Can I use the Cosco Scenera NEXT for my newborn?
We know how challenging infant care can be. Been there, done that; have the mental and physical scars to prove it, and that’s why at TaxiBaby, we understand and dedicate our time to answer some of the burning questions you have. This week, Elise, our head car seat technician, answers to a question from a reader, Kellie M, regarding the use of the Cosco Scenera NEXT for her newborn (congratulations, Kellie!). If you share the same concern for your child's car seat, let us address it for you. Alternatively, if you’re not in a mood for a read, click on the videos above to watch. xx
“Hi, I purchased a Cosco Scenera NEXT car seat from you over a year ago for my now 20 month old. I have found myself today with the Cosco as my only option for my three weeks old newborn. I'm getting conflicting information as to whether this is safe for her. I don't want to risk it at all so unless it's definitely safe, I'll take the bus. Are you able to advise?” — Kellie M
The Cosco Scenera NEXT car seat is designed for longevity of use — it’s a convertible car seat suitable from birth till 18kg (we recommend that children should be rear-facing until at least four years of age). Weighing just three kilos, it is the lightest car seat on the market. It is also certified to US crash test standards (FMVSS213) and airline approved. Here are five steps you can follow to use the Cosco for your new bundle of joy:
1. Reroute harness straps to fit your baby
The very first step is to set up the car seat to the newborn setting. Before you adjust the harness straps, pop your newborn into the car seat to check the height of shoulders, which will determine which harness setting your baby should be using. As a reference, most newborns will use the second of the five slots, while teeny tiny preemie babies will use the first slot.
Next, you will have to reroute the harness straps so that it will fit your baby; the straps should be short enough to be tighten snugly over your delicate infant. To loosen the strap, lift up the little flap, push on the silver button, then pull the harness webbing forward.
Once the straps are released, flip the seat over and you will notice a splitter plate at the back. Before you unthread the straps, it’s important to note that they appear to be inside out — the seams and tags should be on the outside, as pictured.
Thereafter, completely remove the straps on one side of the chest clip and crotch strap — this ensures that you have a template to refer to while threading the harness back into its respective slots. Turn the seat over again and you will see that the harness goes across the car seat’s base.
Unthread the harness from the same side as before, which will then reveal the two slots on the shell of the car seat, as shown below.
Making sure the harness strap is not twisted, weave it inside the slot closest from where it’s coming from, and thread the harness strap back out again.
Following which, return the strap and thread it back through the crotch strap buckle and chest clip (once again, be careful not to twist the straps). The aim here is to use up excess slack by sending the harness strap underneath, instead of it going directly across the car seat, and thus allowing you to achieve a better fit for you newborn.
Select the slot that fits your baby and pass the strap back in. Then, grab the splitter plate back up and insert the top of the harness strap back in. Ensure that the strap is not twisted, and that the tags and seams appear to be inside out. At this point of time, you will notice that the harness webbing bunches up in the splitter plate. This is completely normal as long as the harness webbing is completely in the splitter plate, as it is designed to be wider than its slot. It is important, however, to note that the strap should not be partially protruding out.
Once this is done, if you find that the harness straps are not even, proceed to pull up at hip strap on the side that appears to be shorter, until both straps even up. You will achieve a much tighter fit for your newborn.
2. Change the position and length of crotch buckle
To ensure the car seat fits your newborn, you should also change the position and length of the crotch buckle if needed. Most babies will use the innermost setting of the crotch buckle. To alter its position, simply turn the car seat over, and you will see a small buckle at the bottom.
Lift the strap as far as you can, turn the buckle at right angle — perpendicular to its normal position — and then pop it out through the hole. To rethread the crotch strap to the innermost setting, or your desired setting, string the crotch buckle into the slot.
For smaller babies (keep in mind that the minimum weight limit of the Cosco Scenera NEXT is 2.3kg), you will have to double the strap back because it is too long. A solution for this is to poke the excess strap through the second slot, as depicted below.
3. Provide some side support with burp cloths (optional)
Should you feel that your newborn requires some extra support, here’s what you can do, as approved by the manufacturers of the Cosco Scenera NEXT:
Firstly, loosen the harness, place your baby’s bottom as far back as you can. This is to give the crotch strap a little more room to manoeuvre. Gently put on the harness strap, then buckle at crotch. To ensure that there is no excess slack, tighten the harness, and then proceed to pull the chest clip up till it aligns with your newborn’s armpits.
Next, you may roll up one or two burp cloths or muslin cloths, and place them on either sides of the baby’s body. This is to prevent the cloths from moving behind the baby’s head, which may essentially push the baby’s head downwards, causing the chin to touch his/her chest and thus obstructing his/her airway.
At TaxiBaby, we do not recommend the use of external infant liner or insert — the Cosco Scenera NEXT doesn’t include one. It is crashed tested without a use of an insert and therefore it dangerous for your newborn to ride in the Cosco with an insert; the insert could introduce slack into the harness or alter your baby’s position, which hamper the car seat’s effectiveness in the event of an accident and thus increasing the risk of injury.
4. Overlay swaddle on top of seat (optional)
If you feel like your baby needs to be swaddled, it is advised that the blanket or cloth should be placed over the harness once your newborn is all buckled up. Tuck the blanket under your baby. Similar to the point made earlier, the harness strap should fit the baby snugly and the use of blankets or cloths may initiate slack into the harness, and increase the risk of injury in the event of an accident.
5. Ensure that the baby’s airway is not obstructed
Lastly, the Cosco Scenera NEXT is a very flat-back car seat, and babies typically won’t hunch and therefore their chins won’t touch their chests. But if that happens to your newborn, here’s a remedy: turn his/her head to look over one shoulder and raise the corresponding arm to open their airway. This is a newborn’s reflex that helps to open the airway.
There you are — five tips to set up your Cosco Scenera NEXT for your newborn! You’re now ready for car rides with your baby. Safe travels! xx Elise
Kellie has sent us a heartfelt message and a picture of her little bubba in her Cosco Scenera NEXT, how beautiful!