Cosco Apt 50 Review

The Cosco Apt 40 has been around for some time now and made a name for itself as a great budget seat. It had a major limitation in that once outgrown rear facing, it was outgrown forward facing as well. The new Cosco Apt 50 has fixed that issue. Let’s see how the Apt 50 stacks up its predecessor.

Cosco Apt 50

Cosco Apt 50

CSFTL Quick Stats

  • Rear facing weight range: 5-40 lbs
  • Rear facing height range: 19-40″
  • Forward facing weight range: 22-50 lbs
  • Forward facing height range: 29-43″
  • Forward facing age range: 2 years minimum
  • Shell height: 24″
  • Lowest harness position: 5″
  • Highest harness position: 16″
  • Expiration: 8 years
  • Lower anchor weight limit: 50 lbs
  • Weight: 7 lbs

Features

  • 3 buckle strap positions: 3″, 4.5″, 6″
  • 6 harness positions: 5″, 7″, 9″, 11″, 13″, 16″
  • No moving parts to adjust between rear and forward facing
  • 2 built-in cup holders
  • Lightweight, simple to install

Installation

Cosco Apt 50: New color-coded labels

Cosco Apt 50: New color-coded labels

 

This seat is one of the first from Cosco to implement their new color coded labeling system. The blue stickers on the seat have information regarding using the seat rear facing. The red stickers are used for forward facing information. This can be helpful if you don’t have the manual with you. There is also a QR code that will take you to installation videos online.

Rear Facing Installation

Cosco Apt50 rear facing recline level -- the top pictures show the recline for children under 22 pounds, the bottom pictures show the more reclined over 22 pound recline level

Cosco Apt 50 rear facing recline level — the top pictures show the recline for children under 22 pounds, the bottom pictures show the more reclined over 22 pound recline level

There are no moving parts on the Apt 50, but the base is designed to avoid the use of noodles and rolled towels when installing the seat rear facing. Our noodleless installation video is a great help if you’re not familiar with this type of install.

The Apt 50 can be used rear facing from 5-40 lbs, 19-40 inches, and the child’s head fully contained in the seat with the harness even with or below the child’s shoulders. Like most other Cosco seats, the Apt 50 has dual recline lines for rear facing. The bottom line needs to be parallel with the ground for children 5-22 lbs, and the top line for children 22-40 lbs. When fully reclined, the seat takes up quite a bit of space and may be too large for some smaller vehicles. Once the seat can be more upright though, it’s much more compact giving more flexibility in various vehicles. You can see the difference in the picture to the side. The top picture is the seat fully reclined; while the bottom is fully upright.

The Apt 50 can be installed with either seat belt or lower anchors when rear facing. The lower anchor connectors are shipped in a green bag under the cover, so they may not be easily seen at first. Installation was very straight forward with either seat belt or lower anchors, never both. If your vehicle allows, the Apt 50 may be installed in the middle seating position by borrowing lower anchors from each side.

Cosco Apt 50 lower anchor connectors ship inside a green bag that's stored under the cover

Cosco Apt 50 lower anchor connectors ship inside a green bag that’s stored under the cover

Due to where the vehicle belt or lower anchor webbing’s location when the seat installed rear facing, only the closest two crotch buckle positions can be used in rear facing mode. The manual states to use whichever is closest to the child and to have the seat belt/lower anchor belt threaded in front of the crotch buckle. The buckle is on the shorter side but usable. Bigger children or those in cloth diapers might have issues though. When installing this seat rear facing, you may not use the tether. There are storage hooks for both the lower anchor connectors and tether connector when not in use.

Cosco Apt 50 harness assembly

Cosco Apt 50 harness assembly

The bottom harness position of the Apt 50 is only five inches high. This means even the smallest babies who meet the weight and height requirements should fit well in this seat. However, to get the harness tight enough on a baby that small, there are some changes that need to be made when using this seat in the bottom harness position.

The Apt 50 does not have a continuous harness system, so each side must be adjusted. You  must take the harness hip attachments and thread them through holes in the shell under the baby’s bottom. You then must use the smaller set of harness loops when attaching the harness to the splitter plate. These steps allow for the harness to get tight enough on a small baby. When using any other harness position, you must have the hip straps in the original position and use the longer set of harness loops for the splitter plate.

Forward Facing Installation

The Apt 50 can be used forward facing from 22-50 lbs., 29-43 inches, and the child’s shoulders under the highest harness position. This seat, like other new seats from Cosco, also has a minimum age of two years old to use it forward facing. The crotch buckle may be in any of the three positions; simply choose the one that is closest to the child. For most children, this will be the farthest out position.

Cosco Apt 50 top tether

Cosco Apt 50 top tether

Just like rear facing, the Apt 50 can be installed with either the seat belt or lower anchors when forward facing. This seat is so lightweight, the lower anchors can be used the full weight limits of the seat. When forward facing, you will need to move the seat belt or lower anchor connectors from the rear facing belt path to the forward one. When forward facing, you also want to ensure the top tether is always attached. This seat should easily get most kids to age 4. Most kids will need to move to another harnessed seat after this one as they will not be ready to safely use a belt positioning booster. Read more about when to switch from harness to booster in our when to switch article.

Fit to Child

Rear Facing

Newborn

Cosco Apt 50: model is 7 pounds and 17 inches

Cosco Apt 50: model is 7 pounds and 17 inches

7 lbs. and 17 inches

This is Fiona, the CSFTL Huggable Images newborn doll.  Even though Fiona does not meet the 19 inch height minimum (average height for real newborns though), she fit well and was just even with the 2nd harness position. She did need the lowest harness position though to get the harness tight enough with the special routing needed when using the bottom harness position. She was using the closest crotch buckle position as well.

Toddler

Cosco Apt 50: 15 months old, 27 pounds, 32.5 inches tall

Cosco Apt 50: 15 months old, 27 pounds, 32.5 inches tall

 

This is Cal, he is 15 months old, weighs 27 lbs., and is 32.5 inches tall.  He fit well rear facing using the 4th harness position and middle crotch buckle position. Cal is a big guy, but could still easily rear face past his second birthday. He was just not feeling the car seat love this day with the cold weather!

Preschooler

Cosco Apt 50: 2.5 years old, 26 pounds, 34 inches tall

Cosco Apt 50: 2.5 years old, 26 pounds, 34 inches tall

 

Unity is 2.5 years old, weighs 26 pounds, and is 34 inches tall.  She fits the seat much like the model above, but at a year older you can see how older children can rear face comfortably still in the Apt50.

She is using the 4th harness slots and the middle crotch buckle position. Unity would easily fit rear facing well past her third birthday in this seat and probably close to her fourth birthday as she is on the petite side. The crotch buckle on this seat is rather short and may cause some concern with parents of bigger children. She’s on the petite side so we had no issues with it.

Forward Facing

Preschooler

Cosco Apt 50: 2.5 years old, 26 pounds, 34 inches tall

Cosco Apt 50: 2.5 years old, 26 pounds, 34 inches tall

Here is Unity again.  At 2 years old, she just meets the age minimum to forward face in this seat. She is still rear facing full-time in her regular car seats. You can read more about rear facing in the Science of Rear Facing. She is just under the 5th set of slots and would have years left before outgrowing this seat forward facing. She is using the outermost crotch buckle slot for a more comfortable fit. You can see the top harness position up by her ear.

Older Preschooler

Cosco Apt 50: 4.5 years old, 41 pounds, 41 inches tall

Cosco Apt 50: 4.5 years old, 41 pounds, 41 inches tall

Ry is 4.5 years old, weighs 41 pounds, and is 41 inches tall.

He is using the top harness position and outermost crotch buckle position with no room to spare. The harness is barely long enough to harness him in. At his age he is not ready to move to a booster, so he would need a new harnessed seat soon.

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Fits small newborns and preemies

Cons

  • Seat is fairly wide
  • Straps can be twisty

Important Information: Where to Find

FAA Approval

Cosco Apt 50 FAA approval label

Cosco Apt 50 FAA approval label

The Apt 50 is FAA approved for use on airplanes. At 7 lbs, it is a very lightweight seat and could be great for traveling. It is rather wide at its widest (22 inches) so keep that in mind when deciding if this seat would work well for you and your travels. The FAA approval label is on the side of the seat under the recline guide lines. Instructions for airplane installation is in the manual.

Expiration

Cosco Apt 50 Date of Manufacture label

Cosco Apt 50 Date of Manufacture label

The manual states the Apt 50 expires 8 years from the date of manufacture. However, the back of the seat very clearly gives an expiration of 2022, meaning end of the year (this seat was manufactured 12/12/14 so it’s not a huge difference for this particular seat). Either way, 8 years is plenty of time to use this seat for multiple children in your family. The expiration date can be found on the back of the car seat by the lowest harness slots.

 

Overall Thoughts

The Cosco Apt 50 will fit most children from birth except for the tiniest of preemies.  The seat will last almost all kids to age three rear facing, or even longer. Once outgrown rear facing, it will fit most children in forward facing mode until somewhere around age 4.

The price point of 65 dollars makes it a reasonable option for nearly every budget, and a great choice for coalitions trying to maximize their purchasing power. The addition of the sixth harness slot is well worth the extra 10 dollars over the price of the Apt 40.

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The Cosco Apt 50 is available for purchase on Amazon.com.

While Cosco provided the seat free of charge to the author, Cosco did not pay for or influence this review.   All opinions expressed, as always, are entirely my own. Originally written by Jennifer Penick. Edits maintained by CSFTL. 

Our friends at Cosco generously provided an Apt 50 to one lucky reader.
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