The Cosco Comfy Carry doesn't offer any bells and whistles, but it's a safe, lightweight car seat at a bargain-basement price. The seat fares better in safety tests than many pricier models, but don't expect a lot of easy-to-use features. For instance, parents must adjust the harness from the back and hand-wash the cover. The non-adjustable base may also make installation more difficult.
Great crash-test ratings. The Cosco Comfy Carry has energy-absorbing foam, a five-point harness with a chest clip and hook-style LATCH connectors. Though experts note the thin shell may make some parents uneasy, the seat received the highest possible rating in independent crash tests and meets the same federal safety standards as every other infant seat on the market. The handle can also be left upright or in any other locked position while in the car, reducing chances of misuse.
Don't expect any frills at this price. Real-world installation reviews for the Cosco Comfy Carry are limited, though neither parents nor experts note major problems. However, the seat lacks features that usually make installation easier -- for instance, it has trickier locking clips instead of seat-belt lock-offs to help keep belts in place during seat-belt installations; the base doesn't adjust to help achieve a proper recline; and the LATCH connectors are older, hook-style versions that may require parents to shove their hands down into the seat. There is no level indicator to alert parents to the proper installation angle -- just a line that must be level with the ground. Experts note that a "firm push" may be needed to make sure the seat is locked onto the base, but say the seat's low sides make it easy to get babies in and out. The harness only adjusts from the rear, unlike those on most other seats, and it must be rethreaded through the back for growth, too. The seat fabric is hand-wash only. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives the seat 3 out of 5 stars for ease of use, noting the fussy harness adjustment and lack of easy-installation features.
Lightweight, but has a potentially short life span. The Cosco Comfy Carry can accommodate children from 4 to 22 pounds and up to 29 inches, though Cosco cautions that babies must have at least one inch of shell above their head. While those are low numbers, they're fairly standard for budget car seats, and many parents prefer to stop using an infant carrier before 22 pounds. The seat does not include an infant insert to better fit smaller babies. Experts also criticize a skimpy, flimsy canopy and say the seat is compatible with few strollers. Parents say their babies seem comfortable, however. They also love that the seat is lightweight and easy to fit in smaller vehicles.
No extras here, either. There are limited reviews of Cosco customer service online and those that exist are generally poor. The company website has downloadable instruction manuals, but you will need both the manufacture date and the product number to download the instructions from the website. That's inconvenient if your seat's already installed. The seat expires six years after manufacture and has a limited one-year warranty. The company advises against using the seat after a crash.
1. Baby Bargains
"Baby Bargains" covers all major infant car seats in depth. Authors Denise and Alan Fields consider performance, ease of use and the brand's track record to come up with their overall rating for each seat. Reviews are comparative, thorough and unbiased.
Review: Car Seats: Picking the Right Child Safety Seat, Denise and Alan Fields, 2013, 10th edition
Editors of ConsumerReports.org test 29 infant car seats on safety, ease of use and fit to vehicle. The ratings are reliable and unbiased, and they include editors' "highs" and "lows" for each seat -- helpful for parents who want a quick summary of each seat.
Review: Infant Car Seat Ratings, Not dated
3. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
The Cosco Comfy Carry earns an overall ease-of-use score of 3 stars out of 5. Testers indicate that the harness can be hard to use and the LATCH connectors may have to be twisted deep into the seat, among other criticisms.
Review: Child Safety Seat Ease of Use Ratings, Editors of NHTSA, Not dated
This short review recommends the Cosco Comfy Carry for those who need a basic seat on a budget. The seat is lightweight and has energy-absorbing foam, but it has a thin shell, flimsy canopy and a back-adjust harness, the review notes.
Review: Dorel Cosco/Safety 1st Comfy Carry, Editors of CarSeatMoms.com, April 3, 2012
The Cosco Comfy Carry makes this top 10 list as a budget pick. The seat earns praise for price, dependability, weight and good fit in most cars. The short review is light on details and notes no cons.
Review: Top 10 Car Seats, Sarah Yang, Not dated
The Cosco Comfy Carry gets 3.7 stars in abouty 15 reviews. Owners love that the seat is lightweight and easy to carry, and say their babies seem comfortable in the seat. Some say the seat seems flimsy and too lightweight for safety.
Review: Cosco Comfy Carry Infant Seat, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of February 2014