I have a minor panic attack every time I see a story on the news about a baby dying after being left in a hot or cold car. Really, wrapping my mind around the whole situation is enough to bring me to tears. Why? Because it really could happen to anyone. Many kids who die this way are left in the car as a result of absent-mindedness. A mom breaking routine to drop the baby at day care when dad usually does it. A grandparent watching the baby one afternoon who needed to run a quick errand. A rushed day full of errands and pickups and dropoffs. It really only takes one horrible moment of not being mindful to ruin lives.
So when Walmart asked me to review a new car seat from Evenflo designed to prevent exactly this type of tragedy, I couldn’t wait to try it.
The Evenflo Embrace DLX car seat with Advanced SensorSafe technology, available only at Walmart, is a sturdy option with removable padding and leg cover, designed for babies up to 35 pounds. But the most important feature is that it also comes equipped with a sensor built into the chest buckle that will alert the driver that baby is still in the car.
I installed the seat in my mom’s car to try it with baby Juliza. The base was really simple to install using the car’s seat belt, but it could also be installed for a more permanent setup using the vehicle’s LATCH system. With the base installed, the car seat snapped right in with ease, and could be removed with a simple squeeze of the release bar on the back of the seat.
The seat can accommodate a child up to 35 pounds, so technically, Juliza could still use this seat at 30 pounds. However, she is really tall, so it wouldn’t be a comfortable ride for her, and I’m sure she’d max out the height limit. I had to remove all the infant head and shoulder padding to get her in the seat at almost 2 years old, but this would’ve been a great seat to use when she was an infant.
Still, I strapped her in for a quick ride around the neighborhood to see how the SensorSafe system would work.
The seat comes with a sensor that has to be plugged into the vehicle’s 16-pin OBDII port. In my mom’s car, it was far under the steering wheel on the left side, but you can consult your vehicle’s owner manual to find yours.
The first time you plug it in and start the car, there will be a long beep. That lets you know the sensor is properly installed and communicating with the seat.
Once you drive the car for at least 30 seconds up to at least 5 miles per hour, the sensor activates. The magic happens when you stop and turn off the ignition. Within 2 seconds, the sensor begins beeping to let you know that baby is still strapped into the car seat. And it is a distinctive, musical tone that you cannot miss. Here’s a quick video so you can hear it for yourself:
I honestly love the SensorSafe technology, and it will put so many parents’ minds at ease. I’m hoping Evenflo decides to expand the technology to all their other car seats as a standard feature, including the convertible and toddler seats. Juliza is too big to use this one regularly, but I plan to find a parent with a baby to give this gift of peace of mind.
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