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  1. #1
    Caviller
    Guest

    Cosco Summit Combination Carseat

    The Cosco Summit with LATCH is a combination booster model. It is rated front-facing with a harness from 22-40 pounds, for children over 1 year old. It can also be converted to a belt-positioning booster for use from 30-100 pounds. This model is also marketed under the Eddie Bauer name.




    <A HREF="http://www.coscojuvenile.com/product.asp?productID=26" TARGET="_TOP"
    ><IMG SRC="http://64.95.118.51/images/opti/da/d8/Cosco_Summit_High_Back_Booster1-resized220.jpg " ALIGN="middle"></A> Cosco Summit

    <B>Introduction</B>

    This review is for the Cosco Summit High Back Booster with LATCH. Cosco rates this model from 22-40 pounds (and over 1 year old) with the internal harness, and 30-100 pounds as a belt positioning booster. This model is in a class known as "combos" or "combination seats", since they can be used in both methods. Many parents buy combination models to save money, so that they will not have to buy two separate models to do the same thing. Unfortunately, many find that combination models are not as nice as a typical front-facing only seat when used with the harness, and later they are not as nice as many models that are only boosters. This is the classic "jack of all trades, master of none" complaint. Unlike many other combination models, the Summit does an excellent job as a belt positioning booster, though it is only average as a harnessed front-facing carseat.

    <B>Advantages:</b>

    <I>Easy to Adjust</I>: The head rest and harness height are very easily adjusted, with no rethreading of straps. You do still have to remove the carseat to change the height, like you do on other combination models. There is a front adjuster for harness tightness which can be used with the seat in place.

    <I>Shoulder Belt Guides</i>: Most other combination models have shoulder belt guides that will catch the shoulder belt if the child is able to pull slack in it. This can leave the belt loose and unsafe if the parents are not aware of the issue. The Summit has nice open-loop style guides which do not have this problem, and they are easily adjustable.

    <I>Two Piece Chest Clip and Improved Buckle</I>: The new versions are easier to use and reduce strap twisting compared to many other Cosco models. The new latchplates and buckle are a "puzzle buckle", like those found on Britax and some other models. Some parents claim it helps them make sure both tongues are latched correctly, though others find it is clumsier to secure and that it takes some time to become familiar with it.

    <I>Comfort</I>: This seat is generously padded, and the cover material is very nice. Three recline settings are available, as are three crotch strap positions. Nice head support is provided, though the padded headrests are a bit high when using the harness. Fold down armrests and a cup holder are added bonuses. The included harness strap pads are also very nice, as aftermarket strap covers are not recommended.

    <I>Installation</I>: When used as a harnessed front-facing carseat up to 40 pounds, this model installs like most carseats. It should install well in many vehicles. I used the seatbelt to install it in a 2001 Honda Odyssey, a 2001 Chrysler Town and Country and a 2000 Subaru Outback, along with a couple others I've installed at carseat checkup events. The fit was acceptable or better in all of them. I also used the built-in LATCH attachments for installation in the Odyssey and Town&Country. The fit was very good with LATCH, and relatively easy as well.

    <I>LATCH</I>: Like all combination models manufactured after September 1, 2002, the Summit has built-in LATCH attachments. These lower attachments are on a flexible strap, much like the top tether. They are used only when the seat is used with the harness for kids under 40 pounds. They are not to be used with the seat as a belt positioning booster for kids above 40 pounds. Similarly, older Summit models may be used with the Cosco LATCH retrofit kit. For more details on LATCH, please visit http://www.car-safety.org/latch.html .

    <I>Booster rated to 100 pounds</I>: The Summit has a headrest that is somewhat higher than many other combination models, though not as high as a some booster-only models. So, the tallest kids may not make it to 100 pounds, but they would also outgrow just about any other combination model before they would outgrow the slightly taller Summit.


    Combined, these features make the Summit one of the nicest combination models when used as a belt positioning booster above 40 pounds.


    <B>Disadvantages</B>

    <I>Not ideal for the tallest kids using the harness</I>: As is the case with many Cosco combination models, children who are in higher percentiles for height than weight may outgrow the harness on this seat by height well before they outgrow it by weight. It is safest to keep your child in a 5-point harness until at least 40 pounds. If your child tends to be tall but not heavy for their age, they may have to switch to a booster too early because the top of their shoulders is above the top set of harness slots. Our son is almost 4 and about the 75th percentile for height and weight. At 38 pounds, he is almost to the level of the top harness slot, when adjusted to the second highest headrest position. To confuse matters, the highest adjustment position is not allowed for use with the harness, only for booster use.

    So, if your child tends to tall and thin, this may not be the best model for them under 40 pounds with the harness, but it would be fine for tall kids above 40 pounds using it as a booster.

    <I>Tether Strap Adjustment</I>: Like all Cosco models, the tether strap length is difficult to adjust. It is still cumbersome even after you become familiar with it. The tether is included, but does require assembly. Fortunately, this is relatively easy compared to some Cosco models. Plus, the standard included tether is too short for some minivans and SUVs. While Cosco used to replace it with a van-length tether for free, they now charge about $12 for the longer version. On the plus side, an improved tether with an easier adjuster should soon be available as an accessory from Cosco.

    <I>Instructions</I>: While they contain the important information, these are typical Cosco instructions. They are folded twice, have grainy photographs and may apply to more than one model. The Cosco description of seatbelt types is better than many other manuals, however.

    <I>Installation</I>: Unlike the similar base on the Alpha Omega and Eddie Bauer 3-in-1 seats, the manual says the base of the Summit should NOT be removed. The large base can make seatbelt installation as a harnessed forward-facing carseat difficult in some vehicles. This applies particularly to vehicles with narrow, center seating positions and to smaller cars. As with most carseats, please buy where you receive a good return policy in case it doesn't fit your child or vehicle well!


    The major disadvantages apply to use as a harnessed front-facing carseat. This makes the Summit pretty average for use under 40 pounds, especially when compared to combination models from other manufacturers.


    <B>Conclusion</B>

    The Summit will hopefully be the first of a trend of new combination seats which have many of the features usually found in models that serve only as a belt positioning booster. It is also adequate as a harnessed front-facing carseat for kids under 40 pounds, except those who are in the tallest percentiles for their age. I give it "5-stars" as a booster, and "3-stars" as a harnessed front-facing carseat, so overall 4-stars. At $90-$100, this model is competitive with other high-end combination seats like the Century NextStep and Evenflo Apollo.

    Details on the Summit can be found here:

    http://www.djgusa.com/coscocat/carseats/430summit.html

    <B>For more information on child restraints and LATCH please visit:

    http://www.car-safety.org

    http://www.seatcheck.net</B>


    The Epinions review is found here:

    Caviller's Epinions Review of the Cosco Summit


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