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.

It sounds like you are putting him in his carseat with his winter jacket on.... you shouldn't do that. Winter jackets will compress in an accident and cause the harness to be too loose, subjecting your child to injury or ejection from the car seat.

I had the Alpha Omega for my oldest, and he outgrew it in height by age 3.... way before he was 40lbs! We ended up purchasing a britax Marathon for him so he could remain harenssed, as its not safe for a 3yr old to be in a belted booster.

The Graco Nautilus would be a great choice for your son. It will harness to 65lbs and then becomes a high back booster, and eventually a no back booster. Most children can use the harness in this seat to at least age 6! My almost 7yr old stil fits in it!

No jackets in the car seat.... remove it. You can use a blanket or him or you can turn his jacket around backwards. Harness should be at or above his shoulders for forward facing, and if his shoulders are over the top harness slot, then he's outgrown it.

Have you thought of contacting Cosco? Maybe they can send a replacement part for you. We have the Evenflo Triumph, but we got it because our son is bigger. But it would also last you a long time. It goes to 50lbs harnessed and the strap between the legs has two positions. We got ours from www.babyage.com. It was like $117. I really like it. Good luck!

I think that if they are making the stap longer now I would contact them and see if you can get a replacement. I am sure it would cost less than a new car seat plus you keep the safety :0)

No you are not over-reacting. If he's not comfortable then no one will be happy and it sounds like you are potentially making the strapps to loose to help him be comfortable. One thought sometimes my 2yr DS will tell me it's "too tight" and I just say no it's just right. He's kinda stopped doing that now, but for a while it was every time. I agree call the company, voice your complaints try to get them to send you the part or a new seat at cost. They can do that at their discretion. Just make a fuss and tell them you are very unhappy that the product didn't last you as long as it should have. also about coats. At 18mths old I specifically asked my Dr if he still needed to have his coat off (how many 2 and 3 year olds do you see w/o their coats on in the car?) She said no, that i could leave it on. I do believe since he's bigger now and filling out the seat better then a little baby that easily compresses that if the straps are adjusted properly (tight and clip and breast bone) that he's very safe. And I'm a stickler for car seat safety (I did buy the Marathons). Good luck.

I notice that you have a baby on the way. I would go ahead and get the new carseat. She can use it after your son outgrows it. That way, the expense doesn't seem like you're just splurging!

I happen to like the Graco Nautilus. 5 point harness to 65 pounds, highback booster, then low back booster to 100 ponds. ToysR'Us has them also, Target, or Walmart between $148-$179. Good for 6 years. My daughter is 15 months and seems comfortable enough.

Hi K.
If you think the problem is the short strap and you know they have fixed this. I would call the company or go to there website and see if you can get a longer strap. it will save you a ton of money and hopefully fix your problem good Luck T.

I currently own 8 carseats for my two kids. Granted we have 3 cars and hate moving carseats but I believe there are times and places for each carseat. My oldest is in a booster seat but my 14 month old is 23 lbs so is in convertable seats still. I have the Alpha Omega for long car rides but this is too tight with a big jacket. I have a great carseat that converts to a booster seat that I love and would highly recommend. It is a safety first and my son is very comfortable in it. The nice thing is it would also work for a booster when he grows.

My point is that if it makes your life easier, buy a new one.

Here is the carseat that I think is awesome, and it is on sale!

Is it possible to order a new longer buckle strap to replace the short one?


I have an Alpha Omega, which is a similar model. Ours is a little older, so yes, we have the short seat strap and I hate it! I have the opposite problem--my son is big for his age (90th percentile for height/weight at 14 months) so there is no way this carseat is going to be his last.

I don't have any recommendations for you, but I'm going to keep an eye on your posting to see what others have to say, as I am going to be in the market for a new carseat soon.

Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.