The Cosco Apt 40 has been around for some time now and made a name for itself as a great budget-friendly convertible car 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.
CSFTL Quick Stats
- Rear facing weight range: 5-40 pounds
- Rear facing height range: 19-40 inches tall
- Forward facing weight range: 22-50 pounds
- Forward facing height range: 29-43 inches tall
- Expiration: 8 years
- Lower anchor weight limit: 50 pounds
- Permits outboard lower anchor “borrowing” IF the vehicle manual also allows it.
- No moving parts to adjust between rear and forward facing
- 2 built-in cup holders
- Lightweight, simple to install
- 3 buckle strap positions: 3, 4.5, and 6 inches from the back of the seat
- 6 harness positions: 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, and 16 inches
- Lowest harness position: 5 inches
- Highest harness position: 16″
- Shell height: 24 inches
- Weight: 7 pounds
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
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 for children who weigh between 5-40 pounds, are 19-40 inches tall, 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 pounds, and the top line for children 22-40 pounds. 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 permits it, the Apt 50 may be installed in the middle seating position by borrowing lower anchors from each side.
Crotch Buckle Concerns
The rear facing belt path’s location only allow the closest two crotch buckle positions to the child be used in rear facing mode. The manual states to use the crotch buckle slot that’s closest to the child, then thread the vehicle seat belt or lower anchor webbing in front of the crotch buckle.
The crotch buckle’s webbing is on the shorter side but usable for most children. We worry that larger children or children who wear cloth diapers may not be comfortable in this seat.
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 with a few adjustments to the harness.
The Apt 50 does not have a continuous harness system, so each side of the harness must be adjusted individually. Take the harness hip attachments and thread them through holes in the shell under the baby’s bottom. 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 pounds, 29-43 inches, and the child’s shoulders under the highest harness position. The crotch buckle may be in any of the three positions; choose the one that is closest to the child. For most children, this will be the farthest out position.
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 children will need to move to another harnessed car seat after outgrowing the Apt 50.
Fit to Child
Our Huggable Images newborn doll weighs 7 pounds and is 17 inches long. Even though she does not meet the 19 inch minimum height to use this seat, 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.
This model is 15 months old, weighs 27 pounds, and is 32.5 inches tall. He fit well rear facing using the 4th harness position and middle crotch buckle position. He is big for his age, 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!
Here we see a 2.5 year old model. She 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 Apt 50.
She is using the 4th harness slots and the middle crotch buckle position. We estimate that she should easily fit rear facing in the Apt 50 well past her third birthday.
Our 4.5 year old model weighs 41 pounds and is 41 inches tall. He’s 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 seat, so he would need a harnessed car seat with higher height limits soon.
- Fits small newborns and preemies
- Seat is fairly wide
- Straps tend to twist
Important Information: Where to Find
The Apt 50 is FAA approved for use on airplanes. At 7 pounds, 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.
The seat’s manual lists an 8 year expiration 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.
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 budget-friendly price 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.
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.