Infant Car Seat Review: Evenflo EmbracePrice: $79; extra base


Type: Infant car seat, five-point harness.

Limits: 4 to 35 lbs. Infant Car Seat Review: Evenflo Embrace

NHTSA ease of use rating: Four out of five stars.

Pros: Three-position adjustable base, easier to release base and handle. Affordable.

Cons: Two safety recalls. Model is showing its age.

Comments: Here, in a nutshell, is why Evenflo is in last place in the car seat biz: the Evenflo Embrace infant seat was supposed to be a fresh start for Evenflo, after their last major car seat (the PortAbout) was recalled for failing a crash test back in 2005. The Embrace features a new, easier release mechanism for the carrier (this was a gripe for past models). The seat also has a three-position adjustable base and an ergonomic handle that releases with one hand.

Yet, Evenflo had to recall 450,000 Embrace infant seats in 2007 after 679 reports of the handle of the carrier unexpectedly releasing, causing 160 injuries to children. (As a side note, 679 reports? 160 injuries? At what point did Evenflo think it was time to pull the plug?). And then there was a 2014 recall of 200,000+ Embraces for defective buckles. This seat just seems snake bit.

The Evenflo Embrace earned the honor (dishonor?) of placing near the bottom in the most recent Consumer Reports report on infant car seats.  (The Embrace ranked 29th out of 32 seats tested).

The Embrace Select sells at Walmart and features premium LATCH connectors to ease installation.

Reader feedback on this seat has been mixed. Fans like the under $100 price point and overall ease of use (Amazon reviews are 83% four stars and up). But critics point out the flimsy canopy on the low-end LX version is disappointing and the buckle can be hard to open. There also are no lock-offs on the base for seat belt installation.

The Embrace is showing its age—newer Evenflo infant car seat models (LiteMax, SafeMax) make the Embrace look old school. And if you need an affordable car seat, we like the Graco SnugRide or Safety 1st Onboard  35 Air much better.

Given the past safety issues here, we suggest passing on the Embrace. Rating: D+ Infant Car Seat Review: Evenflo Embrace