Evenflo has been a leader in child passenger safety for decades, creating products that continue to move the industry forward. They have raised the bar yet again with their latest all-in-one car seat, the Platinum SafeMax. This seat is an industry first – it has been rollover tested! We are very excited to check out this new product and look forward to seeing the many improvements Evenflo has included in this latest addition to their impressive car seat line up.
The Platinum SafeMax may look familiar to some, owing much of its structure and design to the existing Evenflo Symphony. This much-loved predecessor has won over many in the car seat world with its ability to provide a good fit-to-child in all three modes.
- Highest harness position: 17 in
- Lowest harness position: 6 in
- Seat weight: 20.2 lbs
- Width of seat at widest point: 21.1 in
- Crotch buckle position (only one): 7 in
- Depth of seat pan: 14 in
- 5-40 lbs (2.3-18 kg)
- 19-40 in (48 – 102 cm) and child’s head is at least one inch below top of child restraint headrest in either of its two lowest positions
Forward-facing (harness mode):
- 22-65 lbs (10-29.4 kg)
- 28-50 in (71-127 cm) and tops of child’s ears are below top of child restraint headrest
- Child must be at least one year old (though they should not ride forward-facing until a minimum of two years old, read why rear facing is best and how to make it work here)
- 40-120 lbs (18-54.4 kg)
- 44-57 in (112-145 cm) and tops of child’s ears are below top of child restraint headrest
- Child must be at least four years old (read more about when to move your child to a booster seat here)
- All-in-One (Rear-Facing/Forward-Facing/Booster)
- Three recline positions (position 1 – rear facing only, positions 2 & 3 – forward facing only)
- Infinite Slide harness system easily adjusts to perfectly fit your growing child
- 5-position adjustable headrest (bottom 2 positions only for rear facing)
- SureSafe™ Installation – Quick Connector™ UAS and guides increase instance of proper installation
- UAS attachments can be used in booster mode
- “e3” Side-Impact Protection – thick, energy-absorbing EPS foam lines the deep head wings
- Buckle Pockets to hold the buckle tongues to the side for easy loading
- Seat padding withOutlast® temperature-regulating fabric, which keeps your child comfortable in hot or cold weather
- Dual integrated cup holders that are removable and dishwasher safe
- FAA approved for use in aircraft, in harness mode (as are all seats in Canada)
- Upfront harness adjust and recline
- Lower anchor weight limit: 45 lbs
- Ten year lifespan
- Available in four fashions: red, blue, purple, and grey
- Available at Babies ”R” Us (MSRP $399.99)
The Platinum SafeMax is a large seat, but its size allows it to incorporate some pretty neat features! As mentioned earlier, the Platinum SafeMax is a first of its kind, having undergone dynamic rollover testing. This testing is unique to Evenflo, and is beyond that required by national standards. You can see features that are specifically designed to manage and dissipate the forces associated with that type of collision. Though this seat is quite wide and would not be a wise choice if you intend to have 3-across in your back seat, it is one to consider for all of the safety and ease-of-use features it includes if you have ample space in your vehicle!
Overview of features:
The Platinum SafeMax features handy buckle tongue holders, which make loading and unloading much easier.
The seat features Outlast® temperature-regulating fabric, which is also designed to be simple to remove. The fabric is machine washable, separately in cold water, delicate cycle. Tumble dry 10 to 15 minutes on low heat.
The seat pad also includes a magnetized fabric panel that covers the harness adjuster, keeping it hidden from curious little hands.
Belt guides and recline positions are colour-coded and correspond to rear facing (light green), forward facing (aqua) and belt-positioning booster mode (purple).
SureSafe™ Installation – Quick Connector™ UAS and guides make installation with a child under 45 lbs a breeze. The guides effectively create a “channel” to the lower anchor bar in your vehicle seat. These guides are especially helpful if you have buried lower anchor bars like I do! To release the lower anchor connector (Quick Connector™), simply pull the red loop.
Harness pads at the hips and shoulders ensure a comfortable and snug fit on your child. Both pads are fixed to the seat and cannot be removed, and the pads at the shoulders feature a rubber backing that enhances the performance of the seat in a collision.
The Platinum SafeMax features Evenflo’s “e3” side impact protection system surrounds your child in layers of thick, energy-absorbing foam.
Setting it up:
The seat comes out of the box with the lower anchors threaded for forward facing, but switching them is quite simple. Just flip to page 23 and 35 of your handy dandy manual and you’ll see these images, showing how to properly route the lower anchor strap for rear facing, or back to forward facing:
Take note – as it mentions in the above manual excerpts, you will have to swivel the white plastic strap that attaches the lower anchor strap to the seat in order to have the lower anchor strap sit flat on the seat, so ensure that step is complete as well!
Installation and Use – Rear-facing:
The Platinum SafeMax can be used rear facing from 5-40 lbs and 19-40 inches and while the child’s head is at least one inch below top of child restraint headrest in either of its two lowest positions.
The seat is quite simple to install rear facing for a variety of children. The seat must be in recline position 1 (most reclined position) when used rear facing, but this does not mean that the seat takes up a whole heap of space! The seat is actually more compact than you’d think – it only takes up a very reasonable 31.5 in of space front-to-back, by my measurements. The Platinum SafeMax has a single recline line which must be level to ground (I have placed a piece of green painters tape on the line in the photo below so that it is more visible), but even with this requirement, the seat still allowed for ample space for the front seat passenger, which is certainly a plus in our books!
The following photos show the Platinum SafeMax installed in a 2009 Honda Accord:
The passenger seat is in a position that is more than comfortable for myself (at a hair over 5 ft 9 in tall), and leaves me ample space between my torso and the airbag, which is important for my own safety.
In order to make installation as sweat-free as possible, Evenflo recommends that you unzip the cover at the cup holders and pull back the padding to expose the rear facing belt path, as shown below. This will allow you to get better leverage when pulling the tail of the lower anchor strap or vehicle belt, whichever you choose for installation. Once you’ve finished tightening, step to the side of the restraint and, using the force of a firm handshake with your non-dominant hand, attempt to move the seat back-and-fourth and side-to-side at the place where the belt passes through the shell of the seat. If there is less than 1 inch of movement in any direction, and the recline line discussed above is level to ground, you’re good to go!
As you can see below, our petite doll Sara, who measures very similarly to a newborn infant, fits very well in the seat. The infant padding is optional, meaning you can judge whether or not your child needs it (click here to see how to get a snug fit on your rear facing child). Take note, however, that the padding cannot be used at all when the seat is in forward facing mode. The portion of the insert behind her head seemed to force her head forward just slightly, so had this been a real infant she likely would have fit a little better without the head insert. It is separate from the bottom portion of the padding, which would still be used for a proper fit. The fit on a real baby may vary, and ensuring their airway is unobstructed (i.e they are not chin-to-chest) is very important. You may find the head pad (optional) improves fit, or not, depending on your baby’s shape and size.
Here is Presley, who turned 6 months old just a few days ago. She fit very nicely in the seat at 17 lbs and 26 in. She had no complaints! The harness adjusted snugly around her body and the bottom portion of the insert provided ample support for her. She did not need the head portion of the insert. The adjustable head restraint was in its lowest position.
Here is Luke, who just celebrated his second birthday! He claimed the seat was very “squishy” and quite enjoyed being our little model. He even requested the seat be brought into the living room so that he could watch cartoons while using the seat as his recliner! Note: car seats are for cars and kids should always be buckled properly when in their seat.
The harness fit wonderfully on Luke. It was smooth and easy to tighten using the centrally-located adjuster strap. He seemed to really like the soft, smooth material, and he didn’t seem to notice the rubberized backing on the shoulder pads at all, which was one of my concerns for him. He is using the second-from-bottom headrest position, which is also the highest one permitted for rear facing. At this point, he would likely have another 6-8 months of growth left before he would hit the rear facing limits listed at the beginning of the review. Rear facing use of this seat is limited in comparison to others, but it does the job well for the time it lasts and will allow most children to reach age 2 before being outgrown rear facing.
As you can see, the seat provides an extreme amount of side impact protection to the child.
(Yes, Luke is still in the seat in this photo!).
Installation and Use – Forward facing:
The Platinum SafeMax can be used forward facing from 22-65 lbs and 28-50 inches and while the tops of child’s ears are below top of child restraint headrest. The child must be at least one year of age to use the seat forward facing.
Installation was a piece of cake forward facing. The seat padding has a convenient velcro-open space where the child’s lower back would rest that allows complete access to the forward facing belt path with ease. After opening up the velcro space, you will see the space in which the lower anchor strap or vehicle belt will pass through. This makes tightening the strap/belt much easier. After you’ve finished tightening, simply close the velcro space and step to the side of the child restraint, once again grasping it at the belt path in use and checking for movement (same as rear facing, using the force of a firm handshake with your non-dominant hand at the place where the belt passes through the shell of the seat).
The seat can be in recline position 2 with a forward facing child weighing between 22 and 40 lbs, and in recline position 3 with a child weighing between 22 and 65 lbs (i.e a child weighing over 40 lbs must use recline position 3).
Here is the seat installed forward facing with the vehicle belt in the 2009 Honda Accord:
Here is Jemma. She is 4 years old, weighs 32 lbs and wears a size 4 top. She really enjoyed the cupholders (they were lots of fun to take out and put back in, and also provided her a place to store her many hair clips and Barbie shoes!)
Here is Daniel, he is 2 weeks away from turning 7, wears a size 6-7 top and weighs 62 lbs. He quite liked the cup holders and was a huge fan of the soft seat material!
And here is the seat installed with the vehicle belt in a 2016 Chevy Equinox:
Remember that for ALL forward facing harnessed car seats in Canada, the top tether anchor must always be connected and properly used!
Installation and Use – Belt-positioning Booster Mode:
The Platinum SafeMax can be used in booster mode with a child 4 years and older from 40-120 lbs and 44-57 inches. It can also be anchored to the vehicle using the lower anchors to prevent the seat from becoming a projectile in a collision when unoccupied, which also eliminates the need to re-buckle the vehicle seat belt over the child seat when the child gets out. One less thing to remember is always a plus!
The Platinum SafeMax must be in recline number 3 (most upright position) when used in booster mode.
The harness on the Platinum SafeMax is not removable, so in order to switch the seat to belt-positioning booster mode, you need to store the harness. To do so, loosen the harness all the way and thread the harness through the forward facing belt path, and buckle the chest clip behind the seat. Then, looking at the seat from the front, you slip the shoulder pads into the harness adjustment slot, as shown, ensuring they are flat.
The crotch buckle also must be flipped upside down for booster mode. To do this, unzip the cover at the cup holders, pull back to cover and put the car seat in recline number 1 (most reclined position). Slide the black metal retaining plate out of its holder. After the buckle has been removed, pass the black metal retaining plate back up through the shell of the seat so that it lays flat in the seat pan, as so. The crotch buckle will now be hanging upside down under the seat. You can put the seat back into recline number 3 (only one permissible for booster mode, as previously mentioned) and put the cover back into place.
Here is Daniel again! He found the seat to be very comfortable in booster mode and requested that this seat be his everyday ride! Another feature he talked about after riding in the seat a few times was that his legs felt much more comfortable because of how “long” the seat was (he was referring to the deep, supportive seat pan). Keeping those legs supported certainly makes for a more comfortable ride!
The vehicle belt was able to retract through the belt guide freely in my Honda Accord, which is very important. Children who are mature enough to ride in a booster should stay in position the entire ride, without leaning to pick things up or interact with their siblings, but if they do happen to move about in the seat, the vehicle belt must be able to retract in the belt guide without getting caught up and remaining slack.
Something to note: The Platinum SafeMax requires the level line to be level to ground in booster mode. As such, Evenflo permits a tightly rolled towel or small blanket to be used to achieve this, as shown below.
The top booster belt guide comes in at 19 inches, which means that it will serve the function of a high back booster for an adequate period of time for most children, after which they will need a backless booster seat until they pass the 5-step test.
The Platinum SafeMax is a large seat, but its size does not stop it from being a versatile, comfortable and functional car seat. It takes you from infant all the way to school-aged child. The seat is outgrown rear facing more quickly than other convertibles on the market, but it will get most children to at least age 2 rear facing, which is wonderful. Overall, this seat is a great choice, provided you have the space to accommodate it!
Thank you to Evenflo for providing the seat used in this review! As usual, all opinions are our own. Thank you again to Evenflo for giving one lucky (Canadian) reader a SafeMax of their own in Shiloh fashion! To be eligible to win please post your response to this question as a comment on this post: what is the age and size of the child this seat would be for (if you won), and what mode would it be used in? Use the Rafflecopter widget below to confirm your entry, and good luck! Your comment won’t show up right away (we manually approve them) but use the widget anyway, it will soon enough!