In the world of traveling car seats, Cosco has a special place. It has carved out its name for its simple, practical, and affordable product range. For a family that travels frequently, this is a blessing in disguise. It is also one of the most affordably priced products, almost 1/5th to 1/10th of the prices of other products while providing almost the same level of comfort and safety. Here we discuss the Cosco Scenera NEXT series of Convertible Car Seats for children.
Cosco Scenera Next Series
A mere look at this product and you will be surprised by how simple and neat design it has. Yet it’s one of the most functional products. A lightweight, simple design is what all families look for first when considering car seats. The Cosco product design team has ticked off a lot of right boxes even before we can begin to review it properly. If any product is impressive on the first look, they have scored a victory already. Let’s get into the details.
The Cosco Scenera NEXT series exhibits a design that is not fancy. It’s extremely simple and lightweight at just 6.5 lbs. on the scale. You will be surprised when you lift it and would perceive that it might not be safe enough. It leaves me wondering where all the weight has gone!
Compared to other seats on the market which are easily upwards of 12-14 lbs. on the scale, this is a featherweight category. But you do not have to worry as no safety standards are compromised. This car seat has receives a safety rating of 3 out of 5 stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The rating means the safety features are rated at average but certainly not bad.
Not just car, this is extremely easy to carry on flights as well making this our top favorite. In case parents fly frequently, this is a great choice of investment. The seat must be equally comfortable for the baby as well as the parents who carry it. It isn’t easy handling a stroller, bags, and a car seat when flying. This seat is FAA certified and approved. So you can carry it on the flight and due to its small form factor, it fits very nicely on airplane seats.
Features of Cosco Scenera Next
Safety is the prime concern for any parents and Cosco has not cut corners anywhere. The seat is rigid, firm, and holds strongly against any crash impact thereby safeguarding the occupants against any harm. This is provided if it is installed correctly as described in the manual in the first place. It meets all the federal safety standards and has basic side impact protection. So it does its job well.
Other Features of Cosco
It may seem that the padding is too simple and a little less compared to other car seats, there is no side impact protection mechanism and other features. And expectedly so because it’s priced in a very budget range. So you can expect some trade-offs at this budget range. It may be a bit uncomfortable for prolonged usage due to skimpy padding. Also, kids can outgrow this seat faster than other ones that have adjustable headrests. 43 inches is the maximum height for forward-facing seat modes. So this can be your investment for the second car or maybe your preference for a budget seat. It certainly delivers more for what you are paying.
The rear-facing weight range is from 5-40 lbs. with a height range of 19-40 inches. Whereas the front-facing weight range is 22-40 lbs. with a height range of 29-43 inches. There are 3 crotch positions available at 2, 3, and 4.5 inches from the back of the seat. There are a wide variety of color options to choose from. A detachable cup holder is provided which can be attached to either end of the seat as per your need. Just make sure you don’t lose sight of the cup holder as it’s very easy to lose it. As it’s a bare-bones design, the harness covers are optional and can be purchased separately. You will need to rethread the harness as the infant grows in size. A lot of kids will grow to 40 lbs. by the time they are 5 years.
Let’s agree, installation and uninstallation of any car seat will not be easy the first time around. As you are managing a large seat and in an uncomfortable to move space all the while trying to squeeze it in and fit correctly. But this one is very easy to install and fits snugly. You can complete the entire process in just 2-3 minutes.
The car seat has lower anchor connectors on the bottom of the seat. You need to hook the connectors with the lower anchors in the car. Tighten the anchor strap on the side with the adjuster and you are done. Repeat the same process on the other side. Fix the vehicle seat belt and ensure there is no slack. Check if the seat moves more than one inch in any direction. If it does, remove more slack. That’s it. As simple as that. In case you are confused, check the detailed manual that comes with the product.
On this seat, there is a 5 point safety harness, side-impact protection latch connection with a weight limit from 5 to 40 lbs. It has 4 height positions with 3 crotch slots. For toddlers up to the age of 1 year, it’s recommended to use this seat in the rear-facing direction. But you can use it in the rear-facing mode for as long as 2 years. For children beyond that age, you can use them in the forward-facing position. Serena NEXT is the newer version of the original older version that had a 35 lbs weight limit. The NEXT series can support 40 lbs and has a narrower width at just 17 inches. At least, when it comes to width in a car, every inch matters.
Size and Comfort of Cosco Scenera Next
This is a compact seat made to ensure it takes up just enough space as there is for a single person on any seat. And not anymore. With a width of just 17 inches, it’s certainly on the slimmer side. The narrow width makes it perfect for any size of family car seat. In fact, you can very easily fit 3 in a row on the back seat. The covers are easily removable.
Cleaning and Maintenance
With kids, it’s not too long before the seat is dirty. Also, hygiene factors play important role in protecting a kid’s environment. You can easily take off the car seat cover and cycle it in a wash with cold water. It’s quite a hassle-free process to remove the cover, wash it, dry it, and put it back on. So even if you have to do it every now and then, it’s not much of a task.
A Budget Car Seat
The Cosco Serena NEXT is our top pick and choice when it comes to value for money. This is a budget car seat without any of the frills or fancies. So essentially you get what you pay for. At its price, the Cosco Serena NEXT is possible the cheapest convertible car seat that you can find anywhere in the market nowadays. While it works and can be considered safe, it’s not the most comfortable of seats for infants. It scores in ease of use, simplicity, affordability, and level of protection is simply amazing for the price that you are paying.