Safety 1st Alpha Omega Elite Convertible Car Seat Reviews – A Comprehensive Review!


safety 1st alpha omega convertible car seat review

The Safety 1st Alpha Omega Elite Convertible Car Seat – A Comprehensive Review – the Pros and Cons!

Car seats are one necessity that every parent must choose with care. The problem is that there are so many different types and brands that it can be difficult to know which one is the best for your child. Dorel is the name of the parent company which manufactures this car seat under three different company names: Safety 1st, Eddie Bauer, and Cosco! All three of these seats are the same. I combed through all the information, went to the stores, and spoke to parents — and here is what I discovered:

Table of Contents for the Safety 1st Alpha Omega Convertible Car Seat: (Jump ahead!)


- Safety

- Best Price

- Comfort

- Ease of Strap Adjustments

- Ease of Installation

- Customer Reviews, plus Pros & Cons

The Safety 1st Alpha Omega Elite Convertible Car Seat offers a convertible car seat that can be used until the child is able to sit like an adult passenger. The seat can be faced backwards for babies weighing 5-35 lbs and then frontwards with the final position of the booster seat for the older children who weight up to 100 lbs.

Safety of the Safety 1st Alpha Omega Elite Convertible Car Seat:

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alpha omega convertible car seat reviews

With a name like Safety 1st, you know that safety is the top priority for the makers of this car seat. The good news is that they do not lack in this area, and this is a fine car seat for this price range. It comes standard with EPP energy absorbing foam that takes all the shocks of driving in a car even during the unfortunate times when there is an impact. There is a system of foam that comes standard for infant use that protects the head and cradles the baby simultaneously which is easily removed when the infant is large and heavy enough to use the seat in a front facing manner.

Ease of Strap Adjustments of the Safety 1st Alpha Omega Elite

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safety 1st alpha omega convertible strap adjustments

This seat has one of the best features that usually only higher priced convertibles have: no-rethread harness! The straps are easy to adjust and there are two handles that do this duty without having to re-thread anything. Simply pull on them and they fit snugly over the baby or child in the seat. If you push the handles in, the straps loosen up. This car seat also has armrests for the older children which are totally adjustable. All in all, the straps on this car seat are among the simplest to deal with out of all of the seats that I have reviewed.

Installing the Safety 1st Alpha Omega Elite Car Seat

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This car seat is as easy to install as any convertible seat in the forward-facing position and hooks directly to the latches on the cars that have been put in vehicles for the past several years. If you have an older vehicle, you can use a regular seat belt for installation.

In the rear-facing position, you will probably want to remove the base so that the car seat is less bulky. The removal of the base does not affect the safety at all, and it will definitely save you lots of cursing when installing it in the rear-facing position! Some parents were unable to use this car seat in small sedans in the rear-facing position behind the front passenger seat unless that front seat was pushed all of the way forward — which won’t work for tall parents — but they had probably neglected to read the directions which state that the base should be removed to make more room! In the forward-facing position, and in trucks, minivans, and large sedans, this was not an issue. Placing this car seat in the middle of the back seat will eliminate this issue, but is not practical if you have two car seats in the passenger row, as they obviously can’t both be in the middle seat!

Some parents reported that in the rear-facing position, the level of the seat was off by 10 or 15 degrees, and a pool noodle or towel had to be placed under the seat in order to get it into the correct position. (Safety experts state that the pool noodles are safer than towels, are they are more secure.) This is not a big deal, but can become an inconvenience if you’re going to be moving the seat between vehicles on a regular basis. In the forward-facing position, the level was fine without any adjustments.

If you have leather seats, a pad or auto-protector is recommended, as the seat tends to slip on the leather. The pad will also serve as protection for the cleanliness your vehicle’s upholstery.

Is the Safety 1st Alpha Omega Elite Convertible Car Seat Comfortable?

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alpha omega elite car seat reviews

This is probably the highlight of this car seat. It is incredibly comfortable no matter which position the car seat is placed in. There are arm rests for the older child and a well padded base that offers comfort to the newborns that are a bit more sensitive. When in the rear facing position, there is a good recline that allows the baby to stay stimulated when awake and yet comfortable enough for nap time. It can be put in a more reclining position when it is front facing as well. This is an important aspect with older children who may fall asleep but not sleep as much as an infant would. The sidewings also provide a cozy spot for a sleepy head to rest on, and the straps are padded to avoid discomfort from roughness.

Best Price for the Safety 1st Alpha Omega Elite:

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alpha omega elite convertible car seat reviews

It was surprising to browse through local stores and online sites and find an $80 price discrepancy on this car seat! The very best price that I could find was Amazon.com, which also offered free shipping.

best price for alpha omega elite convertible car seat

Sometimes, when you view the Alpha Omega Elite car seat on Amazon, a price is not shown, and Amazon asks you to put the item into your cart in order to see the price. This does not require you to buy the item at all – it is simply a technique that Amazon uses to offer products at a lower price than the manufacturer’s suggested price. (The manufacturer does not want its product listed below a specific price point, hence if Amazon can sell it for a cheaper price, they require the potential customer to take action — such as adding the item to her cart — in order to view the low price.)

Customer Reviews for the Safety 1st Alpha Omega Elite Car Seat:

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alpha omega convertible car seat review

“We’ve purchased 3 of this model and if need be we would do it again in a heartbeat.”

For some parents, the seat is one of the best ones in the price range and can even compete with much more expensive models. One parent has this to say about the Safety 1st Alpha Omega Elite Convertible Car Seat:

“We bought these car seats for our 1-yr-old (22 lb) twin boys and WE LOVE THEM!! They’re really padded, well-cushioned and roomy, so they were very comfortable for the road trip we just took.”

Cons:

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Although this seat is supposed to accommodate babies through kids of 100 lbs, be aware that if you have a tall child who weighs over 40 lbs but is less than 43 inches tall, you’ll need a different car seat to accommodate him during that stage — until he is tall enough to use the Alpha Omega Elite as a belt-positioning-booster. This depends on your child’s height and weight proportions, however you do want to be aware of the possibility of this occurrence. Once your child is above 40 lbs, you can no longer use the 5-point harness as the Alpha Omega Elite is only rated as a 5-point harness until the child is 40 lbs, and then you must use it as a belt-positioning booster. The 5-point harness is much safer, and a seat like the Britax Boulevard 70 will accommodate a child in a harness until 70 lbs.

The seat cover does come off for washing, however it is somewhat of an involved process: With the Alpha Omega Elite, you first have to remove the plastic base (like you would do to turn it into a booster seat), then un-thread the straps, then, using a screwdriver (as per the manual!), you have to pry the plastic holes the straps go through from the body of the car seat. It takes about 10-20 minutes to remove the cover, and the same amount of time to reattach it. Instructions say to hand wash and air dry the seat cover.

Several parents reported that the cup holder is flimsy, although that is generally not going to be a deal breaker for a car seat.

There are some reports that the adjustments of the straps becomes harder as the car seat ages. If this happens, Safety 1st will replace the seat, however you will be out of a car seat during the mailing process!

There was one complaint from a parent who reported that her one-year-old seat cover completely fell apart in the washing machine. Other parents say that it washes well on the gentle cycle. The instructions do say to hand-wash the cover, so I would stick to those directions!

A Mom on Amazon shares: “After a minor accident, we replaced the Alpha Omega Elite with the Evenflo Triumph Advance, which is similar, but I like it better as the straps are easier to adjust.”

Useful testimonial from a Dad: “After regularly transferring the Britax Boulevard between my car and my wife’s car, we decided to get another car seat and settled on the Safety 1st Alpha Omega Elite. It is a fine car seat, provided that you never have to uninstall and reinstall it, as the fish-hook type connectors used for the latch connections are so difficult to use, even when I kneel down on the seat. After I get it as tight as possible, it still moves a bit, unlike the Boulevard. If I try to move the Boulevard, then the whole car shakes. What can I say, I’ve been spoiled by the Boulevard and found the Alpha Omega to be so much harder to get a tight install even though I’m a muscular guy.”

The harness straps twist easily, necessitating extra time to straighten them out each time a child is buckled into the seat. The straps are soft and silky, so it isn’t easy to untwist them from within the plastic holders on the chest harness.

A lot of parents say that even in the most reclined position, their baby’s head still flapped forward when this seat was positioned rear-facing. A few parents said that their infants did not appear comfortable in this seat until around the age of six months due to the head-flapping issue. The seat cannot be placed in the maximum recline position when it is facing backwards.

Pros:

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“I love this car seat! This is my second one purchased. My kids seem to be extremely comfortable in this seat and thanks to the recline feature it’s not very often that their heads drop forward when they sleep. I love the way the straps are so easy to adjust, just press the button on the front of car seat and pull the harness straps to the desired length. If you have too much slack you just pull the strap underneath the release button to tighten the harness straps. It’s worth the extra money to buy this seat. Would purchase this car seat again and again!”

The manual is very thorough — definitely read it completely before you attempt to install and use it!

The cup-holder is removable for easy washing, especially useful after juice spills! Compared to the Graco MyRide 65, you’re paying less money, but gaining this feature!

In conclusion: This is a terrific seat and appears to be most useful for babies over 6 months and until they reach the 40 lbs weight limit, as well as for kids between 70 – 100 lbs who use this seat as a belt-positioning booster. Babies under the age of 6 months were reported to be not that comfortable, and the seat was difficult to install in the rear-facing position. When your child weighs 40-70 lbs. (which might be from age 4-8!), then the Safety 1st Alpha Omega Elite only works as a belt-positioning-booster, not as a 5-point harness booster seat — which is a huge safety consideration! During that time period (of weight of 40-70 lbs.) you can use a seat like the Britax Boulevard 70 to give your child the additional safety and security of the five-point harness. If you want a very comfortable seat that will serve you well as a front facing seat primarily, this is a great choice. With some neat colors, and a very affordable price, this may be your best bet.

Comments

30 Responses to “Safety 1st Alpha Omega Elite Convertible Car Seat Reviews – A Comprehensive Review!”
  1. tim nell says:

    Does the Alpha Omega pass FAA regulation?

  2. Yes, the Alpha Omega Elite is FAA approved. However, the width of seats on planes varies by plane type and airline. Parents have reported that they were able to use the AOE convertible car seat forward facing without the base on airplanes. It doesn’t fit rear facing or with the base on.

    Additionally, keep in mind that if you are flying out of the US, and you are not on a US airline, they are not required to let you use it on board if it doesn’t fit properly. You don’t want to have to check the car seat in without a box, so check with the airline about their car seat policy if it’s an international carrier.

  3. Jessica says:

    I just wanted you to be aware that these Dorel seats are also on the Top 10 Worst Booster seat list.

    http://www.iihs.org/research/topics/boosters/not_recommended.aspx

  4. carolyn says:

    Looking for best car seat for the best price (on a tight budget) for grandchild due in Apr.2012.
    Need recommendations! :)

    • Hi Carolyn,

      Congrats on the bundle of joy due in April! Read through the review pages listed in the left sidebar here to figure out which car seat would best meet your family’s needs. Remember that all car seats on the market in the USA have passed government safety standards. Good luck:)

  5. Stephen Maro says:

    OK this seat is messed up. I said what you said about leveling and noodles. But this is to far off. Even with the seat on the flat level ground and the seat reclined to the third position (there are only three so this is most reclined) it is still several degrees off of level. Add that to the car where the seat is inclined, and in teh rear facing position it has almost 8 inches of gap. And, having to tilt it back that far requires the seats in our Sante Fe (not a small or compact car) to be so far up we can’t drive. The base on our model IS NOT removable. I don’t know if it is an earlier or later model, but my guess is this is why Sam’s Club had them so cheap. My biggest concern is that most people won’t read the instructions so thoroughly and place their child in an unsafe position. I will be taking this seat back, and informing the cpsc of my concerns. DO NOT buy this seat for a rear facing application unless you are CERTAIN your model has a removable base. Just my opinion :-)

  6. Jess Mc says:

    Just wondering if parents who own this generally use it throughout entire time child needs car seat or if you have to switch when you get to the 40lb mark until the child is 70lbs and can use booster (according to this review)??? One of our main resins for wanting to buy this car seat is the fact that it appeared to be the only one you would need other then the initial infant seat.

    Thanks!

    • Your child can use the seat between 40-70lbs, however not as a car seat. At that stage, this car seat only works as a belt-positioning booster seat. It depends how old your child is at 40lbs, and if you want her to be protected with a 5-point harness, or if she’ll sit still enough to be safe with a seat belt.

  7. Susan says:

    I have a Santa Fe and I am having the exact same problem:( I am tired of going to the backseat and finding my baby girl completely leaning forward and uncomfortable, crying her eyes out. The straps aren’t long enough for us to put anything under the foot of it either to allow us to tilt it back, unless we maybe buy a seat belt extender…we might give that a try. I don’t have my receipt anymore…I can’t get it to sit at the proper recline at ALL>

  8. Stephanie says:

    I have a Alpha Omega Elite car seat and have had it for a while and love it! But I am needing a new cover for it. Do they sell just the covers??

  9. Stacy says:

    First of all, thank you so much for this website! This has been the most useful site I have discovered so far. My husband and I were looking at the S1 Safety 1st Alpha Elite–is this a higher model than the Alpha Omega Elite? I can’t find it on the Safety 1st website. It looked like the Evenflo Symphony 65 is comparable to both Safety 1st seats. Any advice? Thanks.

    • Ellen says:

      Hi,

      The Alpha Omega Elite is an older seat with a rear-facing limit of 35 lbs and a forward facing harness limit of 40 lbs, which is not that big.
      The S1 has updated the seat to be used until 40 lbs rear-facing, and 65 lbs. forward-facing with the harness.

      They’re similar in functionality, I agree. The Symphony works much better as a booster than the Alpha (though, to be honest, the Symphony might be too short by the time a child is mature enough to switch to a booster by passing the “5 step test”; you might be better off with a dedicated booster in either case). On the other hand, the Safety 1st seats have nicer padding.

      I hope that helps you in your quest for the right car seat :)

  10. Kristi F. says:

    You said:
    “A lot of parents say that even in the most reclined position, their baby’s head still flapped forward when this seat was positioned rear-facing. A few parents said that their infants did not appear comfortable in this seat until around the age of six months due to the head-flapping issue. The seat cannot be placed in the maximum recline position when it is facing backwards.”

    Just FYI:
    On page 17 of the carseat manual, it states:”This child restraint has 3 recline positions:Upright, and Semi-reclined (forward-facing only), and Reclined.
    Rear Facing:must be fully reclined
    Forward facing:Semi-reclined or upright.”

  11. Barbara Jackson says:

    I just purchased a Safety 1st Alpha Omega Elite Convertible Car Seat for my 10 month old grandson. I appreciate the information. My only problem is with your title as it reads “Safety 1st Alpha Omega Elite Convertible Car Seat Reviews – A Comrehensive Review!” Please correct the spelling of “comprehensive”. This note is from a picky teacher!

  12. Amy says:

    Where is the cup holder? Am I missing something?

  13. Sam says:

    I do not like this carseat, I do not feel its safe. Any of you that have this carseat; in the rear facing position push the back end of the carseat forward towards the backseat, the whole entire seat flips even with the towels and the noodle technique. There is absolutely ZERO vertical restraint with this cardeat.If you were to get into a car wreck, the seat is going to flip banging your childs head against the rear seats.

    • Jessica says:

      This is exactly why we made my in-laws take it back when they bought it for our son for their vehicle. When we installed it and performed the standard safety tests, the car seat flipped completely foward and sill moved beyond an inch from side to side. We tried it with a rolled up towel, a noodle and with and without the base. There was no way in hell we were gonna let our son be put at that kind of risk and we asked them to return in and get a Britax which is what we use. We love it and most importantly, our son loves it. Best carseat ever!

  14. Meghan says:

    I fell in love with this carseat, because I like to match it with the interior of my car. Now I wished I hadn’t been so picky, because I hate this carseat. I feel like it is unsafe for my child. It is not secured by no means. I could get in a wreck and the car seat would go flying. I am sure it will be a great carseat when it is faced in the front position, but as far as a rear faced carseat. It is horrible. I some what feel like it needs to have a recall on it.

    • Ellen says:

      Hi, Meghan!

      Sorry to hear you’re having trouble installing it properly rear-facing.

      Have you tried the tricks with the noodle/towels for leverage? Have you tried this with LATCH or a regular seat belt installation? There must be a way to get it secured; finding that way might not be so easy. Many times fire stations will offer to help you install or check installation or you can find a local car seat check to help you.

      Good luck with it! If you don’t use it rear facing, I do hope you enjoy the matching of it when forward facing :)

  15. Preston says:

    I agree with Sam! I purchased the car seat for my grandchild; the same one his parents purchased for him. I followed the instructions & the seat is not only unsafe, it is dangerous!!! I am taking it back to Wal Mart tomorrow & notifying all government agencies & Consumer Reports Magazine about this unsafe product that is sold to protect children. I can’t believe there hasn’t been a recall!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. Melanie Morrissey says:

    I have two twin girls and was just on my way out to buy the Alpha Omega Elite Ella and have a Honda Odyssey. Does anyone out there have any good reviews of this car seat rear/ forward facing?

  17. andi says:

    I have read tons of good and bad reviews and I think I am going to buy this car seat. Walmart has the alpha omega on sale, but it is not the elite. I have looked on the safety first website and see no real signifint difference other than cup holder and arm rest, and of course price. Has anyone got both of them or have any opinionof which is better and why? Please let me know .

    • Ellen says:

      I can’t see what Walmart has in stock from their site; no Alpha Omega appears. There are some seats on the market called Alpha Omega (without Elite) that are only Forward Facing, and are also called by some other names. It’s super confusing, and probably done as a marketing tactic/name dropping! There is also the Safety 1st Alpha Elite without the Omega…

      I’m not easily able to find an Alpha Omega without the Elite on the Safety 1st Website. Do you have a link to it? I want to make sure I can give you accurate information, since there is so much overlap between models here.

      In general, the cheaper ones seem to have less plush material. I’m not sure if the slots for the harness are the same on the model you are seeing.

  18. Dawn Klein says:

    I have the Alpha Omega Elite model # 22456-BVL but can’t find instructions to move the straps and need new restraints. Where can I get some?

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