Evenflo recently released an update to their Embrace rear facing only car seat, but it isn’t just a trim change or a fashion update. Their revolutionary new SensorSafe technology promises to change how manufacturers approach vehicular hyperthermia with new child restraint technology. The Advanced Embrace DLX with SensorSafe comes with a receiver which plugs directly into the vehicle and a smart chest clip which is on the car seat itself to alert caregivers if a child is in the seat.
CSFTL Quick Stats
- Weight range: 4-35lb
- Height range: <30″
- Shell height: 19.5″
- Lowest harness position: 5″
- Crotch strap positions: 4.5″, 5.5″, 6″
- Weight (carrier only): 7.5lb
- Expiration: 6 years
- Handle position: Must be in travel position or rebound position in the vehicle (Canada requires the rebound position in the vehicle)
- SensorSafe receiver and smart chest clip technology alert parents to the presence of a child in the vehicle
- Easy to use, push on, SureSafe premium lower anchor connectors
- Handle offers anti-rebound protection in vehicle
- Improved plush cover
- Padded insert and crotch buckle pad
- Three position crotch buckle with low birth weight routing
- Easy to use and remove foot muff
- Optional lower anchor guides
- Storage spots for crotch buckle tongues
Like the Evenflo Embrace Select/LX rear facing only seat, this new Advanced Embrace DLX with SensorSafe technology has a base that’s easy to use, accessible belt guides, and SureSafe lower anchor connectors. In the United States, Evenflo allows the handle to be in the travel position, behind the back of the seat, or the rebound position, which is at the child’s feet, when in the vehicle. Independent of the handle position while traveling, there must be no less than 1.5″ of space between any part of the seat and the vehicle seat in front of it. This can present a challenge in some vehicles, but can be remedied by using the rebound position. Having the handle by the child’s feet does not, in my experience, make it difficult to put baby into the seat and buckle baby properly. Using the handle in the rebound position also makes the seat fairly compact, which was a nice bonus. There were no major installation problems in either of the vehicles used.
The SensorSafe receiver is the key piece when installing this seat. The sensor is inserted into the vehicle’s On Board Diagnostic (OBD II) port. Please see your vehicle manual for specifics for your vehicle. The sensor can be installed before or after the base/carrier is installed. The sensor works with vehicles model year 2008 and newer, but may be also compatible with some older vehicles. This exciting feature will be discussed later in the Special Features section.
With the Base
The base itself has a simple push-button recline adjuster and an easy to read recline indicator at the back of the base. The simplicity is refreshing, and makes the base very easy to install properly. When the indicator window shows all green, the seat is properly reclined. There are only a few recline positions available though, so a rolled towel is allowed to help achieve the proper recline if necessary.
Installing the base with the vehicle belt was straightforward. There is no lockoff for the belt on the base but that didn’t make it any harder to install. For a lap/shoulder belt that does not have a pre-crash locking mechanism, you’ll need to use the locking clip provided by Evenflo. When installed in a 2010 Odyssey, the belt stalk was a little too long, leaving the male end of the buckle pushing on the edge of the belt path. To fix this problem, the female end was twisted once so the buckle would not interfere with the belt path. Twisting up to full three twists is acceptable if needed for your vehicle. Working with a Child Passenger Safety Technician would be recommended. Twisting the belt fixed the problem and the base then installed securely. The GrandAm had no installation issues and the SensorSafe installed with the center lap-only belt or the lap/shoulder belt that locks at the latchplate.
The SureSafe lower anchor connectors, also known as mini-connectors, are the same style that Evenflo uses for several of their car seats. They easily push on to the lower anchors with an audible “click” noise. They are easy to tighten and are attached to the base with a simple plastic connector.
To remove the SureSafe lower anchor connectors, simply pull on the red tab. While some prefer the push-button removal method for other lower anchor connectors, this style is user-friendly.
When installing with the vehicle belt, clip the lower anchors onto the base for easy storage.
Without the Base
The Advanced Embrace DLX with SensorSafe was installed using the lap only belt in a 2003 GrandAm without incident. Baseless, it fit well in the vehicle even with the handle in the travel position. Installing baseless is a great feature for traveling as well.
Using the Carrier
In order to improve the harness fit for infants weighing less than eight pounds, there is a newborn position for the crotch buckle strap. For these smaller babies, you can use the innermost position for the crotch strap, then route the metal tab back through the middle slot so that it sits flat against the shell. There are only two holes in the cover for the buckle strap, but there are three slots available in the plastic shell.
Similarly, there is a newborn setting for the harness. The harness can be shortened by attaching the splitter plate to the inner set of loops. There is no strict weight limit on this setting, but it is likely necessary for smaller newborns in order to improve the fit. The photo on the left shows the bottom loop, meant for larger babies, and the photo on the right shows the newborn setting for smaller babies. Preemies and smaller newborns should have a really good fit with these fine-tuning settings available.
Fit to Child
Jo is our 4lb, 17″ long Huggable Images preemie. She fits very well in the Embrace Advance DLX, with the harness below her shoulders and snug enough to pass the pinch test on the newborn setting. In this photo, the newborn crotch buckle routing is used. Since the headrest is not required, you could remove it and add rolled blankets on each side, for support, if they were needed. The chest clip is not too big for Jo, even though she is tiny.
Fiona is 7lb and the length of a newborn baby. Like Jo, Fiona fits well as the harness is below her shoulders and passes the pinch test. Since she is under 8lb, the crotch buckle can be kept in the newborn setting, though it could be placed in the first slot without the newborn modification in order to accommodate babies with more girth or those who wear cloth diapers.
Maeve is 13 months old, 29″ long, and weighs just over 16lb. She has about an 1.5″ of shell over her head, so has .5″ of growth left. This seat will be outgrown when baby is 30″, 35lb, or when there is less than 1″of shell above baby’s head. It’s very possible that the Embrace Advanced DLX with SensorSafe could accommodate a 30″ child. Most kids outgrow seats by height before weight, but a heavier child could get closer to 35lb in this seat. Maeve is well over 8lb now, so she can’t use the newborn crotch buckle setting and she does not need the shorter harness loop setting, either. The carrier itself is so lightweight, it’s easy to transport a heavier baby, but we know that she should be in the car seat as little as possible, as it’s meant for the car and not as a portable sleeping device or for containment.
The big feature of the new Evenflo Embrace Advance DLX is SensorSafe technology. As it will only work in newer vehicles, it did not work in the 2003 Grand Am used earlier. The 16 pin OBD II port in the 2010 Honda Odyssey is right under the steering column. The SensorSafe receiver plugged right in without any problem.
The first time the vehicle is started after installation, the SensorSafe receiver will play a single tone to alert the driver the technology is working. It will not chime again when the vehicle is started from this point on; it only chimes when the vehicle has been turned off. The SensorSafe perceives driving as moving for more than 30 seconds at 5 miles per hour OR when the chest clip opens while the vehicle is in motion. The SensorSafe technology is twofold, it both reminds caregivers that the car seat is in the car and alerts them if the child’s chest clip opens.
Evenflo designed the chime to be noticeable,but not harsh. The children were amazed by the sound and paid attention each time they heard it. It definitely grabs one’s attention! It’s pretty amazing that something that can fit into the palm of a hand can potentially save the life of a child left in a vehicle.
When not in use, the chest clip should be left unbuckled in order to preserve the lifespan of the battery inside the smart chest clip. There is a helpful reminder right on the chest clip. An Evenflo representative assured us that the device will time out and it will not be damaged by being left buckled long-term, but Evenflo recommends you stow the buckle tongues in the compartments on the sides of the seat.
As a bonus, these storage slots can keep buckle tongues cooler so that they won’t hurt the child if they’ve gotten hot while the car has been sitting outside. When buckling the child, it can also be helpful to have a spot to stow the buckle pieces temporarily to make buckling easier and faster.
An added feature of the Embrace DLX is the footmuff. While that’s not something usable right now since in the southwest, it can definitely be a handy feature for babies transported during colder weather. It has a zipper for easy access to baby, and snaps on and off. The fleece lining on the inside is very soft. No doubt it’ll keep those little Littles warm during the cold months.
Important Information: Where to Find
Notice of FAA approval is in red at the bottom of the larger stickers on the sides of the carrier. Like many other rear facing only seats, the Evenflo base is not FAA approved, but the carrier itself is very easy to install on an airplane. Read more about why a child needs a seat on the plane.
The Evenflo Embrace Advance DLX has a six year expiration. There are stickers with detailed information on both the base and the carrier itself. They are very visible and easy to find and it’s very handy that the expiration date is listed right on the sticker.
There is a sticker on both sides of the seat detailing handle positions and which are allowed for use in the vehicle. Except in Canada, the handle can be in positions 1, 4, or 5 for vehicle travel.
There is also Evenflo’s contact information imprinted on the back of the seat behind release mechanism handle.
- Fits small infants and preemies well
- Weight of seat makes it easier to carry than many other options
- Three-position crotch buckle
- SensorSafe technology
- Handle cannot be left up in the vehicle (must be locked in the rebound position or behind the seat)
- Requires 1.5″ of clearance between vehicle seat and car seat
The SensorSafe technology is a modern marvel. Other manufacturers are producing innovative child restraints, but this technology, which plugs directly into the parent’s vehicle, is unique. No other manufacturer has produced technology to help caregivers remember the child is with them in the vehicle.
Installing the seat with or without the base is simple, but some with smaller vehicles or taller drivers may find that they have to put the handle in rebound position when the car seat is in the vehicle. As the rebound position is required in Canada, the spacing restriction isn’t an issue there for most vehicles. As the seat is fairly compact with the handle in the rebound position, and the handle cannot be left in the carry position in the vehicle, the rebound position makes the most sense.
There is a basic version of the Evenflo Embrace available as well. That version of the Embrace does not offer the premium cover or foot muff or include the SensorSafe technology at this time. The basic Embrace still offers a good fit for preemies and small babies at an affordable price. This Embrace is coincidentally in similar colors to the Advanced Embrace DLX the differences in the cover and options in the photo below. While the Advanced Embrace DLX with SensorSafe is still a fairly budget friendly seat, the Embrace base models come in at an even more budget friendly price range, usually well under $99. For the price, the Embrace is a great option, even for very small babies. Those looking for an easy to use rear facing only seat that won’t break the bank should consider the basic Embrace. For the caregivers who are looking for some premium additions and high-tech features, the Advanced Embrace DLX with SensorSafe may be a better option. The Advanced Embrace DLX is currently a Wal-Mart exclusive.
Evenflo supplied an Advanced Embrace DLX with SensorSafe technology for this review and for the giveaway, but did not supply an Embrace rear facing only seat. All views expressed in this review are my own. Enter using the widget below to win one an Evenflo Advanced Embrace DLX with Sensor Safe of your own!