A $49 Extended Rear Facing Car Seat?! Cosco Scenera NEXT Review

This post may contain affiliate links. This means, if you make a purchase through one of my links, I may receive a very small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you!

Disclosure: Cosco sent me the Cosco Scenera NEXT convertible car seat to review and a gift card to thank me for my time in writing this post. Any opinions expressed are mine alone.

Parents, especially first-time parents, are often stressed out by the flood of information they receive regarding how to keep their new bundle of joy safe, happy, and healthy. I often soon to be moms ask on forums about what kind of car seat they should buy for their coming bundle of joy.  Immediately I see suggestions for some of the most popular (and PRICEY) car seats on the market.  These car seats are generally top safety rated and they often come with a lot of bells and whistles.

Unfortunately, those bells and whistles typically come with a hefty price tag. If you can afford the price tag, sure, go for it. But if you’re like the average parent today, you’re trying to make your dollars stretch as far as possible.

A few years ago the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) updated the AAP car seat guidelines. According to the “new” car seat guidelines children should remain rear facing in their car seats until they are “at least 2 years old, or until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their car seat’s manufacturer.” Previously, the guideline was 1 year old. However, data has shown that children under the age of 2 are 75% less likely to die or sustain serious injury when in a rear facing car seat. (Pediatrics, 2008)

To help parents stretch their dollars, the car seat maker, Cosco, went to work designing an inexpensive car seat that would comfortably and safely accommodate a child rear facing up to 40 lbs.  The result is the Cosco Scenera NEXT.

Cosco Scenera NEXT

Cosco Scenera NEXT Convertible Car Seat specs:

  • Fits 3 across in the back seat of most vehicles
  • Rear-facing 5-40 lbs (19″ to 40″)
  • Forward-facing 22-40 lbs (29″ to 43″) and at least 2 years old
  • Side Impact Protection
  • 5-point harness with easy front adjustment
  • 5 harness heights and 3 buckle locations allow for the best fit for growing children
  • Seat pad is machine washable and dryer safe
  • Removable cup holder is dishwasher safe
  • Certified for use on aircraft
  • Compact TSA friendly design for airport security
  • LATCH equipped and capable for the entire life of the car seat
  • Meets or exceeds Federal Safety Standards (NHTSA)
  • Made in the U.S.A. with American and imported parts

Cosco Scenera NEXT extended rear facing:

After a bit of redesigning, the Cosco Scenera NEXT car seat engineers were able to create a deep bucket car seat that allows infants as small as 5 lbs and 19 inches tall, to toddlers up to 40 lbs and 40 inches tall to ride rear facing.  With 5 harness strap positions and 3 buckle strap positions–2 of which can be used in the rear facing position–the Cosco Scenera NEXT car seat will accommodate many children up to age 3.


Cosco NEXT harness straps

In the picture above, Little Z is on the highest harness strap position. In this picture, Little Z 2 years and 2 weeks old, weighs 26 lbs and is 35″ tall.  Given that the seat will accommodate a child up to 40″ tall I’m hopeful that he will fit in this car seat until he is 3 years old.

Update 2/2/2016: Little Z turned 3 years old last month. He is still riding in his Cosco Scenera Next (forward facing now). Given where the straps currently hit on his shoulders, I would say he has at least 6 more months, and possibly a full year, before he grows out of this seat. I’ll continue to keep you updated.


Cosco NEXT extended rear facing convertible car seat

This picture illustrates how deep he is sitting in the seat.  Not only does this provide him great protection in the event of a side impact, it allows his legs more room to rest comfortably.  The seat on this car seat is a whole 1 1/2″ longer than his other convertible car seat that we have rear facing.


Cosco Scenera NEXT car seat space

We own a Honda Odyssey van. Our passenger seats are captain chairs so they sit a bit higher than a bench seat would. Because of this there is only a couple inches (when I drive–I’m 5′ 7″) of space between where the top of the car seat meets the back of the front seat. A bench seat would put the car seat an inch or two lower giving even the tallest front seater plenty of leg room.

At its widest point the Cosco Scenera NEXT is just under 17.5″ wide.  This is over an inch narrower than either of our other two convertible car seats.  The narrow design was a conscious effort on the part of Cosco and their engineers. With children in car seats for longer, many parents are having to try and fit car seats 3 across in their vehicles. The Cosco Scenera NEXT is one of the few car seats that can fit 3 across in most vehicles.

This compact design also makes the Cosco Scenera NEXT perfect for flying. It is lightweight and certified for use on aircraft. The seat weighs under 8 lbs (!!!) so you’ll never feel like you’re “lugging” it through the airport.


Cosco Scenera NEXT extended rear facing car seat

Now, I have to admit something. Just prior to taking these pictures I had rushed out the door to get the boys to their homeschool co-op group. In my haste I grabbed a banana for Little Z to eat for snack. While he got most of the banana in his mouth he felt the need to christen his new car seat with banana slime. Lovely.

When we got home I grabbed the nearest wet wipe and easily wiped off the slimey banana I was absolutely sure was going to ruin my chances of taking any decent, slime-free pictures.  In the event that messes don’t come off easily with a wipe the entire pad is machine washable and can be dried in the dryer.

Cosco Scenera NEXT forward facing:

While the Cosco Scenera NEXT has been designed so that babies and toddlers can ride rear facing the entire time they fit in this seat, Cosco has given parents the option to forward face the car seat when the child is 2+ years and a minimum of 22 lbs. Forward facing the car seat will accommodate a child up to 3 inches taller (43″) than rear facing.


To sum it all up, the Cosco Scenera NEXT car seat is an extremely affordable option that will allow families of any income to keep their precious babies safe in a rear facing position for longer. It is a great option for airplane travel and as a second car seat for dad, grandparents, or babysitter’s car.  We have permanently swapped our other rear facing convertible car seat out for this one because Little Z has so much more room for his legs. We love it!

The Cosco Scenera NEXT is available at Walmart, in stores and online, for just $49!

or from Amazon.com…

As if that isn’t enough to make you feel all warm and fuzzy about this car seat to coincide with the roll out of the first Scenera NEXT’s, Cosco is launching a personalized letter writing campaign. A number of the first Scenera NEXT’s will feature handwritten notes from a child of one of Cosco’s Columbus, Indiana, employees! Now, that is going the extra mile.



If you enjoyed this review, check out some of my other all-time favorite baby gear:

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InGenuity Washable Play Yard Review

Dohm sound machine for babies

Dohm White Noise Machine Review

Dad wearing Boba

Boba Baby Carrier Review


About Amy @ Oh So Savvy Mom

Amy is mom to three, wife to one, and a sister and aunt to many. Her family is a former military family now settled in Lehi, Utah. Oh So Savvy Mom began as a way for Amy to share parenting and product advice with others. Just as she has evolved, Oh So Savvy Mom has evolved into a resource for Healthy Living for Families, Food, Parenting, and Family Travel.


  1. christina moore says
    I would love to win this for my granddaughter
  2. Stephanie P says
    The dimensions in the Wal Mart link state that it is 22 inches across... is that a misprint?
  3. Thank for your suggestion. We are expecting a baby now and I will get one for my son later
  4. I own this seat for travel and it is great but it would be good to note in your post that the seat is outgrown forward facing before rear facing because of the low harness position. I'm not trying to be a know it all but hoping this information helps families with the best seat for their needs. I have yet to meet a child that has outgrown it by height forward facing before outgrowing it by torso height. (Rear facing harness should come from below shoulders, forward facing the harness should come from above).
    • That is a really good point, Heather, and something I didn't realize when reviewing the seat. My son is now 3 and a half and can still fit in it forward facing, but just barely. This seat is still a great option for those who need an inexpensive seat for extended rear facing, but because of the placement of the harness straps, your child will probably outgrow the seat before they are ready for a booster.