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Cosco Scenera Convertible Car Seat Review

Basic, Budget Convertible Car Seat

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating

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Cosco Scenera Convertible Car Seat Review

The Cosco Scenera convertible car seat has plenty of space for your young baby and toddler. This simple car seat is inexpensive and is great as a spare car seat, or for airline travel since it's lightweight.

Photo courtesy of Pricegrabber.com.
The Cosco Scenera is a basic convertible car seat in the budget price range. It's the least expensive convertible car seat you'll find in most stores. Besides the price, though, the simplicity is a big part of the beauty of the Cosco Scenera car seat. There's not a lot to mess up with this car seat! Installation is relatively easy in most vehicles, and the reasonable rear-facing weight limit is fantastic for a low-priced car seat. As with any car seat, though, the Cosco Scenera is not perfect. Read on for my full review of the Cosco Scenera convertible car seat.

Cosco Scenera Convertible Car Seat Features

  • Convertible car seat faces rear and front.
  • Rear-facing weight limit is 35 lbs.
  • Forward-facing weight limit is 40 lbs.
  • 4 harness height slots ( approx. 7", 10", 12", 15").
  • 3 buckle positions.
  • Available in basic fabrics for about $50. Premium fabrics and padding available for $20-$30 more.

What I Like About the Cosco Scenera Convertible Car Seat

The Cosco Scenera convertible car seat is simple and inexpensive. It does what it's supposed to do, and it does so for only about $50, which is an excellent price for a convertible car seat. You won't find any EPS foam or additional side impact protection on the Cosco Scenera, nor are there any other bells and whistles. However, the omission of the extras is what allows the Cosco Scenera car seat to retain its current title as the lowest-priced convertible car seat available. It's also one of the lightest convertible car seats, so it's a good choice for travel.

The Scenera's simplicity is great if you need to move the car seat around a lot. Switching from rear-facing recline to forward-facing involves a quick flip of the foot.

The harness strap changes are very simple, too. Just slip the straps off the metal yoke on the back, feed them through the harness slots, and reattach to the yoke. The belt paths are wide and easy to get seat belts through, even when there's a large latchplate involved.

The LATCh belt is a fairly standard one, but it is attached to the car seat so it won't get lost, and it also moves through the belt guides easily. The top tether has a tilt-lock mechanism, too, that is easy to use. I like that Cosco put a little loop at the top of the foot so you can clip off the top tether when you're not using it, to keep it from swinging around and hitting baby.

The rear-facing capacity of the Cosco Scenera car seat is enough to keep most babies rear-facing to at least the minimum recommendations. The lowest harness slot should fit most newborns well, too.

What I Don't Like About the Cosco Scenera Convertible Car Seat

While the installations are very easy in most vehicles, I've found that the Cosco Scenera often requires the use of a pool noodle or tightly rolled towel in the rear-facing position in order to stay reclined at the proper angle. This happens with some other car seat and vehicle seat configurations. It just seems to happen more often with the Scenera. If you're moving the car seat around or traveling with it, keeping that pool noodle with the seat is inconvenient.

The shell height and harness height mean that most toddlers will outgrow the Cosco Scenera before they're ready to move on to a booster seat, so you may have to purchase a second harnessed car seat or a combination car seat to fill the gap.

The harness straps will twist. You will need to smooth them every time you use the car seat to keep them from becoming twisted ropes that don't function well.

There is no EPS foam or other added impact protection in this car seat. The cover sits directly over the plastic shell.

I seem to find more sharp or rough edges on the plastic near the belt paths on the Cosco Scenera than on any other car seat. Watch your hands when you're threading belts through, so you don't end up with scrapes.

Should You Buy a Cosco Scenera Convertible Car Seat?

If you're in need of a convertible car seat and you have a very tight budget, the Cosco Scenera is definitely the one to buy. Compared to others in its price range, the Scenera comes out on top because of the rear-facing weight limit, the infant-appropriate lower harness slot height, and the ease of installation and adjustment. You can easily spend more on some car seats and not get any additional useful features.

The Cosco Scenera is also a good choice if you need a spare seat to switch around between cars, or if you want a lightweight travel car seat that you'll be carrying through airports.

If your baby is on the higher end of the height and weight growth charts, you should consider budgeting for a taller car seat with higher weight limits. However, the Cosco Scenera car seat will hold most kids comfortably and safely for a few years, at least. The cheaper Scenera may give you time to save for a larger car seat or combination car seat to use down the line.

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