Cosco Scenera Next Review: Our Favorite Travel Car Seat

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As a family that travels frequently, we are always on the lookout for the best family travel gear. We try to travel as light as possible with our little one.

There is nothing worse than having to drag a lot of luggage onto a bus or train. Car seats are always a hot topic in family travel groups on Facebook, so we wanted to share our Cosco Scenera NEXT.

With its simple, slim, and lightweight design this car seat is one of the best to use for traveling with an infant or toddler. If you are considering a lightweight car seat for travel or a second car, read our Cosco Scenera NEXT review below.

Disclosure: Kindly be aware that certain links provided below may be affiliate links. If you decide to purchase through these links, I may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. It’s important to note that I am an Amazon Associate and earn from qualifying purchases. For the comprehensive disclosure statement, please click here.

Our site was created by parents for parents. We do not recommend products that we do not thoroughly research or use. This post is not sponsored by anyone and is solely our opinion based on our experience.

You can trust that our Cosco Scenera NEXT review is written to help parents like you find the best lightweight travel car seat for your infant or toddler.

cosco scenera next front review
Brand new Cosco Scenera NEXT from Walmart

Cosco Scenera NEXT Stats

  • 5-point safety harness
  • Side Impact Protection
  • Expiration 8 years after manufacturing date
  • LATCH connection

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Rear Facing:

Weight limit 5-40 pounds

Height 19 to 40 inches

Forward Facing:

Weight limit 22-40 pounds

Height 19 to 43 inches

It is recommended that kids are not forward-facing until at least 1 year old. We plan to keep our son rear-facing as long as possible. The best portable car seats for a 1-year-old should have the option to be rear-facing.

According to Consumer Reports, kids under 23 months old are 75% less likely to suffer death or a serious injury in a rear-facing position than in a forward-facing one.

Size dimensions:

  • Car seat height 24″
  • Car seat width: 17 1/4″
  • Car seat depth 11″
  • Car seat weight 6.5 lbs

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Is the Cosco Scenera NEXT safe?

Safety is our number one concern when we are looking for travel gear for our son. I constantly research before I decide on a purchase for him (it drives my wife crazy, but better safe than sorry).

There is a perception that this car sear is not safe because of the sample design. During my research, I was unable to find any recalls or major issues with this car seat. I read all of the reviews from customers not only from Amazon but Walmart, Safety 1st, and

The parent company for this car seat is Dorel which is the same parent company for Eddie Bauer, Maxi-Cosi, and Safety 1st. This made me feel a lot better because these are all trusted brands within the industry.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave this car seat an overall rating of 3 out of 5 stars. This did put my safety concerns at bay since we will only use this car seat when we travel.

This rating means the features of this car seat are rated as average. This is not the overall safety score as there is no test to measure safety.

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How heavy is Cosco Scenera NEXT?

Cosco Scenera NEXT on an airport scale
At the Colorado Springs airport (check out the weight) 6.5 lbs

The weight of this car seat is unbelievable at 6.5 lbs. When I first picked up this car seat, I was in disbelief at how light it was.

Honestly, I was excited because dragging a 16 lb. car seat is no fun, especially if you are not using a travel belt.

The Evenflo Tribute LX was a close contender but we ultimately went with the Cosco Scenera NEXT because it is the lightest car seat on the market.

Related Post: Best Car Seat Travel Bags


The compact size makes this the perfect car seat for families that need to be 3 in a row. The narrow width makes it a great fit for any vehicle. We have a Toyota Corolla and it fits well with room for 2 passengers.

Our everyday car seat is a lot wider and although you may be able to fit in the back seat it will be uncomfortable.


I can’t provide a lot of insight into how comfortable this car seat is because our son is only 15-months-old. He can’t talk well enough to tell us if he is comfortable.

At this point, he dislikes all car seats because he is a busy body. It is a challenge to get him to sit longer than 30 seconds without a fight. I will update once he starts talking.

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Having some play time

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I must be honest; I HATE when we have to install or uninstall our son’s car seat. It is one of the few things I dislike about being a parent. My wife and I often play rock, paper, scissors to determine who will install the car seat.

To test the ease of installation we install and uninstall this car seat each time we leave and return. I want to provide a thorough review, so I suffered for you guys lol. I even did the installations myself instead of trying to get my wife to do it for me. 

This car seat was very easy to install. I timed myself to see how long it took me to install each time and it was less than 3 minutes.

It was a lot easier to get the seat belt through the through to secure it. For once I do not try to get out of installing the car seat lol.

Airplane Travel

Car seat strapped to suitcase
Rolling through the airport with the car seat attached to our suitcase.

If you fly frequently this is a great investment because it is a lot more comfortable and easier to travel with a toddler in a seat. Although it may be cheaper to travel with your toddler on your lap it is certainly not fun and very uncomfortable.

Car seats in the U.S are required to be FAA compliant for air travel. Although they must be compliant not all are suitable for traveling on an airplane.

We all know the aisles of an airplane are very narrow and trying to navigate with a full-size car seat is difficult. The Cosco Scenera NEXT is perfect because of its lightweight and slim design. It is easy to install and maneuver if needed during your flight.


An important factor for a second or travel stroller is the cost. Before leaving for our family gap year we did not want to spend a lot of money on an extra car seat.

What we LOVE about Cosco Scenera NEXT

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The best thing about the Cosco Scenera NEXT is the size and weight. My wife had to drag our full-size GRACO car seat through the airport from San Diego to Cleveland before we purchased the Cosco Scenera NEXT. It was no fun trying to push a stroller, hold a car seat, and pull a suitcase with a 14-month old baby.

We also love how easy it is to clean. Our son is a messy eater, like most babies, but this car seat cover is easy to remove without a lot of work.

Once the cover is removed it can be tossed into the washer with our clothes. We wash the cover every other week, he seems to get more snacks on his seat than in his mouth.

Since it is FAA approved, we can take it onto the plane without worry. When our son has his seat, he can sit comfortably, and it is not too bulky in the undersized airplane seats. 

This may seem weird but one of the things that I love about this car seat is the detailed instruction manual. Everything you need to know is in the manual with pictures to make it easier for you to install.

When we purchased our daily car seat the manual was somewhat useless because there weren’t many pictures. There are illustrations to give you peace of mind that you installed the car seat properly.

What we don’t LOVE about Cosco Scenera NEXT

cosco scenera next top view review
Another view of the new Cosco Scenera NEXT (before I son broke it in with pretzels, crackers, and strawberries)

You can assume from the price of this car seat that it is missing a few bells and whistles. If your toddler is on the taller side this car seat is not for you.

The maximum height is 43 inches for forward-facing, so if your little one is tall for their age, they may outgrow this car seat quickly. 

One of the most common complaints about the Cosco Scenera NEXT is the lack of padding. I must admit what do you expect from a car seat that is sold for less than $60. The car seat cover is thin and may be uncomfortable for long trips such as road trips across the country.

The Cosco Scenera is not meant for everyday use and shouldn’t be your go-to for daily commuting with your infant or toddler.

This is perfect for vacations, traveling, and grandparents. If you use this every day it may wear and tear more quickly than your full-size car seat.

I may be the minority, but I do not like the detachable cupholder. It is easier for us if the cupholder is attached to the car seat since I am known for losing cupholders.

Sidenote: I was a little rough with our previous stroller and the cup holder pop off somewhere between Oahu and Cabo San Lucas.


If you are in a hurry and just want a quick summary of the reviews from Amazon our pros & cons table can help you make a more informed decision.

This list includes the feedback received from customers and our experience with the car seat.


  • Lightweight
  • Easy to clean
  • Instruction Manual
  • Fit 3 in a row
  • FAA Approved
  • Affordable Price
  • Color options


  • Height restrictions
  • No frills or extra
  • Not for everyday use
  • Not much padding
  • Cupholder placement


He’s upset

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You may be able to guess our answer, it is yes. Having a travel car seat will make it easier to get around with our baby or toddler once they outgrow the infant car seat. If you are looking for a premium car seat with all the bell and whistles this is not the car seat for you.

If you are looking for a lightweight affordable car seat that can be used for travel or as a secondary car seat the Cosco Scenera NEXT fits the bill.

It will make your travel journey a lot easier with a baby or toddler by giving you peace of mind. Although it is a simple design it exceeds all safety standards and is light enough to carry.

I can tell you from experience you do not want to travel with a car seat over 11 lbs for an extended time, you will be exhausted. We were able to carry this with no problem while in Las Vegas and through the airport.

If you still hesitate the other car seats in the Cosco brand are lightweight. although I am not familiar with all the car seats in their product line the Cosco Apt 50 is a great alternative.

If you want more cushion and padding, I recommend looking into the Evenflow Sonus Convertible Car Seat. At a higher price, it may offer more comfort for your little one.

Do you use the Cosco Scenera NEXT to travel with your infant or toddler? If so, let us know your opinions below. 

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1 thought on “Cosco Scenera Next Review: Our Favorite Travel Car Seat”

  1. I just bought this car seat. I am a new great-grandma, so don’t expect to be transporting the baby often. The price can’t be beat, and now I can be available in an emergency or when a relative with a baby visits our state.

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