red trim. It is definitely red, not pink. HTH!
Can the latch be used in booster mode with this seat like the platinum to hold it in place when the child is not in it? Also to convert to booster should I remove the harness completely? Or put it under the cover? That seems like it would be uncomfortable. Thanks.
Hi Morgan, yes you can keep it latched in booster mode as long as there is no compelling reason not to do this (like offset LATCH anchors that don’t line up with the position of the seatbelt). I’m pretty sure you need to remove the harness but double check the manual to be sure. There’s a whole section in the back of the manual about converting your seat to booster mode. If you don’t have the manual you can download a copy from Evenflo’s website here: http://www.evenflo.com/support/instruction-manuals.html
Can this be used if there is no latch system/tether option in your car? Also we are thinking of taking this on a plane and wondered if you have to use the latch system on a plane?
Hi Tracye – yes, you can install with seatbelt no problem. It is recommended that you always use the top tether if you install a forward-facing carseat in a vehicle but airplanes don’t have tether anchors so you install with just the lap belt. The SecureKid is a great lightweight seat that is perfect for traveling. It’s on our list of recommended seats for airplane travel: https://carseatblog.com/25408/recommended-carseats-for-airplane-travel/
Any idea of this seat can be installed using a lap belt that does not also go over the shoulder? Trying to find the best seat to install in the back bench an old Volkswagen bus (1960s). There are only plain old lap belts but no latch or shoulder belts. My son is almost 5 and I’d love to see him in a five point harness as long as possible. Thank you
Hi Laurie – yes, you can install the SecureKid with just a lap belt. Most carseats with a 5-point harness allow installation with this type of seatbelt. However, once he’s too tall to use the harness, you will NOT be able to use this seat as a booster. All boosters require a lap/shoulder seatbelt. Is the VW bus something he will ride in for years to come or just something temporary?
This bus is definitely not our regular use vehicle. It’s a hobby project my husband fixed up for an occasional drive. My husband would like to take him periodically for rides and without modern seat belts I dont want my son to ride at all unless he is properly restrained. I guess the seat would work til he’s 50in then, but after that I’m not sure what would be best. Thanks so much for your help I’ve relied on your site for all my car seat purchases, and this will be seat #8
Does anyone know if the Secure Kid DLX fits on the regular seats on Jet Blue?
Hi CSt – it should fit just fine. The regular coach class seats on JetBlue are nice and wide which is one of the many reasons that this is my favorite airline! Have a safe flight!
I’m wondering if you know whether the tray table can be lowered with this car seat on a plane? Thanks!