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 designed to accommodate children who fit the following criteria:
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″.
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.
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.
- 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.
If 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.
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.
Booster fit is where most so-called 3-in-1s fail in either fit or realistic longevity – but not the Symphony.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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!
- 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
- 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!