Safety 1st Alpha Omega Elite Convertible Car Seat Reviews – A Comprehensive 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!)
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:
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
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?
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:
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.
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:
“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:
â€œWe 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.”
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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.
“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.