I’ve reviewed many car seats this year. Some of them have easily recognized well established names, some are new to the market, some came with sport performance seats and some were even updated models of seats that I already own. Cosco falls into the “long established and trusted name” bucket. The Dorel company (Cosco’s parent brand) have been in the business for over 50 years supplying Canadians with car seats, strollers and more. My cousins were raised on Cosco seats and I see a lot of my friends’ kids are too. So it shouldn’t be surprising that sooner or later, you’d see me reviewing a Cosco seat.
Today we’re taking a look at the Cosco Apt car seat. Unfortunately, my daughter won’t feature at all in the video for the review this time because the seat is now too small for her. While the seat can fit a child that is up to 40 pounds, my 30 pound daugher is actually too tall now to comfortably sit in the seat. That’s where I’ll get started.
From infant to…
The first thing you should know about this seat is that it’s a 2 in 1 and not a 3 in 1. With 3 in 1s, you’re typically able to go from infant to toddler into the booster phases. Those seats are usually equipped with 8-10 year expiration dates and will see your child through from the time of birth to when they no longer need a seat (recommended when your child is 9 or taller than 145 cm.) A 2 in 1 is usually just for the infant and toddler phases. The hard and fast recommendations on this seat are that your child shouldn’t rear face past 36 inches tall and should be out of the seat at 40 pounds.
Hang on, that’s it?
When you open the box for this car seat, you’ll be impressed to reach in and pull out…the entire car seat with one hand. This seat is one of the lightest and all-inclusive seats I’ve ever handled. It’s basically the seat, the straps, the padding and the latches. There aren’t any detachable or attachable pieces/cushions or swiveling bases to adapt to stages. This seat is very much a “What you see is what you get” type of seat.
This seat is very minimalist in itself. It’s probably the simplest car seat I’ve ever seen. When you take it out of the box, it looks like it’s nothing but the top tether, and the usual straps to sit baby on the seat. I would take a couple minutes to feel around the padding, however. You’ll get a feel for how the cushion comes on and off the seat.
In addition, it will appear that there aren’t any Universal Anchor Tether (UAT) straps included. Most seats will have them sitting pretty free and visible out of the box. There ARE in fact UAT straps here but they’re tied up and bagged up underneath the crotch buckle. You don’t have to unbag and use them if you don’t want to, though. It’s only a requirement to install via seatbelt pathing OR UATs. It’s not recommended that you do both since it won’t allow enough absorption movement in the event of an impact. Be sure, as always to tighten your belt path or UAT installation to allow no more (but no less) than around 1.5 inches of movement either side.
Installation is very simple in a whole. The directions and leveling are on the left side of the seat and you can easily install this one yourself with a couple tries. It took me around 90 seconds, if that, to install as a front facing seat (including the top anchor tether) to proper spec.
Dad installed, toddler approved (somewhat)
After using this seat for a couple of weeks, my daughter seemed to like it. It’s a little less roomy than her beloved Clek seat, but she didn’t complain about the straps as she had some of the other seats she’s been the test subject on. She was also fairly comfortable with the way the seat bucket contoured to allow her to sit. Unfortunately, by the time I felt comfortable enough to finish the review on this, she had another growth spurt and outgrew it, to the point where she could only sit with one layer of clothing (a t-shirt) in the seat. If she were in a shirt and hoodie, the chest harness wouldn’t close.
Outside of that, from a parent’s perspective, the straps are pretty sound. They don’t tangle as much as I’ve encountered with other seats and adjusting them were pretty easy. The tighten/loosen was easy to do for the straps but I found the chest harness button a bit finicky. It may just have been because I was testing a brand new seat and the harness wasn’t worn in but I did have a bit of difficulty at times with the release button. The bottom of the 5 point harness release (the button at the crotch) was fine though.
Good uses for this Cosco Apt Car Seat
While this seat is a good one ultimately, I can’t say that it’s the best I’ve seen or the best that I’ve installed. My personal main uses for this seat would be as secondary one. It’s a good seat to have for grandma or grandpa’s car for the occasional drive. It would actually be my first choice to take travelling if you’re flying somewhere though.
It’s really lightweight and that will make it easy for you to check through customs and pick up on the other side with all of your other luggage. You can literally pick this seat up with one hand and walk with it unlike most other competitor seats like Evenflo and Clek. With no carrying handles, however, you can’t use this like you would an infant travel system carseat. That is to say, if your baby falls asleep in the car, you’ll probably have to ride out the nap with them rather than detaching the seat from a base and taking them inside the house. You can’t really even unlatch and carry in that regard.
How long will this seat last before I have to upgrade?
It’s really tough to say how long this seat will last in your family. I don’t see why you couldn’t use this from the minimum weight requirement (5 pounds) as long as you brought aboard additional protection for the infant’s head. I don’t really recommend buying a head protector or any padding. Rather, the receiving blanket noodle method is what most Child Passenger Safety techs will recommend to you. If you’d like to see what I’m referring to, check out this blog by The Car Seat Lady and scroll down about halfway.
With a weight limit of 40 pounds, you could stick it out till age 4 if need be. However, with some of the height restrictions (like the rear facing one I mentioned above) your mileage will vary. My daughter just passed 2 ½ and only weighs about 30 pounds (if that.) However, she’s very tall for her age. It was a very tight fit to get her into this seat, even on day one of the test. In fact, if I bought this seat today, I’d have to return it right away.
This isn’t a seat you can use for a long time, that’s for sure. It’s kind of an introduction to car seats until your child is ready to move over into a booster seat full time. That’s what we actually ended up doing. This seat actually gave me the wakeup call that my daughter was ready for a booster seat and we’ve now ordered one off BestBuy.ca
My final thoughts on this seat are that it’s a perfectly good and perfectly serviceable seat, but I would look elsewhere if your child is over the age of 1 and you’re looking past the infant bucket seat and moving into the next step. Since the shell is one complete piece and does not have any moving parts, you’re probably best to move onto a toddler and booster style seat or just pick up a 3-in-1 and resize to your current needs.
The Cosco Apt carseat is now available online at BestBuy.ca