2022 Cosco Scenera NEXT Review
What’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 $50. 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 1″ below top of seat shell, 19-40″ tall
- Forward-facing: 22-40 lbs. AND child must be at least 1 years old, 29-43″ tall
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.
There are 4 models of Scenera NEXT:
Scenera NEXT: Basic model. $44.98-49.98 MSRP
Scenera NEXT Disney Baby Luxe: Upgraded, padded cover with Disney Mickey/Minnie ears head padding. $54.98 MSRP
Scenera NEXT DLX: Upgraded, padded cover. $59.99 MSRP
Scenera NEXT Deluxe: Upgraded, padded cover with added infant padding and harness covers. $69.99 MSRP
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 for a few minutes to start the drying process. 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.
Dorel, the parent company of Cosco, Safety 1st, and Maxi-Cosi, has really stepped up their instruction manual game. It’s easy to read and follow. I especially like the Quick Navigation guide at the beginning and the QR code for videos.
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. And, unlike other carseats, the lifespan information is in the manual so if you keep that in a safe place, you’ll always know when your seat expires.
- 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
- 8 year lifespan
- Made in the USA
- 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.
CarseatBlog Experts Rating
Editors’ Pick Budget Category: Scenera NEXT
My parents have this car seat for when we visit them, but When I install this cosco seat rear facing in my parents car it just doesn’t seem like it gets really secure. I’m usually really good about getting car seats very secure. My friends have me come install their kids car seats because i’m pretty type A about it. I use the latch and it’s extremely tight when you try and wiggle it side to side, but then if you push up on the back of the car seat or pull down on it, it slides up and down. Is this common? Is there anyway to keep it form moving? Since it’s rear facing i know the tether isn’t allowed, but it’s almost what seems like it would need to keep it from moving.
Hi Marissa. The only place you should be checking for tightness is right at the belt path (less than 1″), which is where it sounds like you’re checking initially. The further away you get from the belt path, the more the carseat will move, especially RF carseats. So that’s why it moves so much at the head. The Scenera NEXT is a very lightweight seat so it will have less weight to keep it down on the vehicle seat, which also contributes to that up and down movement.
I was just wondering if 2 of the cosco scenera and a pria 85 would all fit in the back of a 2014 hyundai tucson? Any help please.
Hi Victoria. I’m going to guess no. The Pria is fairly wide. Is one of them forward-facing? There are other seats that may work better.
Looking at purchasing this car seat for my trip with my 17 month old from Toronto to Portugal. We are from the US and will be driving into the Canada for the flight. We don’t want to break the bank and I have done a lot of research. We are flying on TAP Airlines. Their policy while seems to be pretty great is very, very limited on car seats for children. It states “the base of the car-type infant seat may not exceed the dimensions of 15.7 x 15.7 inches.” I read a bunch of reviews and questions on this seat and someone wrote that this seat is actually only 15 inches in width. Also your review states that its “external widest point is 17 1/4 inches.” My daughter is 24 pounds and 31 inches tall. She would meet the requirements for forward facing in the plane as long as this seat would work. I just need someone to tell me if this car seat would fit in a plane seat that is not bigger than 15.7 x 15.7. Are you able to tell me if this would work? It seems like it would be a good fit for our trip/air travel in general. Thank you!
Hi Katie. The Scenera NEXT will fit in the airplane seat with no problems whatsoever. I am a relatively narrow person and my thigh spread (giggle) when I sit is greater than 15.7″ (yes, I did just measure that :D). You really won’t find a narrower carseat, so don’t worry about this aspect of your trip!
Thank you so much! I went out and bought one! I think I am very much over thinking this. The TAP website says the base can’t exceed 15.7 x 15.7 inches. When I measure the actual base its only 10 inches. The widest point is 17 1/4 inches but the actual base is much smaller. So I think that I am way over thinking this. Thank you so much for your help. Your website has by far been the BEST site for information and help.
Thanks, Katie! We strive to provide the most accurate and helpful info possible :). Have a good trip!
Would you recommend this seat for rear-facing use in Europe?
As long as you can determine that your vehicle in Europe is going to have “ISOFIX” anchors (what we call LATCH), it should be no problem. The problem with seatbelt installations in European cars is that they don’t lock to install a carseat like American vehicles do. So if you need to install the Scenera Next with seatbelt, you will need to learn how to use a locking clip properly. But if the vehicle has ISOFIX you can install the seat using LATCH the same way you would in your car at home. HTH!
Hi! I own 2 Cosco Scenera NEXTs (one for my 2 year old & 4 year old) and the seat itself & manual says front-facing up to 43 inches or if the childs ears are over or level with the side of the carseat. My 4 your year old just passed 40 inches & his ears are below the side/buckle seems to fit him snug and well. I thought I was good to just flip him to front facing now…. but I feel like I missed something reading your post. Are there different models of the NEXT? IF his height is in his legs instead of torso does it make a difference? He is still 5 lbs under the weight limit. I know he’ll still need a new seat soon but it’d be nice to make it to the end of the year if possible. Thanks!
Hi Emily. Most older kids are too tall for the top harness slots. As long as he still fits below the top harness slots AND his ears are below the top of the carseat shell AND he’s below the max weight limit, he still fits. That’s the good thing about having long legs :).
This might be very stupid, but we’re researching convertible carseats because my 19 month old is finally outgrowing her infant seat. We have the scenera for air travel/my car but after researching, there’s SO much padding on expensive carseats while the scenera is distinctly thin. Does this matter?
Hi Christine. Generally, no, kids don’t seem to notice the lack of padding. Some kids do, of course, but most don’t. I know lots of parents use the NEXT as a travel seat and their kids don’t mind it during their trips.
Hi, can you please help me find WHERE on the car seat it says that it is approved for air travel? Austrian wouldn’t let me take it on the plane and we couldn’t find the little picture of a plane anywhere on the seat. Thank you!
Hana, the label is in front of the rear-facing belt path near where the child’s left foot/knee would be. There’s a black airplane and red text that says, “This restraint is certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft.”
I am looking to buy this as our back up car seat for my husband’s car. My LO is 26 months and is 36″ and 27 pounds. She will be ERF. Her regular seat is a Diono, and we think she’ll be RF until almost 4 in that seat. Is this seat too short? I’m hoping to be able to use it for at least a year until a future child would use it.
It’s hard to say. The RF height limit is 40″ and you’ll want to be sure she has carseat above her head to protect her head. Kids don’t have all their growth in their torsos, so she’ll spread her growth out over her legs too. If you can try one out at Wal-Mart, that will give you a good idea of how long it will last.
I just bought one for the babysitter – LO is too heavy for me to carry in his infant seat, so this is just easier for us. I was disappointed that the manual and seat now say 1 year to forward face! Why would Doral change this?
Corrie, it was a tough decision for them, but they decided to do it to keep their messaging simple and straightforward across their entire line of seats. We wish they had kept it at age 2 to forward-face as well.
Got this for the grandparents car- easy enough to install but very hard to tighten he straps or loosen them enough to get my son out. Also have the issue with straps tightening unevenly. It is hard to get the clips out of the bottom buckle as well. Do not have any of these issues with out Recarro or Britax seats. Any recommendations? Thanks.
Hi Liz, sorry that you’re having issues with your Scenera Next. We agree that it can be somewhat difficult to tighten and loosen straps when the seat is installed but before you go buy something else – take a peek under the cover to make sure that the latch strap or seatbelt isn’t tangled up in the harness straps. That could definitely be causing the problem or making it much worse. As for the straps being uneven – it’s the design. The Scenera NEXT and many other carseats have a *continuous harness* which means it’s one long strap that goes from one side, under the bottom of the shell, to the other side. You can equalize the length of each side of the harness by tugging on the hip portion of the straps until both sides are the same. If you’re still not happy – look for a new seat that has 2 separate harness straps instead of one continuous harness. You can find our list of recommended seats here: https://carseatblog.com/safest-recommended-car-seats/#CONVERTIBLE
Fyi – Recaro is closing shop in March (they are getting out of the car seat business) so while you might be seeing some “deals” on their seats – it’s because they are all being discontinued.
I cannot for the life of me get the clips out of the bottom red latch that they clip into. Any ideas on how to fix this problem?
Joann, the harness buckle tongs are stuck in the buckle? If you can’t get them released by pressing the red button, you’ll need to call Cosco. The number is on the side of the seat or in the manual.
Does the belt path (for either rear-facing or forward-facing installation) go directly between the shell and the seat padding? A serious issue I had with the original Cosco Scenera was that, when installed forward-facing on an airplane, the airplane seat belt buckle was directly below my child’s butt (poking out into the seat), making the seat very uncomfortable. Thank you!
Hi Kate, yes it does. Almost all carseats have this design and you will have that issue on the plane. There are only a few convertibles that have a separate (enclosed) beltpath so you won’t run into this issue on a plane. The Diono convertibles have an enclosed rear-facing beltpath but the forward-facing beltpath is open. Some Graco convertibles (Contender, Size4Me, MySize) have an enclosed forward-facing beltpath but not rear-facing. Contender is not very heavy and it makes a nice travel seat. It is heavier (and more expensive) than a Scenera Next but it will last twice as long before being outgrown. Check out our list of recommended seats for airplane travel and you will see the Graco Contender recommended for exactly this reason. HTH! https://carseatblog.com/25408/recommended-carseats-for-airplane-travel/
We are considering purchasing this for travel, but I am concerned about all the talk of them outgrowing the seat forward facing. My oldest is 3, but not yet 40 inches (39 1/2). Would he still fit in the seat forward facing?
Hi Melissa, there is a good chance that he is too tall for forward-facing in a Scenera Next already. The top harness slots are only 13″ high and if his shoulders are above that point he has already outgrown it. There are other lightweight travel seats that will give him plenty of growing room forward-facing. We have a list of seats that we recommend for travel here: https://carseatblog.com/25408/recommended-carseats-for-airplane-travel/
We bought this seat for grandma’s car and had a car seat tech at the sheriff’s department help install it. I’m still not comfortable with the installation — the seat moves quite a lot, much different than the convertible seat in our primary car. Is this normal with this seat? We watched the video and have read quite a bit and it looks like it’s installed correctly, but still moves a lot. I’m thinking of having a certified installer with the state police take a look at it.
I installed mine with LATCH in a Honda Civic (and various other cars when we travel) and it is very snug along the belt path. After I connect the LATCH anchors, I push the front vehicle seat forward so I can stand behind the car seat and tighten the LATCH straps while pushing the car seat towards the rear vehicle seat.
Our family really appreciates this seat. Originally we bought it for backup and air travel use, but it has become our primary seat. Its side contours are smooth and make it easy to put LO in rear facing. It is a dream for air travel. The price is right. LO is likely to outgrow it this year (26 months currently) but her little sibling will be able to make good use of it. The Scenera Next is a true gem. Elegant, simple, economic.
I have read on some reviews that after market infant head supports are not okay to use with this seat. Why is that as long as it does not disrupt the fit of the straps and proper alignment of baby in the seat. I just ordered one and am waiting for it to arrive, but I worry about how big it will seem for newborns. I get that you can roll blankets next to the head, but I have just been curious about the other types of head support. The pictures of newborns in this seat without an insert just looks like their head would bob back and forth. Maybe it’s a totally irrational worry and I’ll let it go if it is. 🙂 Anyone have experience using this seat with a newborn?
Can anyone explain why this seat is “rear facing only until the child is 2 years old” (even if they are over 22lbs? Many other seats do not have the “AND 2 yo” requirement.
Because Dorel, the parent company of Cosco, agreed with the American Academy of Pediatrics and NHTSA that rear-facing is the safest position for children under age 2. Weight doesn’t factor into whether or not a child’s neck is strong enough to withstand crash forces–it’s age and time. Please see https://carseatblog.com/5168/why-rear-facing-is-better-your-rf-link-guide/ for more information.
Evenflo has also just announced 2 weeks ago at the KIM Conference that they are now moving to a minimum of age 2 before forward-facing on their convertible, combination, and all-in-one carseats as well.
Does anyone else have a problem with the straps being uneven? When I tighten the harness the right side ends up being loose compared to the left side.
Yes! I have the same problem. If you want to adjust side A, you have to pull on side B down by the hips of your child.
I bought this seat for travel & I have been struggling with it – install & harness. Even my husband can’t get the harness to tighten properly. I’ve tried starting with it completely extended, pushing/pulling on the side that is loose, etc. I notice that when we try to pull the harness strap, the whole seat moves around too. I’ve only done the install with the latch, so I will try the seat belt installation this time. Any other tips for the harness. We have Graco 4Evers in our cars & the harnesses are very smooth.
Hi Bethany. Sorry, I was on vacation! Did you clean the harness or remove one side completely for any reason? Check the manual for the harness routing under the bottom of the seat. It sounds like it might be routed incorrectly or it may be that your vehicle seat is squishy and pushing up onto the harness causing friction on it. But I’d check first to make sure it’s routed correctly. There’s a pic in the manual on pg. 15.