When Micah was a newborn, we went for a Safest 1st infant car seat, so it was only appropriate that I reviewed the Safety 1st toddler car seat when on the hunt for his second seat. So we took a look at the Safety 1st Alpha Omega Elite.
Let me just say right off the bat, that this was not the car seat we eventually chose. It’s not that it’s a bad car seat — when stacked up against his competitors, it’s just as safe as any of them, assuming you install it properly. And therein lays the problem. You see, the Alpha Omega Elite just isn’t that user-friendly.
Height and weight requirements
- Weight range — rear facing: 5-35 lbs
- Height range — rear facing: 19-36″
- Weight range — forward facing: 22-50 lbs
- Height range — forward facing: 34-43″
- Weight range — high-back booster: 40-100 lbs
- Height range — high-back booster: 43-52″
- Lowest harness position: 10″
- 10 year expiration
- Convertible seat includes three modes of use, which are rear facing from 5 to 35 pounds, forward facing from 22 to 50 pounds, and a booster seat for children, 40 to 100 pounds
- A five point QuickFit Harness System allows for one step harness height adjustment
- side impact protection features include a three position recline that you can adjust with one hand, a removable head support for infants, a pillow and energy absorbing foam
- includes rotating armrests and a cup holder that detaches
- suitable for infants weighing 5 pounds to children weighing 100 pounds or height of 19 to 52 inches
The Alpha Omega Elite Reality
That all sounds great, but let’s talk about the reality. As all of us should do if possible, I brought one of these home to test out. And since by that point I knew that I would eventually write up reviews for each of the car seats I tested, I decided that I would make sure each seat was tested on a variety of children. Fortunately, there are lots of cousins and the children of neighbors. Susanna, my youngest niece was my first test subject to use in the rear facing infant mode.
First, let me point out that Susanna is well within the weight and length range for this mode. Here’s what happened even with the seat properly installed. Instead of supporting her head, the headrest pushed it forward. In Part 1 of our Car Seat Safety Tips, we talked about not using a car seat as a crib, and one of the reasons for that is that you can significantly lower the oxygen levels required, due to leaving the baby sitting upright for too long. Well, sitting with her head jammed forward would do the same thing.
The other issue was that, despite her being within the height or length range, the positioning of her shoulders was all wrong. She didn’t even reach the bottom harness position, and for safety’s sake, the harness guide is supposed to be either even with or just below the shoulders. I’d like to point out that results were similar with or without the head support installed.
At the time all of this testing was going on, Micah still hadn’t reached the toddler car seat stage, so another test subject was acquired. Thanks go to baby Jamal from next door. His patience was much appreciated. Like Susanna, Jamal is well within weight and height ranges. And yet for him to, we had issues with the Alpha Omega Elite.
While it had been my intention to do a test at the booster seat level as well, I decided it wasn’t worth it. I had made my decision that this wasn’t a car seat I wanted, and frankly I didn’t feel like wasting any more time. It was also about the time I found out that the Alpha Omega Elite is listed on the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety website as not recommended. So we boxed it back up, and back to the store it went.