18 answers

New Carseat??

We have the Cosco Alpha Elite car seat for my son and we have used it since he was 1 years old. He is almost 3, but a tiny tiny 3 year old. Not even on the weight/height charts. So he doesn't weigh enough to change to a booster. Recently, he cries and moves his butt around trying to get comfortable in the carseat. We have to keep adjusting the straps until he is comfortable, otherwise he will be fidgety and whiny during our drive. Sometimes I'm nervous that we don't get the straps tight enough. I personally would like to try a new car seat, but my husband is hesitant. We did go to Babies R Us and look at the car seats. I had noticed when we bought ours that the strap that goes between their legs is very short, but went with it anyway since Consumer Reports rated it the exact same as one of the Britax models and they were tied for the best. Since Britax is so much more expensive, I decided to go with the cheaper version that got the same ratings. Now I'm thinking I should have spent the extra $100 for the Britax. I was informed by an employee of Babies R us that they have now made the strap between the legs longer because people complained about it.

So, am I completely overreacting??? Should we just keep the car seat we have and avoid spending another $200?

I've been known to overreact and over-spend a time or two! HA!

Thanks for any advice.

Also - has anyone else had this problem with the same car seat?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

I did call the company and they offered a longer crotch strap for $10. We decided to no-go the offer and buy the Graco Nautilus after the many raves about it. It just seems bigger and more comfortable for a 3 year old. It will last him throughout his car seat/booster days. We will use his current car seat for his sister (who will be born in May) after her infant seat. I really appreciate all the responses. For those concerned with safety issues, we did have his car seat professionally installed, it wasn't a matter of installation and safety, but comfort. I realize car seats are for safety, but having a comfortable toddler in the car makes for a better drive to day care in the mornings. :)

Featured Answers

We have the Cosco Alpha Elite, and had the same problem with the strap. I called the company, and they sent us a longer middle bucklet at no charge (even though we had had the seat for two years at that time). I'd try that...

If you think the strap is the problem but the company has made it longer you should be able to call them and get a replacement for little or no cost... I would try that first.

More Answers

We just purchased a new Radian car seat for my son and I absolutely love it! With our kids we've used a Britax Roundabout, Britax Marathon, and a Maxi Cosi Priori. I'd definately purchase the Radian and Maxi Cosi Priori again but not a Britax. The Sunshine Kids Radian60 is heavy but folds flat if you need to move it. It has built in holders for the latches so they don't flop around if you aren't using them. The best part is it's not too bulky - in addition to having an awesome safety rating you can fit three across the back seat of a car. My son seems very comfortable in the seat. The clerk said they have become very popular and many people are choosing them over Britax and Alpha.

I had the same problem with a different cosco seat. My son was outgrowing it but wasn't ready or big enough for a booster (and I am hesitant about putting him in one anyway). I bought the graco nautilus and cannot say enough good things about it! It will work for him until he is out of any sort of seat. Its a forward facing carseat that allows you to harness longer than most other seats (except one or two of the britax seats). Then it works as a high back booster, then it works as a backless booster. It is an amazing seat and my son LOVES it. He is so comfortable. I had never been willing to spend more than $50 on a carseat before that, but this seat was so worth it. I think he will use it until he is 6 and then I will give it to his little brother who will be 3 by then (and who will probably be out growing his carseat) and I will get the older one a regular booster. I don't think I would use the nautilus as a booster if I can buy an almost identical booster for $15 and let the younger one use the nautilus for the harnessing feature.

Loking at your post again, I would suggest first calling cosco and asking if there is any extenders. It seems like i remember hearing about something.

I suggest that you have a professional car seat installer look over your car seat. There is a FREE Car Seat Safety Check Event Scheduled for 3/21/2009 from 09: 00AM to 12:30 PM ( Central Time)
Bergan Mercy Hospital
7500 Mercy Road
Omaha NE, 68124 ** (Enter from 75th street next to the Emergency Entrance)

You can also make an appointment with a car seat center: See the information at: http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/cps/cpsfitting/FindFitting.cfm

If you have any questions or need additional information, feel free to contact me.

Heartland Baby Safe
Baby Proofing Solutions

Dear K.,

I am a SAHM of two (9 year old boy and 6 year old girl), so we have been through our share of car seats! In my humble opinion, I would bite the bullet and get the Britax. We did the same thing and tried to save money by going the cheaper route. I think the car seats are just as safe, but not as comfortable for the kids. My son used to squirm and cry every time we put him in the Cosco one, but when I finally bought the Britax, he never complained again. I think the padding is more comfortable for them as well as having the better straps. You could use the Britax again for your baby girl after she's out of the infant seat, so it wouldn't be a terrible investment if you are worried about your son not using it for very long. You'll have to make the decision whether spending more money on car seats is the right answer, but I know you would be happy with the Britax. I honestly thought that was a bunch of bologne for yuppies until I tried one! ;-) Maybe you could try contacting Cosco and they'd help you out if they know there was a defect and they re-designed the straps.

Good luck!

If you think the strap is the problem but the company has made it longer you should be able to call them and get a replacement for little or no cost... I would try that first.

Hi Kerri,

My husband and I bought the Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 (BRU $170) for our now 18 month old. It is a forward facing carseat that later converts to a booster (back on or off). Our daughter is in the 5th %tile, so it was hard for us to find something that is comfortable for her now, but will be her last car seat. The seat is very comfortable for her, and we've been really happy with it. The crotch strap has two settings, so it accommodates growth that way. It might be one to try? Good luck! I know that car seat shopping can be frustrating!


We have the Cosco Alpha Elite, and had the same problem with the strap. I called the company, and they sent us a longer middle bucklet at no charge (even though we had had the seat for two years at that time). I'd try that...

Hi K., I am a car seat technician and your seat should be fine for you son, but if you wanted to look at other car seats I would recommend stopping by the Kohl's Safety Center which is located at the American Family UW Children's Hospital. Employees there are also car seat technicians, plus they sell their seats at cost.

We find that 90% of the car seats are not installed properly, which is the most important issue.

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