It’s a fact that every parent wants a safe car seat for their child, but how do you choose one from the huge number of car seats out there? The Safety 1st Alpha Omega Elite Convertible Car Seat is a very popular convertible car seat that actually goes under several different names, which is a bit confusing. You may find it under the brand names Safety 1st, Eddie Bauer, and Cosco, but these are all identical car seats. This is a 3-in-1 car seat, meaning it can be used in the rear-facing, forward-facing & booster seat configurations, which saves a lot of money in the long run. Without further ado, here is our review of the Safety 1st Alpha Omega Elite Convertible Car Seat.
Safety 1st Alpha Omega Elite Convertible Car Seat Overview
- Rear-Facing Recommended Child Weight: 5-35 pounds
- Forward-Facing Recommended Child Weight: 22-40 pounds
- Booster Seat Recommended Child Weight: 40-100 pounds
- 3-in-1 Car Seat; Converts to rear-facing, forward-facing, and booster seat configurations
- Harness Type: 5-point
- Easy-To-Adjust “QuickFit” Harness adjusts from the front without re-threading
- 3-Position Seat Recline & comfortable pivoting arm rests
Every infant should be in a rear-facing car seat until they outgrow the need for one, and then use a forward-facing car seat. Finally, children should use a booster seat until they can properly wear a standard car seat. The Safety 1st Alpha Omega Elite Convertible Car Seat can be used in all three of these configurations, meaning you will not need to buy more than one car seat for the entire time that your child needs to be using one.
Of course, the downside to a large, convertible car seat like this one is that it cannot be used as a carrier for an infant unlike infant car seats. In my opinion, this is a rather small downside when you consider the benefits of a solidly-built convertible car seat like the Safety 1st Alpha Omega Elite.
Safety of the Safety 1st Alpha Omega Elite
Like all car seats found on the market today, the Safety 1st Alpha Omega Elite Convertible Car Seat passes all U.S. safety standards, so there’s no need to worry about that. As the name would suggest, Safety 1st has put a priority on making a very safe car seat for all children. They’ve included a number of stand-out features on top of the standard safety designs found in most car seats. The Safety 1st Alpha Omega Elite is equipped with side impact protection, which is designed to give extra strength to the side walls of the car seat. Also built into this car seat is EPP energy-absorbing foam, which is engineered to absorb the shock of an unfortunate car accident.
The maximum weight limit for the safest rear-facing position is 35 pounds, which is a little less than the 40 pound rear-facing limit found in some convertible car seats, but this is about the best there is when it comes to 3-in-1 car seats like the Safety 1st Alpha Omega Elite.
All things considered, the Safety 1st Alpha Omega Elite Convertible Car Seat will keep your child safe whenever you’re out and about with them. It doesn’t have some of the perks like steel-reinforcing built into the body like more expensive car seats do, but even without this, it’s still a quality, safe car seat no matter which position you have it converted to.
Is the Alpha Omega Elite a Comfortable Car Seat?
Safety 1st has made sure that this is a comfortable car seat for all children, with some great built-in comfort features not found in other car seats at this price range. No matter which position you have the car seat placed in, you can rest assured that your child is having a comfortable ride.
The arm rests are fully-adjustable, letting you position them to any setting your older child finds most comfortable. This is a rare find in car seats, so it’s a feature that is greatly appreciated. What’s also very nice about the Safety 1st Alpha Omega Elite is that the seat has a very nice recline when in either the forward or backward-facing positions, making sure that your child is able to see outside the windows when awake, or comfortable when it’s time for a nap.
This car seat has a removable cup holder, which is always a great feature to have in a car seat. You’ll probably find that it’s always in use, whether it be by a juice cup, little toys, or whatever else your child enjoys. Since it is removable, it’s easy to clean in the case of a spill or mess; another appreciated feature as some car seats with built-in cup holders do not let you remove them.
The padding of the Safety 1st Alpha Omega Elite is nice, as well. It is soft and plush, and your child should find it very comfortable for either sitting or sleeping in. There is also an included comfort pillow for older children, giving them some extra comfort during long car rides.
There is an infant head rest built into this car seat that is meant to give added comfort for smaller children. If you find that this head rest puts your child’s head too far forward, resulting in an uncomfortable position when sleeping, you can easily remove the head rest which will solve this issue.
Installation of the Safety 1st Alpha Omega Elite Convertible Car Seat
Like the majority of other car seats available on the market, the Safety 1st Alpha Omega Elite uses the LATCH system that is built into newer cars (about year 2000 and on) – which makes for an extremely easy installation. Not only is the LATCH connection easier, but it also gives a secure connection to the vehicle, as well. If you opt for this method of installation, you will find it a breeze, and will probably be able to pull it off in 60 seconds. If your vehicle doesn’t have LATCH connectors, this car seat can also be installed in the traditional seat belt method, as well.
There are some minor issues when it comes to installing this car seat in the rear-facing position. Some parents reported that removing the base makes it much easier to install rear-facing, and this won’t affect the safety of the car seat at all. If you have a larger vehicle like a truck, minivan, etc. then this may not be an issue, but some parents reported that removing the base was necessary in their smaller cars. Installation in the forward-facing position should not be an issue at all no matter what type of vehicle you drive.
I also read some comments from parents who stated that when they installed the car seat in the rear-facing position, it was off-level by about 10 or 15 degrees. They remedied this by placing a towel under the seat in order to have it sit in the right position. While this isn’t a big concern (it won’t affect the safety at all) it may become an inconvenience if you’re moving the car seat between vehicles a lot.
Of course, as with any other car seat, please read the instructions thoroughly before installing. The number one issue parents have with their car seats is an improper installation, and it’s extremely important that you read the instructions fully so that you understand how to properly install it.
Easy Strap Adjustments Are Appreciated
A big concern parents have with any car seat is how easy it is to adjust the harness strap. You’ll be happy to know that a lot of effort was put into making the harness very easy to adjust on this car seat. While some car seats will require the user to completely remove the unit in order to adjust the strap, this car seat can be adjusted from the front of the unit without needing to remove it at all. There is no re-threading needed, either; you simply pull on the straps until they have a snug fit over your child.
Loosing the straps is easy as well; simply push a handle, and the straps will loosen up. I must say that the Safety 1st Alpha Omega Elite Convertible Car Seat has possibly the most easy to use harness straps of any car seat available today.
Pros & Cons of the Safety 1st Alpha Omega Elite Car Seat
- Easily-adjustable harness strap; possibly the best of any car seat
- Easy & quick to install with LATCH system
- Very safe & comfortable
- Removable cup holder is convenient, easy to clean
- May require removable of base for installation in small cars with rear-facing position (does not affect car seat safety)
- Some parents reported non-level car seat with rear-facing installation; remedied with small towel
- Seat cover is not machine-washable; must be washed by hand
While the Safety 1st Alpha Omega Elite Car Seat isn’t without its negatives, it is a surprisingly good convertible car seat at a budget price point. I think you would be hard-pressed to find a comparable convertible car seat at this price point, and the negatives it does have are quite minor.
This is a quality convertible car seat for those that want one on a budget, if the listed cons aren’t a deal-breaker for you (and they shouldn’t be!)
Safety 1st Alpha Omega Elite: Best Price
Best Price Found: As of Tuesday, Dec 10, 2013 the Safety 1st Alpha Omega Elite Convertible Car Seat has the lowest online price at Amazon, with free shipping and a huge discount from retail price.