The first few times we traveled with Cara, we brought her infant carrier and the accompanying base so we could safely transport her at our destination. When she finally outgrew that, we upgraded to two behemoth car seats, one for each car, in the Britax Marathon 70-G3 and the Recaro ProRIDE. Both weigh close to 20 pounds. I knew for sure that I didn’t want to travel with those car seats. The amount of stuff you have to bring for one kid might as well be equal to two adults, so having to schlep around a giant convertible car seat all throughout the airport isn’t very appealing.
Enter the Cosco Scenera car seat. It’s simple, affordable, and lightweight. It’s also hailed by many frequent travelers as the best travel car seat.
The price tag on this travel car seat is approximately $40. We bought ours at Walmart.com for that price, and that’s actually cheaper than Amazon.com. We also used TopCashBack to knock off a few more bucks.
The Scenera can accommodate rear-facing children from 5-35 pounds, and front-facing children from 22-40 pounds. It has the LATCH system attachments and is approved for air travel. The best part? It weighs only about 8 pounds. I can wear a backpack, pull a suitcase with one arm, and carry the Scenera with the other. That’s the majority of our stuff.
Things to Note
I was going to do a pros and cons write up but I just realized that the Overview really handles all of the pros. There really aren’t that many cons, per se, but I do think that prospective buyers should be aware of a few things.
- There is no padding. That goes for the shoulder and crotch straps, as well as the rest of the seat. The seat cover is removable so you can purchase some foam or use some old t-shirts to make things a little softer.
- When installing the seat on a plane, the seat belt buckle can often be located right behind the child’s back. Again, with no padding, you’ll have to improvise. We usually bring an extra shirt to cover it. No complaints from Cara. She’s able to nap without any issues.
- If the seat is forward facing in the airplane, it prevents the tray from being lowered completely (assuming you’re in Economy). It also makes it easier for the child to kick the seat in front of them.
- Tightening the straps is a little challenging, at least on our seat. When pulling the strap, I have to pull down instead of out. It takes quite a few attempts to get it tight. This presents more of a problem in a car than the plane. I’ve noticed that attempting to tighten the straps too many times, or by using too much force, can often loosen the seat. At that point, I have to re-install the car seat.
If you’re looking for a lightweight car seat to make traveling with kids a little more efficient, then you can’t go wrong with the Cosco Scenera. It has a 4.5 star rating on Walmart.com out of over 2,500 reviews. As I mentioned earlier, it’s also used and recommended by many frequent travelers from travel forums like Flyertalk.
When we’re not using this for travel, it’s in my mother-in-law’s car. For only $40, I think it’s worth purchasing this for use strictly as a travel car seat. The low entry price leaves room for you to buy some materials to rectify the lack of padding. Highly recommended!