Saturday, December 19, 2009

The new Evenflo Serenade

Evenflo has come out with a new infant seat, the Serenade. It is just now showing up in Babies R Us stores. I was fortunate enough to have them pull the first seat out of the box as a display for me at my local Babies R Us. Below you will find out what Evenflo says about their seat, and what I say about it :)

Here is what Evenflo says about their seat:

New! Serenade™ Infant Car Seat featuring SureLATCH® combines the latest technology to provide a safe and comfortable ride for your baby and peace of mind for you.

A Series of Innovations:

  • SureLATCH® technology – an exclusive Evenflo innovation consisting of two connectors for use with a vehicle’s LATCH system to ensure proper installation in a fraction of the time of a traditional seat. Safety so simple!
  • Infinite Slide™ Harness Adjust – an innovative harness system that simply slides for an accurate harness fit everytime!
  • Full Coverage Canopy With superior padding, and a full-coverage canopy to shade baby from every angle, baby will be comfortable everywhere you go.
  • Side Impact Tested! Like all Evenflo car seats, the Serenade™ Infant Car Seat is Side Impact Tested AND meets ALL Federal. safety standards.
  • Designed and tested for structural integrity at energy levels approximately 2X the federal crash test standard
  • Additional Features: 5-Point Harness for security, adjustable PositionRight™ base with dual level indicators and an ergonomically designed handle for a more comfortable carry.

Here are my thoughts on the seat:
-It is nice and lightweight, so it'll be easier to carry a heavier baby

-The seat shell has good height, to accommodate taller babies
-It has a high weight limit
-They have changed the red tabs on the harness shoulders. They are now narrower than the harness, and should not irritate the child's neck
-It has the infinite slide harness, so it's always at the proper height for your child
-It has a nice low harness position for newborns (I measure it at about 5 inches)

-The SureLatch sure didn't work well for me. I tried everything but standing on it, and I still couldn't get it tight enough. I'd rather have the regular LATCH.
-I tried my 11 month old, 24 pound child in the seat. I had to loosen the harness all the way, and when she was in with a thin fleece jacket, it was the perfect tightness for her to ride in. If she grew any, it would be too tight. She did have a few inches above her head to grow though. (And for comparison, she may have had a tad more room above her head than in her SnugRide 32, but int he SR32, we have a little more harness room).
-It is over priced. Really, for $159.99, I'd much rather buy a Snug Ride 32. It will install much easier with both LATCH and seatbelt
-Evenflo has NOT changed their handle rule. In the car, the handle must be behind the carseat, and there must be 1.5 inches between the carseat (handle included) and the vehicle seat in front of it.


Ulrike said...

What vehicle were you trying it in? I found the SureLatch on my Symphony to be GREAT in my Odyssey.

How's the harness adjuster? Does it tighten from the top or the bottom? Did you check to see if there are long & short loops on the harness straps?

CarseatNanny said...

It was actually on the test bench at BRU. I don't remember having trouble with the Symphony there though. If the snow melts this week, I plan on going to BRU, I'll give it a try in my Sienna.

Anonymous said...

Remember the "test benches" in the stores do not always have regualtion LATCh systems. Try it in yor car!!!

CarseatNanny said...

I tried the Serenade in my vehicle (2008 Toyota Sienna) today. I did get an acceptable install, with less than 1 inch of movement at the belt path. But it was still not as easy as Evenflo makes it seem with the Sure Latch.

So, in MY opinion, this seat has 3 strikes. 1- Handle position rule. 2- Spacing between carseat and front seat rule. 3- I'm not a fan of the Sure Latch. It's just not a seat I see myself recommending.

Ulrike- There are not multiple loops for the harness (like on the Graco seats). It's attached, and there's no changing it. That's one of the first things I checked when I found the harness was so snug on my 24 pound 11 month old. It tightens from the bottom. IIRC, the harness adjuster was nice and smooth.

Stephanie, I contacted you via email.

Anonymous said...

Though my comment may get flamed from those trying to be perfectly proper, I am coming at this from a pure practical and commmon sense perspective:

There is no real reason to not have the handle in the typical carrying position. When I called to ask various customer service reps, they all use the same party line; "in a crash the handle could be compromised and intrude into the baby's safety area" (i.e. it could break and impale the baby).

However, it is just as likely that it could save the baby from some errant object flying in the car, or a passenger falling over and hitting the baby in the head/face etc.

The key difference here is liability. If your groceries come flying forward and kill your child, Evenflo is not responsible (though the handle may indeed deflect the danger). However if the object breaks the handle and it injures your child (likelihood to me seems a toss-up), then Evenflo could be held liable.

So I take no stock in their 'handle rule'. Since they allow you to move it downward for tighter fits, it is not part of the crash structure, so that is not a reason they want it in the
'traveling position'.

To me it's just a CYA position from Evenlfo.

CarseatNanny said...

How about we come at it from a crash perspective. In a crash, rear facing carseats will rotate backwards, then rebound back towards the vehicle seatback. If the handle on an infant seat is in the carry position, it will hit the vehicle seatback on rebound. The carseat manufacturers that allow the handle to be in the carry position in the car have crash tested the seat this way, and know that the handle will not break under the force. So, given this information, either Evenflo did not crash test their seats with the handles in the carry position, or the did and it did not test well.

When looked at from this perspective, I would rather use an Evenflo infant seat with the handle in the proper position in the car, and keep my groceries in the trunk.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if this car seat is compatible with any snap and go systems (Baby Trend, Kolcraft)?