The best car seat is the one that fits your child, vehicle, budget, and lifestyle and has the features important to you. The safest car seat is the one you can install correctly and use properly on every ride! Let us know in the comment section what questions you have about this review of the Cosco Scenera Next convertible car seat.
Cosco Scenera Next Car Seat Review (USA/Canada)
The Cosco Scenera Next convertible car seat is inexpensive and easy to install. It can rear-face most children to at least two years old and is both narrow and super lightweight. For families looking for a travel-friendly car seat, a backup for the babysitter, or simply the most cost-effective option, this amazing little car seat might be the one!
A convertible car seat that can be used rear-facing and forward-facing
From birth or after you’ve used an infant seat for a few months
Our recommendation: Newborn until the seat is outgrown (average 2-4 years old)
What you need to know before you go.
Rear-Facing Seat Stats
- height limit: 19-40″
- weight limit: 5-40 pounds
- head height rules: at least 1″ below the top of the shell
- Newborn fit: good
Forward-Facing Seat Stats
- height limit: 29-43″
- weight limit: 22-40 pounds
- head height rules: ears must be below the top of the shell
Other Seat Stats
- width of seat: 17”
- weight of seat: 7 pounds
- crash replacement policy: replace after a moderate or severe crash
- expiration: 8 years
- harness: rethread
- lock-off: no
✅ Seat is good for you if:
✅ You need the most bang for your buck.
There are plenty of inexpensive car seat options out there. Unfortunately, many of those seats can feel like more trouble than they are worth: lots of them are difficult to install, hard to adjust, bulky…or all of the above! But the Cosco Scenera Next is an easy to install car seat and straightforward and lasts most kids from birth to preschool — all for $60! We can’t overstate how impressive and important this car seat is: as a user-friendly and financially accessible option, the Cosco Scenera Next is a groundbreaking car seat.
✅ You need to fit 3 people in one row of the vehicle.
The Cosco Scenera Next is 17″ wide. If you need to fit 3 across in your vehicle, this is a good option to try since it’s one of the narrowest car seats out there!
✅ You often travel via Uber/Lyft/taxi.
The Cosco Scenera Next weighs just 7 pounds, so once your child outgrows an infant seat, this is one of the best options to tote around with you. You can easily attach it to a stroller handle with a bungee cord. We have also found that it works well with the Mountain Buggy Nano Stroller in the seat itself.
✅ You frequently fly with your child.
After your child has outgrown the infant seat, this may be a great next step for you if you fly frequently. It’s lightweight at just under 7 pounds, and it’s narrow as well, so it works on any plane. It’s a fan favorite of our Wheels Up private Facebook group members!
🚩 Use Caution If:
🚩Your baby is above the 90th percentile in height or weight.
The Cosco Scenera Next will allow the majority of babies to rear face until they turn two years old — which is the minimum age to turn forward facing. However, it may not last much longer than that second birthday for bigger kids. Due to the weight limit (40 pounds), height limit (40 inches), and head height limit of 1 inch below the shell of the seat, parents of bigger littles will likely need to replace this car seat sooner rather than later.
🚩You plan to use this seat forward-facing too
We recommend maxing out the limits of your rear-facing car seat before switching to forward-facing. After all, rear-facing is the safest way to ride, and you can learn more about why here! Due to this car seat’s height, weight, and harness height limits, when you max it out rear-facing, you have nearly maxed out the forward-facing limits as well. When your child reaches the rear-facing limits, and they are at minimum two years old, and you plan to switch them forward-facing, purchase a forward-facing only combination (harness and high back booster) seat. We can help you find the best in our Forward-Facing and Booster Buying Kit.
️ Stand Out Features:
It’s fairly compact rear-facing.
While not the most compact seat on the market, its shorter shell means it does not take up much more space than many infant seats.
The Cosco Scenera Next weighs only 7lbs. Yes, that’s lighter than many infant car seats! Its small size makes moving this seat from place to place easy.
▶️ YouTube Videos:
⚠️ Quirks to be Aware Of:
⚠️ Use the inside-out trick to install.
The Cosco Scenera Next doesn’t have any fancy features to make installation easier, but that’s okay if you know this installation technique! Whether you’re installing with lower anchors or the vehicle seatbelt, pull the car seat cover up off one of the sides and tighten from inside the belt path. With the inside-out trick, this car seat can be securely installed in no time!
⚠️ It’s usually outgrown forward-facing before it’s outgrown rear-facing.
The top harness height is only 13.5.” Many kids are able to use it longer rear-facing than forward-facing. This is because the harness should be at or below the shoulders when rear-facing but must be at or above when forward-facing.
⚠️ It only has one allowed recline.
There is a line on the side of the seat that must be level with the ground. This means that it is very reclined, even for older children.
✈️ Airplane Use
The Cosco Scenera Next is an FAA-approved car seat. It’s a very lightweight car seat, which makes it very popular travel car seat option. Because it is so lightweight, you can bungee it to your stroller, use a car seat strap and attach it to your carry-on suitcase, or use a travel cart to maneuver through the airport! It is narrow, so you may not even need to put the airplane armrests up in order for it to fit. For help with all things airplane travel and car seats, check out our Wheels Up Course and private Facebook group.
SITS Bottom Line
The Cosco Scenera Next proves that car seat safety doesn’t have to be expensive! This seat is lightweight, narrow, and can be used from birth. It’s a great option for many people as an everyday car seat and one for frequent travelers who want an easier to travel with option.
Other Versions/Similar Seats:
- Cosco Scenera Next DLX* (upgraded fabric option)
- Cosco Scenera Next Deluxe* (has harness covers and inserts)
- Cosco Scenera Next (Canada)*
- Maxi Cosi Romi (US only)* (exact same seat-has harness covers and flame-retardant-free fabric)
*A SITS recommended seat. Recommended seats are in our Buying Kits because they have ranked high on our vehicle, child, ease of use, and features scale.
Compare Car Seats
Looking to compare car seats and narrow down the best car seat for your family? The Convertible Car Seat Buying Kit walks you through our 7Cs of selection, then on to an interactive quiz, and finally, a recommended car seat list is generated just for you! If you are overwhelmed and sick of spending hours researching and reading car seat reviews like this one, the Buying Kit will guide you to Safe in the Seat’s recommended car seats for you in under 30 minutes!
We check every day for our recommended car seats on sale, and we have all the deals here for you.
What About Seats We Don’t Recommend?
Just like anyone, we have preferences! This goes for car seats, too. If we don’t recommend a car seat, it’s not because it’s unsafe for your little one. All car seats are safe if they’re installed and used properly, are not expired or damaged, and when they’re made and sold by a reputable manufacturer and/or retailer. Click here for our full list of car seats that we do not recommend.
A note about crash-tests
What are the Cosco Scenera Next safety ratings?
Well, that’s a great question. We know it passes the strict federally required testing for all car seats sold in the United States. But we don’t know exactly how it performs. That data isn’t released by any official sources in the US — not by car seat manufacturers, government agencies like NHTSA, or anywhere!
A few third-party websites claim to offer objective crash test data that compares car seats. But here at Safe in the Seat, we ignore that data for a few reasons. First of all, third-party car seat crash tests don’t actually give us meaningful data! Car seat manufacturers crash-test their products hundreds, even upwards of a thousand times. They crash test the finished product in every single installation configuration using every applicable-sized crash test dummy, not to mention a whole lot of testing at each stage of the development process too. So limited testing completed by another organization just can’t give the same level of information! One or two crash tests fail to represent the overall average performance of any car seat across its lifespan.
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