Evenflo has introduced some fantastic car seats including the Transitions combination car seat and the Advanced Embrace DLX with SensorSafe rear facing only car seat and now, the Babies R Us exclusive Platinum LiteMax 35 rear facing only car seat. The LiteMax is lightweight and offers a superb fit for even small babies. It features creature comforts that include Outlast fabrics, a padded insert, and padded harness/buckle covers.
CSFTL Quick Stats
- Weight range: 4-35 pounds
- Height range: 17-32 inches tall
- Shell height: 20 inches
- Lowest harness position: 5 inches
- Weight (carrier only): 8.8 pounds
- Expiration: 7 years from manufacture date
- Handle position: Position 1 0r 3 required in the vehicle (in US; position 1 only in Canada)
- Temperature regulating Outlast fabric
- Canopy offering a zip-out panel for extended coverage
- Padded insert
- Harness and buckle pads
- Push-in SureSAFE lower anchor connectors with included optional guides
- Vehicle belt lockoff
- Front adjusting harness
- Buckle pockets for stowing the crotch buckle tongues
The Evenflo LiteMax 35’s base has a seat belt lockoff and push-on SureSAFE lower anchor connectors. The belt guides on the carrier itself make installing without the base fairly easy. The handle can be in setting one (carrying) or three (behind the child’s head) for travel in the US, and in setting one only for travel in Canada. Evenflo requires at least 1.5 inches of space between the carrier and the vehicle seat in front of it if it’s installed behind a front seat.
Installation With the Base: Seat Belt
The Evenflo Platinum LiteMax 35 has an interesting recline adjustment mechanism; twist this knob to make the engage the “foot” on the base.
There are several recline settings on the base, and I did not have an issue achieving the proper recline for any of our models. Sometimes, the knob would stop turning when the foot was between positions — verify that the recline foot is locked in place before starting an installation.
The base’s recline indicator shows two allowed ranges: one for children weighing 4-20 pounds, and the other for children weighing between 20-35 pounds. Our toddler model is smaller for her age and lighter for her size, and still fits in the Platinum LiteMax 35’s carrier by height. Babies who weigh over 20 pounds would likely still fit in the seat by height. I was able to easily install the base in my vehicle in the appropriate range for a baby under 20 pounds but had to work a little harder to get it installed in the more upright range for a heavier baby. The sticker next to the level indicator is bright and easy to read.
The Platinum LiteMax 35 version is equipped with a one step vehicle belt lockoff. This lockoff made installation a cinch. The manual specifies that both lap only belts and lap/shoulder belts are to be routed inside the lockoff. The vehicle in this demonstration has a lap and shoulder belt.
Open the lockoff by pressing down on it while pushing the tab on the side. Next, route the vehicle belt through the belt path.
Finally, close the lockoff, making sure that the tab latches securely. Check that there is no more than 1″ of movement side to side or front to back at the belt path. If you’re not sure how your belts lock, check out our article, Lock It Up!
Installation With the Base: Lower Anchors
Installing the LiteMax 35’s base with the SureSAFE lower anchors could not have been easier. Open the lockoff, as for an installation with the vehicle belt. Attach each lower anchor connector to the vehicle’s lower anchor, and tighten the belt.
Route any unused belt so it sits inside the lockoff, and then close the lockoff. To remove the seat, simply pull on the red tabs.
The SureSAFE lower anchor connectors are attached to the base under the vehicle belt lockoff, but they don’t interfere with the lockoff in any way when they are not in use. When not in use, they secure to the bottom of the base itself.
Installation Without the Base
Installing without the base in this Pontiac sedan was straightforward. The belts in this vehicle lock at the latch plate, so all I had to do was thread the belt through the belt path, buckle the belt, then pull the lap portion of the belt tight so the carrier didn’t move more than 1″ at the belt path. The LiteMax 35’s shell is deep enough so that the belt didn’t touch baby’s legs when the carrier was installed without the base.
Here are the belt guides for installing the car seat without the base. Many parents find this to be an easy way to use their car seat in different vehicles or for airplane travel. Learn more about the logistics of traveling safely with your littles, in our article. Evenflo provides instructions for installing LiteMax 35 on an airplane on pages 34 and 35 of the manual.
In this vehicle and seating position, there was barely enough space between the vehicle seat and the handle of the car seat; Evenflo requires at least 1.5″ of space between the vehicle seat and the car seat when installed directly behind a front vehicle seat. This restriction doesn’t apply to the center seating position. The Evenflo LiteMax 35 may be too large front to back for some smaller or compact sedans because the handle has to be in position 3, which is behind the shell of the seat.
The driver’s side of the same vehicle had room for the handle to be in the correct position with enough space between the handle and the vehicle seat, but the shape of the vehicle seat made a rolled towel necessary to achieve the proper recline angle. Only the lap portion of the vehicle belt goes in the belt guides on the seat; the shoulder portion of the belt lies flat on the vehicle seat. *Note: Evenflo changed the allowed handle positions for travel. In addition to position 3 (as shown), position 1 (carry) is also allowed in the vehicle. This change is retroactive.
Using the Car Seat
These photos show the underside view of the hip and crotch harness adjustment options. This is currently set for a “small sized baby.” The car seat and insert have multiple crotch, hip, and shoulder harness adjustment options, which help to provide the best fit possible for babies of all sizes.
The body and head insert is very supportive — perfect for preemies and newborns. Bigger babies and young toddlers probably do not need the insert.
The manual includes a helpful chart, detailed instructions, and many graphics explaining the guidelines for when and how to change the harness routing. Having many harness adjustment options is great for growing babies but could be confusing for parents, so having clear instructions in the manual is fantastic.
The included harness pads are very plush without being bulky or cumbersome. I think our toddler model appreciated having a buckle pad as well.
Fit to Child
The Huggable Images dolls are designed to display proper car seat usage, learn more about these indefensible training dolls.
Our preemie Huggable Images doll weighs 4 pounds and is 17 inches tall.
She’s using the “small baby” setting. Without the harness pads, the chest clip fit her better. The seat provides her a superb fit for the tiniest of passengers. The padded insert provides support for her sides.
Our Huggable Images newborn doll weighs 7 pounds and is 17 inches tall. We acheived the best fit for her with the “medium sized baby” setting on the harness, but kept the inner crotch position. I added the harness pads and left the insert in so that she could have support on the sides. She seemed very snug and had a great fit. I was impressed that an average newborn would already be using a “medium” setting – the Platinum LiteMax 35’s size range works well for both tiny and large babies.
This model is 17 months old, weighs 17.75 pounds, and is 29.75 inches tall. She still fits into the “medium sized baby” category by weight according to the manual, Maeve borders on the “large sized baby” position. She’s lighter and shorter than an average sized child her age. Babies of an average weight for their height, and size for their age, would need the “large sized baby” setting. She had room to grow by height, with another harness setting above the one she was using and a few inches of shell over her head. I removed the insert since she was feeling a little squished with it in the seat. The Evenflo Platinum LiteMax 35 is really a plush and padded feeling seat, but still offers enough interior space for toddlers as big as Maeve, which we both appreciated.
Outlast padding, Evenflo’s signature temperature-regulating fabric is featured on the Platinum LiteMax 35. This is feature could be very helpful for families with hot natured littles or living in hot climates.
SureSAFE lower anchor connectors with easy-pull tab for removal. Simple design, but very easy to use. Having the guides is a nice premium touch.
Full coverage canopy with extra panel; great for blocking out the sun so baby can sleep peacefully on car rides.
Lower anchor storage spots on the bottom of the base; easy to access and utilize. A handy feature, for sure.
Comfort padding on the harness and crotch buckle.
Lower anchor guides are included with the seat but not required for use. These guides can be very handy for vehicles with hard to find lower anchors.
Velcro on the back of the seat and inside of the canopy helps to keep the canopy in place. It seems more substantial and sturdy than what I’ve seen on other seats.
Important Information: Where to Find
Manual storage: The LiteMax 35 has a storage spot on the bottom of the car seat.
FAA Approval: The FAA approval notice is in red on the sticker on the left side of the carrier, near the handle. Like many other rear facing only seat bases, the base is not FAA approved but the car seat itself is.
Expiration: A sticker with the date of manufacture and other manufacturer information is found on the back of the car seat, on the left side
I loved so many things about the Evenflo Platinum LiteMax 35: the easy to use, convenient seat belt lockoff, the soft, not-too-bulky padding on the harness and buckle, and it fits both very small and larger children quite well.
The recline level indicator is really easy to read, but some caregivers may have an issue getting the correct recline for babies over 20 pounds. Since most babies outgrow their rear facing only car seats by height before weight, this may not be an issue for some families.
The recline adjustment knob on the base is a little different than many other rear facing only car seats, so caregivers who are used to other brands may have a small learning curve with this feature.
The harness size adjustment options are similar to ones we’ve seen on the GB Asana. This type of adjustment offers a good harness fit for children ranging in size from tiny preemies all the way to smaller toddlers wide range of children but they’re different than most other rear facing only seats on the market. Using these adjustments will require close attention to the manual. This is true of any child restraint, but could be especially critical for this one.
The handle requirement in the US for the handle to be in position three, combined with the required 1.5″ between it and a front seat when installed behind a front seat, may be an issue in some smaller than average cars.
Parents and caregivers will appreciate the many premium options the Platinum LiteMax 35. From the extended canopy and soft harness pads to the handy buckle pockets, with the Outlast fabric and supportive insert, there are nice little perks from top to bottom. The base is one of the easiest I’ve used, making it clear that the LiteMax 35 a well-designed seat that will fit a wide range of Littles.