If you want a basic car seat that gets good safety ratings without breaking the bank, reviews point to the Safety 1st Comfy Carry Elite. Also known as the Cosco Comfy Carry, the Safety 1st car seat accommodates babies from 4 to 22 pounds and up to 29 inches tall. It receives an excellent rating for crash protection in one independent test, and it also gets high marks for fit to vehicle, which means it installs easily and securely.
The Safety 1st Comfy Carry Elite is also easy to carry thanks to its lightweight design. However, ease of use could be improved -- the straps are hard to adjust and the base recline is not adjustable, which makes it difficult to ensure the car seat is positioned correctly. Overall, reviewers prefer the Chicco KeyFit 30 (Est. $190). It is more expensive, but the Chicco car seat fits babies up to 30 pounds and gets high marks for ease of use.
The best source of information on the Safety 1st Comfy Carry Elite comes from ConsumerReports.org, which tests 28 infant car seats in its latest report. The Comfy Carry Elite Plus, very similar to the Comfy Carry Elite, is thoroughly reviewed at CarSeatBlog.org; Parents.com also reviews the Safety 1st car seat, although the parenting website doesn't subject it to crash tests and the review is short on details. There aren't many user reviews for this model, but we did find a decent number of owner ratings at Sears.com and a few at Walmart.com.
Editors evaluate 28 infant car seats in its latest test. Each car seat is rated on crash protection, ease of use and fit to vehicle using both the LATCH system and safety belts.
Review: Infant Car Seat Ratings, Editors of ConsumerReports.org
A blog affiliated with Car-Seat.org, "mom experts" and bloggers review and give their top picks for car seats. The Comfy Carry Elite receives a detailed review from a blogger who personally tried it out. The reviewer gives it high marks for fit to child and fit to vehicle. She does note that installation can be a bit difficult. This review is for the Comfy Carry Elite Plus, but, according to the manufacturer, the only difference is the adjustable base.
Review: Dorel Safety 1st Comfy Carry Elite Plus Infant Carseat Review!, "Kecia", June 13, 2011
Parents.com names the Safety 1st Comfy Carry Elite one of the best car seats of the year. High points include an affordable price tag and lightweight design.
Review: 2011 Infant Car Seats, Jessica Hartshorn, 2011
The Cosco Comfy Carry Elite car seat gets mixed reviews from owners, garnering an average rating of 3.05 stars out of 5 in 19 reviews. Most owners love it, saying it's lightweight and fits smaller children well. Others say it does not install easily and does not seem safe.
Review: Cosco Comfy Carry Elite Infant Car Seat - Bay Breeze Neutral Reviews, Contributors to Kmart.com, As of June 2012
Only three users have reviewed the Safety 1st Comfy Carry Elite so far at Walmart.com. One owner likes the budget-friendly price and subdued colors, but two say the handle feels flimsy.
Review: Safety 1st Comfy Carry Elite Infant Car Seat, Contributors to Walmart.com