Trying to Find a SAFE but Inexpensive Car Seat - Is the Cosco Brand Any Good?

Updated on September 23, 2009
M.B. asks from Canon, GA
13 answers

I am trying to find a SAFE but inexpensive convertible car seat. Does anyone have or know if the Cosco Scenera Convertible Car Seat (in Katie) is any good? I found it on BabiesRUs for $66 and has it for $45.99. My daughter is going to turn 1 in a 3 weeks and I need a forward facing seat for her. My 3 yr old son is still using his convertible car seat. He had the Evenflo Triumph and it was like $100. It has been a good seat but it has had to be washed many times and the cover has not held up well in my opinion. Finances are tight right now so I am trying to find a good deal, however I am not willing to compromise the safety of my sweet baby girl. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

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answers from Florence on

I've been using the Cosco Scenera for about two years now, I've never had any trouble with it. Easy to switch between vehicles, easy to wash the cover, comfortable for the child. It still fits my tall 3 year old easily. I think I caught it on sale at Kmart for about $35.

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answers from Atlanta on

We have and love our Evenflo Triumph and Evenflo Chase. They were reasonably priced and had great saftey ratings. Below are two websites that I found very helpful in my carseat search. At the second website I listed you can enter your cars make and model and it will list seats with the best safety rating for your particular car.



answers from Atlanta on

The new expert recommendations are to keep your 1 year old little one in a rear facing car seat for as long as possible. So if your daughter has not reached the height and weight limits of her current car seat, then there is no need to spend money on a new car seat now. (Check this link out for more info. )

I just changed my son's car seat to a Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 Car Seat. It is great because it goes from 20 lbs to 100 lbs. It converts from a forward facing seat, to a high back booster with a 5 point harness belt, to a backless booster. So you only have to buy one seat for each child until they can sit in the back with just a seat belt. It retails for $179.99, but you can get it at for $144.93. Most parents who have this car seat for their little ones love it more than the Britax. (Here is the link to check out the reviews. )

As for your 3 year old, please wait to put him in a backless booster for as long as possible. Highback booster seats offer more neck, back and head support; especially in an accident. Just remember when buying a new seat for your little ones that every "step up" in car seats is a step down in safety. If their bodies are not physically ready, an accident can cause more damage. So if your son's current car seat is still functioning ok, you may want to buy a new car seat cover from Evenflo. It may be more cost effective and when ready, you can get a car seat for your little ones later.

I hope this helps and good luck.




answers from Atlanta on

If you want her to be safe leave her rear facing.

Also try Ebay or such sites for deals. We bought our first carseat for $60 off, brand new in box.
If she hasn't reached the weight or height regulations on the seat she is in now leave her.



answers from Charleston on

I agree with what other parents are saying except keep your 3yr old in a harness!!! Do not put a 3yr old in a HBB (highbackbooster). A three yr old is not ready for a HBB. Also keep your soon to be 1yr old RF (rear Facing). The neck bones in your childs body do not fuse together until the ages of 4-6years. If in an accident a child could be killed or paralized because of the force of an accident. My 3yr old is still riding RF and will until she outgrows it by height or by weight. My 5yr 4mo old rides in a harness still and will until she out grows it, which she will then move to a HBB. I hope you are washing the cover right on your carseat, because if you are not, you are washing away the flam retardent on the cover. There was a car that got on fire, thank goodness no kids were in the car. the ceiling was burnt to shreds. The carseats covers where not. As far as safety of carseats, all carseats pass the same test. We dont know which one did better and which one did bad. Any carseat is a good one as long as it is installed right and used right every single time. You need to have less then ONE INCH of MOVEMENT at the BELTPATH using your weaker arm to test. Also in a RF child, the harness needs to be AT or BELOW the SHOULDERS. In a FF child the harness needs to be AT or ABOVE the childs shoulders. IF below the childs shoulders while FF then the child may face spinal injury because the childs body is being pulled down whild the head goes up. check out and If you want to keep your babies as safe as possible, then listen to what we are telling you.



answers from Atlanta on

I have this same seat and have used it for 10 months now. My daughter who is now 18months loves it and is very comfortable in it. It is also easy to switch to different cars and is light-weight. Also, just to give you some assurance on its safety, unfortunately we were in a car accident in April, my car was smashed and I was bruised and hurt. Fortunately, my daughter was safe and not a scratch in sight. Her seat did not even budge. As always you have to buy a new car seat once its been in an accident and I went out and purchased the same one! And Fyi: I got mine at Walmart for $40. Take care!



answers from Atlanta on

There is lots of great information about VERY safe car seats on this website: (Go the the tab "Carseat Info" and "Our recommendations". It looks like one Cosco carseat made it onto her short list of very safe carseats.)

There you can read why it's safest to keep your child rear-facing for as long as possible, and THEN to use a 5-point harness for as long as possible (rather than a booster seat that uses the shoulder strap). The mother who started the website wanted to educate the public about carseat safety and raise money to buy safe carseats for families that can't afford them. Her three year old son was killed in a rollover accident, and she believes he could have survived if he had been in a 5-point harness. (He was properly secured in an age and weight appropriate carseat.)

You may be able to get a free carseat if you qualify as a "family in need". (Aren't we all?) Or you can buy a carseat off their store website ( and get 15% off plus free shipping on a variety of EXTREMELY SAFE carseats. (They have a short list, but they are top of the line for safety. Do NOT believe that person who said that all carseats are equally safe - you're just paying more for drink holders. Does anyone think a convertible sports car is just as safe as a minivan? MANY exceed the minimum safety requirements.)

I've got my 6-year old in a Sunshine Radian XT, which can use the 5-point harness until he's 80 pounds. It also has a steel frame - even the side-impact head wings are reinforced with 3 steel rods, which I haven't seen on any other models. It looks like you could drop this thing from a building and it would be intact. (No armrests or cup holders.) And yes, it was expensive, but I saved that 15% (no one else was discounting it because it's a brand new model), and I knew the money was going to help families in need.

One more tip: You also need to make sure the seat is a good fit with your car. has some user ratings so you can see if your favorite carseat is compatible for your car. One of my cars has a VERY small backseat, so that was a big issue (hassle) for us.



answers from Augusta on

I just wanted to let you know that you do not have to turn your baby to forward facing. In fact it is actually safer to keep her rear facing as long as she meets the weight/height requirements of her current seat.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recently updated their recommendations to rear face for at least 2 years. Many other countries have kids rear face for four years or more. Turning kids at one year and at least 20 pounds is the bare minimum it is safe to turn.

My youngest child is in a Britax Marathon which is a very expensive seat- but I didn't spend money on an infant seat and separate convertible seat and then a booster. Instead she has been in the seat since day one, can continue to rear face to 35 pounds and then can forward face harnessed to 65 pounds. So keep in mind for future use if you buy a more expensive seat now you can avoid paying again to buy a booster and keep your child safer by using a five point harness for longer.

Barring that I think most seats are equally safe within their prescribed weight and height limits, but some just offer a wider range or more "features" like cup holders, head rests, etc. Good luck- finding seats can be so expensive and confusing.



answers from Atlanta on

My son has used the Costco seat for five months now with no problems. It was easy to install and light enough to comfortably move to a different car when needed. He seems comfortable in it and is seventeen months now. The fabric is also easy to clean. We bought ours at Target.
S. I.



answers from Atlanta on

I bought the eddie baur convertible with my 1st son and paid over $100. And I bought the scenera for my 1 yr old, it works just fine and was a heck of a lot cheaper.



answers from Atlanta on

Since the new recommendation is to leave your daughter rearfacing as long as she hasn't outgrown the weight limit of her seat, leave her in the seat she is in now.



answers from Atlanta on

Why do you need a new car seat just for forward facing? She isn't still in the infant carrier is she? If she is you need to really get her out of it and into a convertible car seat now. - backward facing. The others are right, just because she is a year doesn't mean she has to be forward facing. If money is really tight you could switch your 3 year old (if he is big enough) to a high backed booster and use his car seat for her. The covering may be washed out, but at least it is clean. Or bite the bullet and get her a new one. Walmart, Kmart all have a good selection. They are all approved to be safe. Both of my boys used a Graco and were snug and secured until they moved on to a booster, which our fav was a Graco too. The only wreck either was in was in a Big Lots unknown named booster and everything was fine.
It would be great if we could all afford the Britax, but realistically the others may not "look" and sleak and comfortable but they work out great. Take her with you and let her sit in them and see which she likes. If you have a car, you might want to go to Babysrus and ask for help and have them take them out to the car to make sure the one you want fits well. Some don't fit as well as others in vehicles.



answers from Spartanburg on

All car seats sold in the US have to pass inspections and certain requirements, so all of them are up to the same safety standards. When you get a more expensive seat, you're paying for the extras-- like the type of cloth, the cup holders, etc. I know some people will insist that certain seats are safer than others, but they're all basically the same. You should, of course, buy a new one and watch for recalls, but other than that, price is not much of an indicator of quality. And I agree with Courtney that you don't have to turn your child around just because they're three; however, most seats aren't made to be terribly comfortable in the rear-facing position for older children-- once there's no room for their legs, they're better off facing front. Good luck!

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