Evenflo Symphony: Multi-Mode Review

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Introducing the Evenflo Symphony LX, an “all-in-one” seat that is a 2015 Today’s Parent approved product (based on TP’s opinion of quality, ease of use, and value for money).

Evenflo has packaged a number of attractive features into one bundle, available in the LX (reviewed here) and DLX versions. It does a pretty decent job of all of the stages (rear facing, forward facing, booster) and that’s not a statement we throw around lightly.  To be clear it’s perhaps not the only seat you’ll ever need; at a minimum you’ll at least need a backless booster once your child outgrows the booster function. We DO think it’s a good bet for those who transport multiple children…such as grandparents.  In fact this is an ideal seat for the casual transporter, and will accommodate average/large-sized newborns up to the 6-8 year old crowd, at which point a backless booster is a very reasonable (and inexpensive) option.

The Symphony is available for purchase at Walmart, Shop.ca, Babies R Us, Best Buy, and Canadian Tire.  Prices and trim levels vary between about $240-300.

The Symphony is designed to accommodate children who fit the following criteria:

Rear facing:
5-40lbs and 19-40″ and the child’s head is at least 1″ below the top of the child restraint head rest in either of its two lowest positions. NEW! Retroactive change to increase the height limit to 40″.

Forward facing:
22-65lbs and 28-50″ and the tops of the ears are below the tops of the child restraint head rest and child is at least one year old and the harness is coming from at or slightly above the child’s shoulders.

Booster:
40-110lbs and 43.3-57″ and the tops of the ears are below the tops of the child restraint head rest and child is at least four years old.

Features:

  • up-front easy-to-use recline mechanism
  • up-front easy-to-use head restraint adjuster mechanism
  • premium UAS connectors (LX has SureSafe connectors, DLX has SureLatch connectors)
  • included funnel guides for easier use with UAS
  • harness buckle storage pockets for easier loading of child
  • infinite slide harness
  • infant body support included
  • cover is easily removable for machine washing
  • use with UAS until child weighs 40lbs (unless your vehicle states a lower limit); after a child weight of 40lbs install with the seat belt
  • cushy fabric and well-padded

Fit to Child:

At 7lbs 12 oz and 4 days old this average-sized newborn (left) and 11lbs and 4 weeks old (right) fit nicely in the Symphony with the harness tabs sitting at shoulder height, and included infant insert that aids in fit and positioning. Use is for rear-facing only, and optional.

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11233338_10155746888050514_4166020268480730053_oIf there is too much space between baby’s crotch and the crotch buckle, allowing baby to slouch down and potentially compromising the airway, try using a crotch roll (small rolled cloth or receiving blanket) to fill the space. Ensure first that the harness is adjusted tightly to pass the pinch test and then slide the cloth into place. Once baby is older (and larger) a crotch roll likely won’t be needed to maintain position.

 

 

Children may rear-face in the Symphony until a standing height of 37″ or until the top of the head is within 1″ of the top of the movable head rest in either of the bottom two positions. A standing height of 37″ will get a 100th percentile child past age two, the minimum we recommend for turning a child forward-facing.

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Forward-facing children can be accommodated from 22lbs and 28″ but we strongly recommend (as do Transport Canada and other child passenger safety advocates) to rear face as long as possible.  So don’t rush things!

Our model here — a fairly representative 50th percentile 6 year old girl — is 44lbs, 45″ tall, with a torso height (bum to shoulder) of about 16″. She has about 1/2″ of torso height left before the seat is outgrown as the harness must be coming from at her shoulder level.  Of course shorter torsoed children will last longer, and the long torsoed ones will outgrow it sooner.

The no-rethread “infinite slide” harness will come in handy when using this for multiple children – simply slide the red tabs to the needed height AT your child’s shoulders.

 

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Booster fit is where most so-called 3-in-1s fail in either fit or realistic longevity – but not the Symphony.

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From left to right:

At 44lbs she’s heavy enough for a booster but at only 3.5 she’s much too young (and wiggly! see the hands?) and still fits with oodles of space in the harness – absolutely how we’d recommend she still ride.  However it is encouraging to see that the belt fit is good on the lap and shoulder for those kids who are her size at a booster-appropriate age (5-6ish or so).

At 44lbs, 45″ tall, and 6 years old our model in the fancy dress also has great belt fit, low and touching the hips and centered on the collarbone. She has two “clicks” to go in head rest height, giving her more room in the torso to grow and still fit this seat.

At 56lbs and 49″ tall, and 8 years old this tester also has some space left height-wise, with one “click” to go to the tallest position.

 

 

Fit to Vehicle:

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The Symphony is neither the most compact seat nor the largest, falling somewhere in the middle for how much space it takes up front to back when rear-facing. As always we recommend trying before you buy wherever possible.  The seat has three recline positions and it’s critical to make sure that it is fully reclined to position 1 when rear-facing. Furthermore look for a raised arrow on the base of the seat and make sure it is parallel to the ground. Use a tightly rolled towel to assist in achieving the needed angle if you have very sloped vehicle seats.

 

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Premium UAS connectors store handily on easily accessible rings on the side of the seat, seen here in the “SureSafe” version on the LX.  Evenflo includes two plastic “LATCH guides,” aka funnel guides, to make installing their seats with premium connectors a breeze in vehicles with buried UAS anchors. No more digging around in the seat bight, the LATCH guide makes it simple.

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Buckle storage slots and dual cup holders round out the convenience features found on the Symphony LX.  The Symphony DLX features “SureLatch” self-ratcheting UAS connectors plus OUTLAST temperature regulating performance fabric.

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Overall Impression:

Many seats on the market claim to be a “3-in-1” or to cover all stages of seating for your child from birth through booster use. While an appealing idea for parents – buy only one seat and be done with it – it’s not a realistic expectation for most seats as they often fall short in one or more modes.  We’re pleased to discover that the Symphony shines, and does all modes well.

It’s not the seat for you if you plan to rear-face your off the charts child to age 4, if junior has the world’s longest torso, or if you have a tight 3-across and need to eke out every spare inch of real estate.

We think its true niche is for people who frequently transport a variety of ages and sizes of children. Switching between modes is not tedious, and it has a reliably good fit across the whole range of children the seat is made for.  Grandparents (and aunties and uncles!) we’re looking at you!

Pros:

  • you can use lower anchors and tether in booster mode, eliminating the need to buckle the seat when empty
  • when the seat is in booster mode there is an on-seat storage location for unused parts (harness, crotch buckle) so no risk of losing parts.
  • 8 year life span
  • the belt fit is great on all of the kids we tried it on
  • up to 20% overhang of the base is permitted in all modes
  • cover is easily removable and machine washable

Cons:

  • the tether length (required when forward-facing) might be too short in some vehicles; call Evenflo for a tether extender.
  • the harness is not removable or replaceable (potentially a concern if your child is really, um, leaky)
  • not ideal for tight seating scenarios as the Symphony is on the wider side.
  • Due to its width and height it will be challenging for smaller booster riders to reach down and around to buckle.

Thank you to Evenflo for providing this seat for review – but all opinions are our own.

Now we’d like to send this seat out to one of you! The only requirement is that the seat must be destined to a location where it will be used by more than one person. Maybe Grampa wants a seat in his car for when the kiddos visit? Maybe you’re a daycare provider and would enjoy the flexibility of quickly and easily adjusting a seat for multiple kids? Tell us! And then maybe you want to meet up with a tech near you to learn to install it like a pro!

 

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110 comments to Evenflo Symphony: Multi-Mode Review

  • Cat

    Great review! Thanks for the insight on the Evenflo Symphony.

  • Angie

    Would love this for grandmas house!

  • Stephanie

    I have 3 kids age 2 and 4 and 6 and a baby on the way!! My kids go to Grandmas house all the time so I’m having to take out car seats and booster seats and install in grandmas vehicle it would be so great to have one seat that can do it all for grandmas car especially with the newest baby on the way who shows up in October I currently don’t have a rear facing car seat that will fit baby would love this seat to help with grandparent switches

  • Angie

    Would love this for grandmas house!would love to win this for grandmas house! This seat fits newborn to 6-8 years

  • This would be a great seat to give our daycare for transporting our mini who will be spending time with her soon,

  • Beth R.

    I have a 6, 5, 3 yr olds as well as an 8 mth old. This is the kind of seat we would use as a spare in our second vehicle to avoid having to move seats from our other one.

  • Rebekah

    This would be amazing to win! It would be great for grandma’s vehicle instead of having to transfer our current seat over! Great blog post with tons of great info on this seat!

  • jolan holmes

    My little guy that would use the car seat is 10 months. Thanks !

  • Tracy R

    My niece is a month younger than my LO and I would love to have a spare to share for when we pick her up for the day, or for when my daughter spends the day with her uncle , aunty & cousin.

  • Estelle Greb

    Would love to win this car seat.

  • Alison Bileske

    Car seat would be used with a 4 year old a almost 2 year old a 1.5 year old and more babies on the way (once they out grow their infant only seats)

  • kaye holmes

    I would use it for my grandson who is 10 months old.

  • Nicole

    All 3 grandsons could use this seat – ages 1, 4 & 5.

  • Amy

    Always love having great options for those who transport our daughter occasionally.

  • Melissa Demelo

    I’m a Daycare provider with 7 children. This would be a great seat for me as I’m constantly moving seats and adjusting seats to get the right fit for each child. I pay out of pocket for each seat so getting one for free would be a welcome change.

  • Theresa Cl?domin

    we often have others in our vehicle – cousins, kids in our care, etc and this would be a great seat that would allow us to have a better fit for each of them while also meaning we would need to do less seat shuffling as this one sounds like it does so well at all three stages – kids range in age from 2 months to 7 years old (2 yr old, 3 yr old, 4 yr old, 5 yr old as well as the infant and the 7 year old – lots of cousins and friends who ride in our van 🙂 )

  • Tannis W

    This seat would be used for our 16 month old.

  • Jessica Scallen

    I would gift this seat to my good friend who is planning on multiple babies and is starting this summer with the arrival of her first.

  • Thanks again for a very great review.

  • We use this seat at home and would love one for grandma! All the grandkids could use it!

  • I would love to use this for my almost (in 2 weeks) 2 year old and/or my just turned 5 year old.
    Great giveaway

  • Kristy

    Looks like a good seat! Can accommodate from birth (at least average to large baby) all the way to 8 yrs! That’s awesome 🙂

  • Sheena

    This seat would be great for Granny’s car. She transports a 4 mth old, 9 mth old, 3 year old and 5 year old.

  • Angela Young

    Would be perfect for my parents! Ages of children it will be used for, 2 3yo’s, and an almost 2yo.

  • Ashley D

    This would be perfect for either my mother’s or mother-in-law’s care – both have a variety of toddler and pre-school aged grandchildren to cart around.

  • Melissa Chambers

    Although this seat could fit 5/7 of my children I would use it for the 4 year old and two 5 year olds. I could just keep one seat installed (instead of switching depending on what kid I have with me) and easily adjust the harness height as needed.

  • Patricia

    I have 2 grandkids, 5 and 2, and 2 nephews 5 and 3 and several friends with kids between 1 and 5 that I take out with me :0)

  • This would be a wonderful seat for Nana and Papa’s car! They transport an average 5 year old, a large 4 year old, a petite 4 year old and a 14 month old!!!

  • Catherine R

    I would use this for my daycare kids – I have 3 that share a spot, of all different ages and sizes. The no rethread harness would be perfect!

  • This would be great for my 26lb 31″ daycare girl!

  • To be honest, I’d probably give it away locally… we have a symphony here that has been well used over the past 3 years.

  • Ani W

    this would be used for my 5 year old, 15 month old and a newborn in December.

  • This would be great for Grammie’s car. My little guy is 1 year old, my nephew is 2. One niece is 5 and my other two nieces are 4 months!

  • Bree

    Love that this is good for average/large-sized newborns up to the 6-8 year old crowd. What a perfect seat!

  • Kerry Tooley

    This seat would be great for grandma’s house to transport my son or my nephews and easily be able to change belt heights between the three children.

  • Lindsey Simpson

    I love that this seat fits such a wide range of children.

  • Lindsey B

    I would use for my newborn once she outgrows her bucket seat!

  • Lindsey Beaulieu

    I would use this for my 2 month old!

  • Beth P

    What a great seat, covers off all the years!

  • Nora

    Great review , great features for safety , comfort and ease of use ! Would love this car for my 15 month granddaughter .

  • Thanks for all the great info

  • I have three children 3,4,5 and often travel with my niece and nephew who are 7 & 8 and this would be the perfect seat for everyone – not to mention in gammie’s jeep

  • Lori muzzerall

    This seat would be so great, I am always taking my nieces and nephew around and needing to shuffle car seats around

  • Great review! Thank you!

  • Megan I

    This would be used for our 2 year old!

  • Catherine M.

    Would be very useful for daycare provider!!

  • Leslie

    Great review! I would love this to replace my alpha omega which I naively bought before checking out reviews. It is our spare for transporting nieces and nephews. It would be nice to actually be able to use the booster mode!

  • Katrina

    Would be great for my 2 yr old and my 5 yr old when going to grandma and grandpas and when I have my nieces with me!

  • K Kille

    great review, this would be great for grandparents!

  • Amy

    Great review, my 2 and 4 YO could use this in grandparents car!

  • Carol

    Great seat, I love the features! I would love to use this for my one year old son (it’s his birthday today!) in our care providers car! That would be a lifesaver!

  • Bri Parnell

    would love this as a secondary seat

  • Whitney H

    We would LOVE this for Grandma & Grandpas house! It would definitely help out a lot for the grandkids. Thank you for considering us!

  • Skye McBride

    My 4 month is very popular with both sets of grandparents. It would be nice to have an easy seat to transport between all vehicles now that she is getting too big for he bucket seat!

  • Erin F

    If I won, the seat would be used for a 14m old, a almost 4 year old & a newborn (gramas house)

  • Cara Whalen

    I would love this for my moms car as she has four grandchildren and we don’t have an extra seat! 🙂

  • Carol

    Our kid travels with get grandparents, her Nono and Nana, and my husband. If we get this it will be well used in many cars!

  • For a 2.5yr old rear facing, 4 & 6year olds forward facing and 7 year old boostered by grammie!

  • Would live to send this seat to be at nanas house for my son age 20 months, my nieces ages 2 &5!

  • Jen Fournier

    I would love this seat for my two kids under 3

  • cara

    I recommended this seat to the Health Organization I work for. We provide patient travel and this seat would be perfect for our young population of kids 0-6!

  • Sarah

    I have a 3.5 year old and a 5 month old!

  • Jessica McKay

    I would love this seat! I just bought a triumph for my moms car and this would be awesome to transition to after the bucket for my car! The rearfacing limit will definitely get him to at least 2 if not 3 years 🙂

  • We would use it for any of my foster children in their access worker’s car. Our kids as currently 5,2, and 11 weeks.

  • having a seat would make life 100 times easier than swapping 1 out all the time

  • This would be perfect for Nana’s car, for two 1 year olds, a 2 year old, 4 year old and a 7 year old!

  • beryl Giffen

    1 (16 months) & 8!!

  • Laura Thompson

    This would be for my almost 2 year old to keep her rear facing in daddy’s truck:-)

  • Jessica

    What a great seat for ages newborn to eight years. Would be a useful seat fir transferring between nana’s car and mine for my children who are seventeen months and seven years old. No other seat would do it all!!!

  • 7 month old, 3 year old, and potentially a 5 year old 🙂

  • Tara

    This would be great for grandma’s house!

  • Tricia Hope

    This is for my new grand baby to be,thanks so much for the chance!

  • Michelle Neuman

    Excellent review! Looks like an amazing car seat for our second vehicle or even for grandma who does daycare!

  • Anne Mayall

    I am both a Nana and a nanny. I have 2 grandchildren ages 3.5 and a very slight 6, a new grand baby on the way. I care for 3 other children 3, 2, and 4 months. To have a seat to do all that would be a great gift.

  • Abby

    My parents could totally use one of these seats for when the kids sleep over!!

  • Abby

    Oops forgot to mention ages 2.5 and almost 5 years old.

  • Kayla Hatch

    We would love to gift the grandparents with this!

  • lindsey

    Great review

  • We have a 2.5 and 3.5 years old. Would love another seat for our second car.

  • I would love this for my 14 month old 26 lb daycare girl

  • Carrie Mccrindle

    This fits children from the average sized newborn all the up to 6-8 year olds:)
    I would this carseat

  • Natasha Satterfield

    we are in need of a second car seat for our 8 month old to use in daddy’s car!!

  • Lani

    My littles are 13 months and 4 years, we desperately need a new seat!

  • Candace

    Great seat , this would be great for when our 15 month goes to Nana and Grampie as frequently having to switch out car seat . This would be much easier for them !

  • Would love an extra for Grandpa’s truck 🙂

  • Angela Goerz

    This car seat would be perfect for my licensed daycare that I will be opening next week!!!!

  • Danielle Cross

    I would love to win this to donate to work. I work for a community living group (non-profit) and we provide a lot of outreach support to people with disabilities. A number of the individuals we support are parents of young children, and if we don’t have a properly fitted car seat for our staff to use, we can’t have them bring their child along during support time. A big barrier for single moms especially. We currently have one convertible car seat in the program that is clunky and hard to adjust. A pain when using it for multiple kids!

  • Tara

    2 and 4 yr old

  • Megan

    it would be used for my 1 year old:)

  • I’d love to win this seat! I could use it with my almost 2 year old or my 4 year old!

  • fern hatcher

    I would love to win this so grandparents can have a seat instead if always moving mine from car to car

  • Lorna MacFarlane

    Great informative review. It sounds like the perfect seat for grandparents!

  • Anna W

    It would be used for my 4 year old and possibly my one year old in grandparents’ car!

  • Ali

    Great review! Would love to win for baby #2.

  • This would be great for Gran! Two grandkids under 3 means the seat could stay rear-facing and suit both! 🙂

  • Sarah davey

    Thanks for the detailed review.

  • Heather

    Sounds like this would be a great seat for my boys. They will be cared for by daycare, dad, and nana. It would be nice to have a seat that could be easily installed in the different vehicles.

  • Sosan blaney

    Most of the time for a harnessed 4 year old but occassionally a 6 year old and a couple 1.5 year olds

  • Betty

    Grandpa car needs this as he will be doing some pick up at daycare. Mommy works shift work and so does daddy. So need something affordable and reliable.

  • Lauren

    Great review! Thanks for all you do! 🙂

  • Trista tom-LeBlanc

    I have 3 boys under 2.5 years. Would love this seat for one of them 🙂 hard moving the car seats from my car to my husbands truck to grandmas car

  • Kelsie

    Thank you for the in depth review

  • I would love to win this so that when my in-laws take my girls (4 & 10mths), which they do at different times, that they can use the same seat and easily adjust for either.

  • Catherine smyrski

    I would love to win this carseat for my daughter who is 12 months old and needs a new carseat as she is still in her infant carseat 🙂

  • Lilia

    Would love to win one for my parents! They have 4 grandkids ranging in age from 1 month to 7 years old so this would be perfect for when they babysit!

  • Melissa Stone

    I would love to win this seat! Our 6 week old is already 13 pounds so we will max out of our infant bucket seat pretty quick based on weight… This seats perameters allow us a lot more flexibility!

  • Ange

    Need a seat for my 15 month old, this sounds like a good fit!!!