Pros: Its a 3 stage car seat.
Cons: Its a pain in the rear.
Cosco Alpha Omega Convertible Car Seat 02-3
I figured it was about time I wrote a car seat review. I have read quite a few reviews on car seats in my time-some good some bad. Some of the best writers have written reviews on this seat. I can't say I can outdo them but I can give you my personal experience.
I have had this car seat for almost 3 years. It has been used since Maggie's length overcame her Evenflo carrier/car seat that came with her travel system.
I originally purchased this car seat because it was so versatile.
How many car seats claim they can seat your child until they are out driving on their own? Not many! It is a 3-in-1. A what? Yeah well....
What about storage space? A car seat with storage space? Wow-My carrier/car seat had none. It had a toy bar that sat sideways because of the crooked handle. Hmppphh.....nope the storage sounded great.
A car seat that would fit in my tiny 99 Escort! I needed this seat.......
After many a raving review I was forced to go ut and buy one. Apparently over 100 other members felt the same impulse. But I found out something that some of them failed to mention, maybe because they had just purchased the seat or didn't use it through all 3 stages of growth. I have.....
The design of this car seat won the 1998 Show Off award. If your not in the know..it's an award given by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association. And by looking at the photos you can see why! The design is unique and it is also functional.
Cosco Alpha Omega Convertible Car Seat 02-3 has so many features & does so much let us begin with what and why:
The seat is made for three (3) stages:
*1) Infant Car Seat -
~It is rear facing and it has three reclining positions for your infant. Cosco claims that it is a "ONE handed" adjustment feature. I found this to be untrue. It takes two hands and a foot.
~Cosco also claims the harness can be adjusted with one hand. Also untrue. The 5-Point Harness has removable harness covers to make the ride a little gentler on your baby or tot. Although its a nice concept it doesn't work. The harness straps twist easily and cannot be reshaped, so they are constantly sliding through the adjuster. The added padding just adds to the insanity.
~The harness should move closer together for infants and farther apart for toddlers. But it doesn't, it just releases from the plastic feed.
~The harness release is small and it is very difficult to "unlock." Especially if you have long nails. The upside-you don't have to worry about your toddler unlocking the harness themselves.
~A-Lok- A popular, "State-of-the-art" method of adjusting the harness system. There is a bar in the back that can easily be accessed to release the harness. I admit at first this was a daunting task but a fool proof one. It worked wonderfully once I got the hang of it.
Stage 1 of the Alpha Omega was unimpressive. I preferred my Evenflo carrier/car seat over this model. The features were a wonderful forethought but I do believe it was just that, a thought.
*2) Toddler Car Seat -
~The car seat turns forward, facing the front for children that are 22-40 pounds.
~The headrest sets to 4 different positions to accommodate your growing tot. The adjustment of the headrest is fairly simple-the back of the seat is an addition, one that is not "fixed." It moves up or down depending on what height you desire.
Since it is connected to the harness system you may need an extra set of hands to help you use this feature but I have found it to be well worth the time and effort, as my child has grown so quickly.
~A pillow just for your toddler. this feature is a good one. It is easily removed when your child out grow the "toddler stage."
~The Alpha Omega is "posture designed" to be comfortable yet versatile for your growing child. The material is thick, but I won't say durable. There is adequate padding, yet it isn't like a recliner. And my toddler never hesitates to tell me she is "umcofry."
~The seat adapts to fit bucket seats. How?
~The base design keeps the seat from wearing on your cars upholstery. It is very large and cumbersome. If you have a small vehicle like mine than I would suggest another seat. no matter what Cosco claims, this just isn't adaptable for my bucket seats.
~Rear storage is small, so small in fact if I did put A diaper or A paci, id forget it was even there. It is the size of a medium sized gift box and you can only access it easily when the seat is rear facing. This was a waste of plastic.
**Crash tested in a reclining position for infant and toddlers. Consumer reports gave this seat high ratings on this point. I would question the car model it was tested in. **
The Alpha Omega does pass the MAGGS test for toddlers. The car seat isn't the best I've used but it isn't the worst either. And the fact that it is so highly recommended for safety reasons led me to use it on into the booster stage.
*3) Auto Booster Seat -
~The seat design allows the seat belt to fit snugly and properly over your child's thighs. Magg's hates having a belt over her lap, but I know it is much safer than other seats with over the head restraining systems.
~The base is removable at this point, so it will fit in smaller cars, and those with bucket seats.
~Three position belt guide can be used on either side of the car. It keeps the shoulder belt from your child's neck. It keeps the belt in the correct position for safety.
~The adjustable headrest allows you to move it upwards for cars with low seat backs. At this point with no harness, it is very easy to adjust the headrest.
~No tools are required to convert this seat to a booster. This is a myth. You have to remove the base, and I might add this is an all day project.
As a booster, I am very impressed. It finally fits in my rear car seats. It is a little hard to buckle her into the seat with the belt guides, but it is less daunting than the infant or toddler seat design. overall I am very happy with the booster.
A few other facts -
~All the seats pads are removable and washable.
I have removed all of the pads, after 2 years they were quite filthy to put it nicely. The material did not wear well over time and after its first washing the majority of the seats padding fell apart. I was very disappointed that my child will not out grow this car seat.
~The three position belt guide has begun to come off of the top of the seat. Which I consider to be a huge safety factor.
~You will need tools and extra hands to use all the functions of this car seat.
The claims about one hand this and one hand that are false. It takes more like four hands to accomplish most of these tasks. My opinion is that this makes the seat less appealing overall.
MaggsMomm thinks this car seat is a bust. At a little over $140.00 I could have bought the toddler seat and a booster for less since my infant car seat was apart of my travel system. My advice-after using this car seat for over two (2) years I am very displeased with the wear, the difficulties in use, and the cost. If given the change to go back in time, I would definitely rethink my purchasing decisions.
© MM 2002