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Car Seat Review: Cosco Scenera

Marianne Merawi
by Marianne Merawi
April 8, 2014

Rating: 3/5 stars

MSRP: $40

The Scenera has long been the go-to convertible seat for parents on a budget.  It is also popular as a spare seat for a sitter or grandparent’s car, and for travel.  Simple and basic, it serves its purpose well, despite the lack of bells and whistles.  All child seats sold in the United States pass the same strict crash tests, so there’s no need to fear that you’re sacrificing safety to save money.  In fact, in a way it’s nice to work with a seat that doesn’t require an engineering degree to understand how to operate all the various features and settings.  Along with almost all of the other seats from parent company Dorel, it is made in the USA, whereas most other brands of child restraints are manufactured in China. The Scenera is narrow and takes up little front-to-back space, so it will fit most small vehicles well.  Weighing in at under 9 pounds, it is convenient to carry onto planes and for other travel situations.  Other than the no-frills design, its main drawback is that it has a short shell and will be outgrown relatively quickly in both rear- and forward-facing modes.  Even so, it’s hard to beat the price, and it will fit your child about as long as some of the much more expensive options.


  • Very inexpensive
  • Fits most newborns
  • Compact both in depth and width
  • Lightweight
  • Straightforward installation


  • Thin padding, no frills
  • Low height and weight limits – average child will fit rear-facing until age 2 ½ (American Academy of Pediatrics and NHTSA recommend rear-facing to at least age 2 and as close to age 4 as possible)


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