Evenflo LiteMax DLX Review: Rear-Facing Only Infant Carseat with Load Leg
In recent years, Evenflo has been on the cutting edge of carseat safety. They were an early adopter of side-impact testing and they were the first in the industry to implement rollover testing of their carseats. Now they are making load leg safety technology available to the masses with the budget-friendly Evenflo LiteMax DLX infant car seat.
Evenflo LiteMax DLX Specs & Features:
- Rear-facing only
- 4-35 pounds
- 17-32 inches, at least 1” shell above head
- With physician approval, Evenflo states their LiteMax and SafeMax seats can be used for infants weighing as little as 3 lbs. and as short as 15.75″ tall
- No-rethread harness system
- 5 harness height/headrest positions
- 3 crotch buckle positions
- 3 hip-width positions
- 4-position adjustable base with load leg
- Tensioning lockoff for secure seatbelt and LATCH installs
- SureSafe™ push-on LATCH connectors and plastic LATCH anchor guides
- European belt routing option for baseless install
- Dual-zone recline angle indicator
- Thick energy-absorbing EPS foam
- Cover and soft goods (strap and buckle covers) are machine washable
- FAA-approved for use in an airplane (carrier only)
- 6-year lifespan before expiration
- Made in China
- MSRP $159.99
LiteMax DLX Measurements:
- Harness slot heights: 6.5”, 7.25”, 8.5″, 9.75”, 11” without the insert
- Lowest harness slot height with body insert: approximately 5.5” (the curved nature of the insert makes it a little tough to measure). The insert must be used for babies weighing less than 6 lbs.
- Crotch strap/buckle positions (without insert): 2.5″, 4″, 5.5″ *
- Hip width positions: 3″, 6″, 9″ **
- Internal shell height: 19”
- Length of carrier without base: 28.5”
- Width of base at widest point: 15”
- Width of carrier at widest point: 17.5” (outside of handles)
- Carrier weight: 8.6 pounds (on my home scale)
The LiteMax DLX has a lockoff tensioner in the base that makes it easy to install the base securely. The lockoff is used for both seatbelt and LATCH installations, but should never be used with both the seatbelt and LATCH at the same time. Pick one installation method or the other but either way, you will be routing the latch strap or the seatbelt under the lockoff. If you are installing with seatbelt, attach the LATCH connectors to their storage locations on the sides of the base.
Recline Angle Indicator
The base of the LiteMax DLX has 2 different weight ranges for proper recline of the infant. The light blue zone is for smaller infants (4-20 pounds) and the green zone is for larger infants (20-35 pounds). If the maximum recline angle provided by the 4-position adjustable recline foot is inadequate for the child’s size, a towel or small blanket can be rolled and placed under the foot of the base to increase the recline angle. While the indicator is easy to read, it is only on one side, making it tough to view on the driver’s side of the car, especially if there is an adjacent seat installed. Important – Make sure the vehicle is parked on level ground when installing your base.
1.5″ Clearance Rule
Evenflo requires 1.5″ of clearance space between any part of the infant carrier and the driver or front passenger’s seat directly in front of it. However, this 1.5″ clearance rule applies only to installations in the outboard seating positions of a vehicle. If you are able to install LiteMax DLX in the rear center seating position, where there is not a front vehicle seat directly in front of the carseat, you do NOT need to have 1.5″ of clearance space.
Lower LATCH Anchor Installation
The 4-position adjustable base on the Evenflo LiteMax DLX Infant Seat comes with easy push-on lower LATCH connectors that feature a pull tab release. The LATCH strap may be stored inside the lockoff compartment so check there if you don’t see it.
First, lower the load leg so it contacts the floor of the vehicle (you can make minor adjustments after the seat is installed). Ensure that the recline angle will be correct by pushing the base into the vehicle seat using your full weight (to simulate how it will be positioned once it’s tightly installed). If necessary, adjust the recline angle by turning the knob on the base until you achieve the appropriate angle on the recline angle indicator.
Open the lockoff by pushing down on the lockoff door itself and pushing the release tab out of the way at the same time. Attach the LATCH connectors to the lower LATCH anchor bars in the vehicle, tighten the strap so all the slack is taken out, then close the lockoff door. I suggest what I describe as a “CPR Compression” move to close the lockoff with both hands, as the tensioning bar does require a bit of force with this step. If the lockoff won’t close, you may need to loosen the latch strap slightly.
Check for tightness at the belt path to ensure that you have less than an inch of movement side-to-side and front-to-back. Check the load leg to make sure it is in contact with the vehicle floor, not lifting the back of the base up off the vehicle seat, and that the indicators on both the base and on the bottom of the load leg are green. Make adjustments if necessary.
LATCH installation in center seating position with non-standard spacing – Evenflo does allow you to borrow the lower anchors from the outboard seats for a center install as long as the spacing between the anchor bars is between 11″ – 20″ AND your vehicle specifically allows it (check the manual!).
To install with seatbelt, first store your LATCH connectors on the base. The connectors clip onto the sides of the base.
Now, lower the load leg and press down on the base with your full weight to order to determine if the recline angle will be correct once it’s installed. If more recline is needed, turn the knob on the base to drop the foot down. Open the lockoff by pushing down on the lockoff door and pushing the release tab out of the way at the same time. Route both the lap and shoulder portions of the seatbelt through the beltpath and buckle. Slide both the lap and shoulder belt portions of the seatbelt through the little black plastic clip that also holds the LATCH strap in place.
Next, remove the slack from the seatbelt and close the lockoff. Again, I suggest a two-handed push as if you’re doing a CPR compression in order to shut the tensioning lockoff. If the lockoff won’t close, you may need to loosen the seatbelt slightly. Check for tightness at the beltpath to ensure that you have less than an inch of movement side-to-side and front-to-back. Check the load leg to make sure it is in contact with the vehicle floor, not lifting the back of the base up off the vehicle seat, and that the indicators on both the base and on the bottom of the load leg are green. Make adjustments if necessary.
If you have a lap-only seatbelt, route the loose tail end of the vehicle belt under the lockoff as well. If you have a seatbelt “button” that interferes with the closing of the lockoff, slide the base slightly to one side or the other to move the button out of the way. Again, check at the beltpath to ensure that you have less than an inch of movement side-to-side and front-to-back.
Inflatable Seatbelts – At this time, Evenflo does NOT allow installation with inflatable seatbelts found in some Ford, Lincoln or Mercedes Benz with their carseats. If you have a vehicle with these types of seatbelts, use LATCH to install this seat.
More about the Load Leg – The Shining Star of the LiteMax DLX Infant Seat
This feature is just too awesome not to get its own paragraph. A load leg is a significant safety feature that stabilizes the seat in a crash. A load leg limits the downward rotation that a rear-facing car seat makes in a frontal crash and subsequently, it also helps to reduce the amount of rebound (the secondary motion) the seat experiences. If the seat isn’t able to rotate down much, then subsequently it is not able to rebound much either. This is a proven safety feature that is known to reduce the forces on the child occupant in a crash. Until now, only a few very expensive infant seats offered this important safety feature. The Evenflo LiteMax DLX is the first budget-friendly car seat to feature a load leg and we’re grateful for that. Getting premium safety features without the premium price tag is always something to celebrate!
If you already have a different LiteMax seat from Evenflo, you will be happy to know that the DLX base is cross-compatible with all versions of LiteMax infant car seats. You can add a load leg to your existing LiteMax seat simply by getting a LiteMax DLX base, which is sold separately.
It took me longer than it probably should have to figure out how to fold out the load leg from the base; the manual didn’t give any specific instruction on this little detail, but I finally figured out that there is a tiny little catch that holds the leg in place when it’s not in use. It takes a little force to release it but it’s easy once you figure it out.