So, we have had the seat for about 2 weeks now and have been test driving it to get a real feel for its Ease of Use (EoU) in daily use. From day-care drop offs to rush hour traffic on Auckland’s roads the seat has been in use for about a week of this time and we have some things that we love about this seat and a few things we loathe.
Firstly this seat is a great forward facing only harness to booster seat. It can be used with the internal harness from 9-29 kg and then as a booster 18-45 kg. Let me add here that the seat won’t fit many children until around 2 years of age as the lowest slots are quite high, I do not think that many 9 kg 12 month old children would fit correctly, and to be honest we’d prefer to see these wee ones rear facing still. Plunket and companies alike recommend rear facing until a minimum of 2 years of age (there is no reason to turn at the age of 2 yrs if your child still fits the seat safely based on height and weight).
The seat is light weight, so is easy to move between cars. To install you can use 1 of 3 methods, Isofix + tether, lap only belt + tether or lap/sash (3pt) belt + tether. This is because the seat meets both American (FMVA 213) and New Zealand (NZ S 1754) standards, unlike UK standard seats that require the use of a full lap/sash seat belt to install correctly.
We noticed at first that the webbing used on the harness differed to the normal slippery webbing found on Evenflo seats sold here. The patterning on the webbing shows a “zig zag” like pattern working across the webbing, normally the patterning is straight across. While this may not sound overly important we noticed that this meant the harness was less likely to twist when trying to fit your child into the harness. We love this feature!
To adjust harness height on this seat you do need to uninstall the seat, it does not adjust with the headrest.
Secondly we like how easy the headrest is to adjust, simply press the red button at the top of the headrest down, grasp the top, and pull up/push down. It clicks easily into place, no numbers/notches to match up. The headrest sits above the 2nd harness slot, so does not come down to the first slot, but then does line up with all others above this.
While there was mention of head slumping in this seat when a child is restrained, we have not noticed this issue at all when the seat is in use, and our child has not complained about neck pain or the like. Once the seat is installed it appears to sit with a decent recline so this may not be a problem unless your back seats are relatively upright to begin with. We will try to calculate the angle of our back seats in the near future to compare.
The internal seat area of the car seat slopes back towards the back of the seat to create a well in which the child’s bottom sits low down so that the lap portion of the seat belt rests on the child’s thigh, rather than their lower abdomen. Little notches on the side of the car seat behind the cup holders help to position the lap portion of the belt onto the seat frame to minimise movement while the child is restrained.
Upon receiving the seat the harness came buckled up, while the buckle looks the same as all other push button buckles we noticed that to release this one you had to push inwards on the top most part of the buckle, rather than to the centre of the button like you would on Safe-n-Sound seats for example. Also when engaging the buckle you have to angle the tongs in straight rather than slightly on an angle. While this is not a problem and personally I find it better as it feels more secure and less likely that a child will get themselves into or out of the seat like they can on other car seats.
One of the first things I noticed about this seat when taking it out of the box was the lack of recline boot/base. The seat simply does not have any recline at all. Though as with most American car seats the seat is designed to install with quite a natural recline. While using this seat we have not had any requests by the user to recline, or alter the install angle. Again unless your vehicle seats are particularly upright, this is not likely to be a problem for you.
Harness on neck
One of the main qualms I have about this seat is how closely the harness sits at the child’s neck. It’s incredibly close together and when pulling the harness tight we hear yelps “it’s hurting my neck”, “it’s too tight”, “Don’t do it so tight”, and along those lines. One thing I noticed was that this seat does not come with any shoulder padding at all, on other seats this is an easy way to resolve this issue as you place them over the shoulders before tightening the harness and the softness of these stops the harness pinching the neck. Here I will add that it is important that you do not use any harness pads other than those sold with your car seat. How can you resolve this without pads? We do one of two things, 1, pull the shirt neck band up around the neck before tightening the harness (not a problem in winter, but needed in summer) or 2, pulling the harness tight slowly, and not pulling with too much force near the end, the harness will not sit as tightly, but it’s still a good firm fit.
We think this seat is great. We like it, and we think many families will also like it. As with all car seats each seat has some great features, and some not so great ones. This seat has both good and bad, but has many good features including the price. It appears it will retail for $280-$295.
For a seat purchased when your child is 2 yrs old, used for the lifespan of 6 years you will get a great little seat that will see your child using it until they no longer need a car seat, or a half booster rather than a full back booster will suffice.
For our review and measurements on this seat, view this post Evenflo Securekid 300.
Images above show (Left to right, top, bottom row):
Side view, back view, headrest lowest, headrest highest, installed in car, harness close to neck.
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