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Scenera NEXT Lime Punch GreenWhat’s not to love about the Scenera NEXT? The cute little carseat with over a dozen covers from which to choose that’s lighter than some rear-facing only infant seats, has a mandatory rear-facing to age 2 limit, and is one of the most inexpensive carseats on the market as well at about $45. It’s almost too good to be true, but that’s what Cosco set out to make and they accomplished it and more.  It’s also our budget convertible carseat entry for our Recommended Carseats list.

Weight and Height Limits:

  • Rear-facing: 5-40 lbs. AND top of child’s head is even with, or below, top of seat shell
  • Forward-facing: 22-40 lbs. AND child must be at least 2 years old

Scenera NEXT Overview:

  • 5 harness slot positions
  • 3 crotch strap/buckle positions
  • One of the narrowest carseats on the market
  • FAA approved for use on aircraft
  • 8 yr lifespan before seat expires
  • Made in the USA

Scenera NEXT Measurements

Harness slot heights: 5.5”, 7.5”, 9.5”, 11.5”, 13.5”
External widest point: 17 ¼ ”
Shell height: 24”
Crotch strap depth: 2.5”, 4”, 5.5”
Seat depth: 11”
Seat weight: 7 lbs.

Installation

Installation is a dream. The NEXT is designed to install very easily because it’s a seat that will be commonly popped in and out of vehicles. Use either the lower LATCH connectors or the seat belt—it doesn’t matter since they’re both easy. Just don’t use them at the same time! You’ll notice on the bottom of the rails of the seat there are round rubber plugs. These little additions do miraculous grippy things to the installation and make it so the NEXT doesn’t slide when installed.

Scenera NEXT forward-facing Scenera NEXT grippy things

For a newborn or young baby, make sure the NEXT is reclined to the proper angle as designated on the line on the side of the carseat between the rear-facing and forward-facing belt paths. When your child is older, he can be more upright and the manual even says that.

Scenera NEXT rear-facing

Forward-facing LATCH weight limit: 40 lbs., which is the maximum weight limit of the harness

Center LATCH installations with Non-Standard Spacing:

Cosco allows LATCH installation in the center seating position if the vehicle manufacturer allows it and the LATCH anchor bars are spaced at least 11” apart.

Inflatable Seat Belts

Cosco has determined that the Scenera NEXT cannot be installed with inflatable seat belts found in some Ford, Lincoln, and Mercedes vehicles, and in some airplane seat belts.

Fit to Child

The Scenera NEXT is designed to fit children from 5-40 lbs. and the fit on the lower end is fantastic. When it was originally released, it shipped with a short crotch strap, which was perfect for newborns, but for older kids, it really was too short. If you have an older model, you can easily get a free, longer crotch strap from Cosco. Just give them a call or email them to request it. Since August, 2015, the Scenera NEXT automatically ships with the new longer crotch strap so you don’t have to do anything but enjoy your cute seat. My new longer crotch strap is in the mail to me right now and as soon as I get it, I’ll update the review with comparison pics.

One thing I’d like to clarify is the height limit. My Scenera NEXT came with an instruction manual that specified use until the child reaches 40 lbs. or until the top of the child’s head reaches the top of the carseat. This is Dorel’s policy for their rear-facing convertibles. The Dorel infant seats require at least 1″ of shell above the child’s head but their convertible seats are outgrown by height when the top of the head is even with the top of the shell.

Sam in Scenera NEXT

Sam is 7 months old and 14 lbs.

The designers of the NEXT designed the carseat to really be a rear-facing seat that can be used forward-facing sometimes. It’s an interesting concept for a convertible carseat. Many kids who fit rear-facing in it won’t fit forward-facing because once it’s turned forward, it sits more upright making the child fit taller in the seat.

SceneraNEXTEmmaRF SceneraNEXTEmmaRF side SceneraNEXTEmmaFF

Emma is 2 and weighs 26 lbs. She’s 34” tall.

Cover/Maintenance/Ease of Use

The cover is relatively easy to remove. It can be washed in the washing machine and dried in the dryer. To clean the harness, wipe with a sudsy washcloth and wipe off with a wash cloth that has water on it only to remove all the soap.

FAA-Approval/Lifespan/Crash Guidelines

The NEXT is FAA-approved and will make a great seat for flying because carseats don’t get any lighter than this one for dragging through the airport. It’ll fit great rear-facing on the plane too.

The Scenera NEXT has a lifespan of 8 years and Cosco wants you to replace it after any crash.

Advantages

  • 5 harness slot positions, 3 crotch strap positions
  • Easy-to-use harness
  • Compact shell may fit well in smaller vehicles
  • FAA-approved—makes a great travel seat
  • Weighs just 7 lbs.!
  • Easy installation with LATCH or seat belt
  • Inexpensive
  • 8 year lifespan
  • Made in the USA

Disadvantages

  • It’s a short seat with top harness slots that are only 13.5″ tall so it will be outgrown quickly by height (usually by age 3)
  • Only available at Wal-Mart

Thank you to Cosco for providing the Cosco Scenera NEXT used for this review. No other compensation was provided. All opinions expressed are those of CarseatBlog.