I don't know many parents who get excited about long car trips with their kids, but they're a necessary evil in the world of parenthood. Two things that do make the experience easier are some good snacks and comfortable seating for said kids. With one tot in a high-back booster and another just two pounds and half an inch from making the switch from car seat to booster, I've had my eye on a new seat for my little one. While I love my older son's seat, having used it for three years, I could definitely recommend a few improvements, including how difficult it is to install with LATCH, where the headrest is set, and the lack of seat padding (which my son loves to complain about on the four-hour trip to Grandma's house). So I jumped at the chance to give Evenflo's new SecureKid DLX All-in-One Booster Car Seat  ($160, available for preorder) a test run. Part of Evenflo's new line of Platinum Protection Series of seats with temperature-regulating fabric and SureLATCH installation technology, the All-in-One booster is designed to be used as a harnessed booster for kids weighing 22-65 pounds and as a belt-positioning booster for kids weighing 40-110 pounds.
With a number of innovative booster seats coming to market this year — the Maxi-Cosi RodiFix , Safety 1st Store N Go With Back Booster Car Seat , and Cosco's Light n' Comfy Elite Booster, to name a few — my 4-year-old and I put the SecureKid DLX All-in-One Booster Car Seat to the test as we drove for a getaway weekend. Here's what we thought.
Who is this product designed for? The SecureKid DLX All-in-One is designed for children weighing between 22 and 110 pounds. It can be used as a five-point harness booster for kids between 22 and 65 pounds and as a seat-belt-positioning booster for kids from 40-110 pounds.
What sets it apart? Aside from being one of the lightest-weight full-back boosters I've ever tried to move in and out of a car, the SecureKid DLX All-in-One has several other factors going for it.
Installation was a breeze using the seat's SureLATCH Connectors. With a 38-pound child, we are still in the LATCH and harness stage, and the SureLATCH Connectors' auto tightening feature took much of the guesswork out of the process. We simply hooked in the two connectors, pushed down, and felt as the seat pulled securely into place.
The seat's adjustable headrest, which the company calls e3 Side Impact, is designed to protect kids in the event of a side impact crash, but it also does a wonderful job of keep little heads comfortable during long car rides. And the dual cup holders are not only easily accessible, but they are also designed with a piece of elastic in them to keep narrower cups and bottles secure, which is something this mom (who's had to do that whole backward arm twist from the front to the back seat to pick up fallen bottles one time too many) certainly appreciates.
Evenflo has also been busy touting the seat's NASA-developed fabric technology (called OUTLAST Performance Fabric) that adjusts to your child's body temperature so kids are more comfortable during their ride.
But perhaps the best feature on the seat are the buckle pockets located approximately at shoulder height on both sides of the seat. Designed to keep the metal portion of the seat buckles securely tucked away while no one is in the seat, what they really do is make getting your child into the seat a heck of a lot easier. When the buckles are in the pockets, they get in their seats faster, and there's no fumbling for the buckles once they are seated — not to mention no kids screaming after being seared by the hot metal on a scorching-hot Summer day (yes, I've inadvertently done it to my child, and no, it's not something I EVER want to repeat).
What could be better? Certainly not as narrow as a standard booster, the SecureKid DLX All-in-One is pretty wide at 27.7 by 19.7 by 19.5 inches, meaning if you are trying to fit three kids across a standard car's rear seat, you're going to have a tough time doing so. Also, while the extended headrest gives kids added protection during a side impact collision, it also reduces a child's ability to see his surroundings. On several occasions, my son complained that he couldn't see out the window — or for that matter, his brother in the next seat over — and he could only look forward. And, while most convertible car seats have a "base" on them that lifts kids up, this seat functions more like a booster on the bottom, so the seat is flush with the car's seat, so if you have a smaller child in the seat, it is actually difficult to see him in your rear-view mirror.
Finally, I found the chest clip on the five-point harness really difficult to undo — which is great in preventing kids from undoing it themselves, but really annoying to a parent who is trying to get her kid out of the car in a hurry. While I thought it was just me, several people tried it for me and had similar issues undoing it.
Would I buy it? If you are purchasing this seat as your convertible car seat through booster, the SecureKid DLX All-in-One is an excellent buy. It will serve you for several years, keep your child safe and extremely comfortable, and maximize your cost per ride.