User Rating: Excellent
Ease of Use:
Pros:No puzzle buckle; comfortable; recline settings; LATCH install; grows with child; cushions included; price.
Cons:Difficult to install for one person, remove cover, get correct recline; belt buckle under seat.
The Bottom Line: I'm happy with this seat, but there's got to be a better way to make a car seat that's safe AND easy to use!
We bought a Cosco Alpha Omega Elite 22155 model when my daughter grew too big for her infant seat a few months ago. I had read many reviews and this one was rated the best and had the features I wanted for a good price (I got it on sale). It was hard to find, this was the last one at Target, I think because its box was damaged. It is comfortable, and can grow with my child, which I love. I don't want to have to keep buying (and throwing away) seats. It is large, but we fit two car seats in the back seat of both of our cars no problem. There is no room for anyone else to sit back there, but the two kids fit.
Recommend this product?
I also like that it doesn't have a puzzle buckle. Whoever invented the puzzle buckle must not have had children! I like that it has different recline angles. I have not had problems with straps twisting, as many people complain about, but I'm careful to keep them straight when I put the kids in and take them out. I think twisted straps are a feature of all car seats, and you just have to be careful with them.
It is big and heavy, but not more so than any of our other seats. And I want my child to be safe. We don't carry these around, they stay in the cars, so it's not an issue. But still, it's not too heavy for me to carry, and I'm 5'2".
I like the seat, however there are some problems, and these seem to be problems with all of our child seats.
1. I'm glad I'm not a single mom, I could never install one of these by myself. I usually insert the latch hooks because I have smaller hands and my husband cannot get his fingers in there. But I have to have him tighten the belt. No matter how I try I cannot get these child seat belts to tighten, and believe me I have tried, and I am no dainty flower. So we have to tag team install. Once we had the hang of it, we could do it more easily, but it takes the two of us. The first time we tried, it was extremely frustrating.
2. It is always difficult to pull the harness to tighten it once the child is in, on all our seats. There's nothing to grab onto on the belt. I try not to loosen them, so I don't have to tighten it the next time.
3. This seat in particular is very difficult to remove the cover to clean it. I wouldn't even try, except my daughter threw up and it won't just wipe off. I had to remove the seat completely (which I hate to do because I can't put it back in myself). Not only that, but you have to remove it from its base and take out the harness guides, too. The crotch buckle did not fit through the hole and I really had to force it. It took me about a half hour or more in full today to get the stupid seat cover off after undoing all the elastic straps, moving the height adjuster, taking out all the harness guides, pulling through the crotch buckle. Can't they make a seat cover that just comes off without even having to take the seat out? I mean, these are kids for goodness sakes, those covers are going to have to be washed regularly.
4. Getting the correct recline is difficult. They tell you to put towels under the seat. Problem is, if you tighten the belt as much as it will go, it pushes down the towels and you don't have the recline you need any more. You certainly don't want to have to take it out and try again, because it is difficult to tighten. Plus, with this particular seat, when we have it tight enough, the buckle ends up under the seat itself, which makes it even more difficult to deal with.
5. Speaking of the buckle under the seat, to loosen it is very difficult if we've gotten it tight enough in the first place. I guess it needs to be for safety, but to get the seat out is very hard. I can't push the button to loosen the belt with my hands, it won't go. I have to use pliers and really shake the seat to loosen it. Top it off with the buckle being under the seat, and it's really frustrating and I always end up with sore hands.
Again, I think these are things you encounter with all car seats and not just this one. Aside from these common complaints of all car seats, I am happy with this particular model. Maybe those Britax seats I hear so much about don't have these problems, but they are just so expensive.
Amount Paid (US$): 120
Age Range of Child: Other