I just wrapped up my review of the brand new Evenflo Spectrum Booster, and I had mentioned that it was rollover tested. I recently had the privilege of being able to test out another new Evenflo seat, SafeMax 3-in-1 Combination Seat. This is a forward-facing only seat for kids 2+ that can also be used as a highback booster and eventually as a backless booster too. They call it a 3-in-1 product which can be a little misleading because many consumers think a 3-in-1 carseat always means Rear-Facing/Forward-Facing/Booster. However, in this case it means Forward-Facing/Highback Booster/Backless Booster. This is a Stage 3 carseat that is most appropriate for pre-school and school-aged children.
Evenflo SafeMax 3-in-1 Specs & Features:
- 5-point harness: Forward-facing only for kids 22-65 lbs., at least 2 years old, height 28- 50″ tall (shoulders must be at or below top harness slots).
- Booster mode with vehicle lap/shoulder belt: 40-120 lbs., at least 4 years old, height 44 – 57″ (top of ears must be below the top of the head support).
- 4 harness height positions
- 2 crotch strap/buckle positions
- Height-adjustable head support
- Rollover tested
- Steel reinforced frame
- Recline feature on base (reclined position required for kids under 40 lbs.)
- Harness strap covers (required for kids under 40 lbs.)
- Buckle Pockets keep harness out of the way while loading/unloading
- Dual integrated cup holders
- Basic, hook-style lower LATCH connectors (LATCH limit is 45 lbs.)
- FAA approved for use in aircraft (with 5-pt harness)
- 8 year lifespan before expiration
SafeMax 3-in-1 Measurements:
- 4 Harness slot heights: 11.5″, 13.5″, 15.5″, 17.5″
- 2 Crotch strap/buckle positions: 6″, 8″
- Booster height: 19.5″ to opening in shoulder belt guide with headrest in max height position
One of the biggest things that catches your eye with the entire SafeMax product line which includes SafeMax Infant Seat with anti-rebound bar and SafeMax All-in-1 Convertible is the “Rollover-Tested” claim, so let me go into it a bit before we delve into the details of the seat.
Evenflo is the first car seat manufacturer to perform dynamic rollover testing that is designed to simulate roof-to-ground contact. According to Evenflo, more injuries happen when vehicles roll and roof-to-ground contact is responsible for the majority of injuries in a rollover crash. So they set out to design an entire line of seats that would best protect the child occupant during these scenarios. Please remember there are no federal standards for rollover testing, but as I stated in the Spectrum booster review, I feel that it’s great for a company to think outside the normal standards and go above and beyond the required testing.
The SafeMax 3-in-1 is basically an Evenflo Transitions/Evolve on steroids that has passed Evenflo’s propriatary Rollover Testing. You can find all the details in Kecia’s complete Transitions/Evolve Review, while I focus on the SafeMax features in this review.
What’s Special About SafeMax?
- SafeMax 3-in-1 is equipped with a SafeZone headrest and their signature “E3” material is expanded so they work together to dissipate crash forces. If you peel back the cover on the headrest you can get a glimpse of some pretty hardcore stuff going on in there. Lots of foam and materials designed to absorb energy.
- TempRight Performance Fabric is breathable and designed to wick away moisture. It keeps your child cool and comfortable, which is a perk since those deep headwings and sidewings really enclose the child and I can see it being a heat trap in the summer.
- Harness Protection System – consists of a padded stalk for the buckle and large padded harness covers. These things are designed to work together to limit head and body movement. The harness strap covers are required for kids under 40 lbs. and optional for kids over 40 lbs. I did notice they are very easy to put back on inside out once removed. Make sure you have the colored side facing outward and the black facing inward. I put them on backwards myself when Declan pulled them off.
- Parentlink Premier service for all customers with live chat and live video installations with CPSTs. I think this is pretty neat and adds a whole new set of hands to those having trouble or questions with their install or those who need clarification on something in the manual.
My 3 year old son Declan was my main tester for this seat. He normally rides rear facing but will transition to permanently forward facing in the future. He is on the smaller side at 27 lbs. and about 36 inches. He was absolutely thrilled with this seat. He had been requesting a “red seat with cupholders” and Evenflo came through for the little guy.
It fits him quite well. He’s on the second harness slots and the lowest headrest setting. He says it’s “soft” and he loves having the cupholders. One thing I noticed that may not be favorable to some people is the size of the headwings. The huge headwings are a primary feature of SafeMax since it houses the technology based on their rollover testing. However, kids can have a hard time seeing out the sides and some kids may not be a fan. They’re pretty confining and extend out much further than the headwings on the Transitions or Evolve. Declan doesn’t seem bothered, he calls them his pillows, and I’m a sucker for as much SIP as possible for my outboard sitting kids. But this may be something to keep in mind if you have a child who does not like feeling “contained”.
Liam, my 50 lb., 50 inch, 6-year-old, tried it in high back booster mode and it fits him well. He also likes the headrests and while I initially thought he would be constantly coming out of position to lean forward to look around them, they’re actually too big for that so he stays nicely in place and just looks forward. Gotta love some headwings that defy the stubbornness of my strong willed child!
I also really dig the buckle padding. It doesn’t hold the buckle out of the way but it gives it enough bulk so that flipping it out of the way isn’t much of an issue and it tends to stay flopped forward. It’s a very substantial pad and not only provides a cushion for the flat back portion of the buckle, it cushions the sides of the buckle tongues that tend to dig into my kid’s thighs.
My only disappointment was that this seat comes with the standard hook style LATCH connectors. With the luxury features of the SafeMax design, I was expecting the nicer push-on style lower LATCH connectors. Speaking of LATCH, the weight limit for installing this seat with LATCH is 45 lbs. Once your kid weighs more than 45 lbs., you should install this seat with seatbelt and tether.
All in all, I was very impressed. The innovation of the rollover testing is great and I really appreciate this angle of car seat safety focus. The thought they put into this seat really shines. I also like how they took a seat that has already been established and built upon it instead of starting from scratch. This allows the SafeMax technology to be available on their models for all stages from infant to big kid. Evenflo really went to the max and is offering a great seat with innovative features at an affordable price.
For more information on the Evenflo SafeMax 3-in-1, you can visit Evenflo’s site.
Thank you Evenflo for providing Declan with his “red seat with cupholders” and giving me the chance to review it. No other compensation was provided and the opinions in this blog are entirely my own.