Safety 1st Alpha Elite 65 Convertible Car Seat, Rachel

Safety 1st Alpha Elite 65 Convertible Car Seat, Rachel

3 modes of use: rear-facing 5-40 pounds, forward-facing 22-65 pounds, booster mode 40-100 pounds, quickfit harness system: adjust harness height from the front in one easy step. Side impact protection, 3-position recline, adjusts with one hand, removable infant head support, epp energy absorbing foam, rotating arm rests, removable infant lumbar cushion, detachable cup holder, 5-point harness with up-front adjustment.

Main features

  • Rear facing 5 40 pounds
  • Forward facing 22 65 pounds
  • Booster mode 40 100 pounds
  • Rotating arm rests
  • Removable infant lumbar cushion

Verified reviews

★★★★★

Great Toddler Seat

The only reason I did not give this seat a 5-star is because, like the other reviewers have noted, it is difficult to get reclined properly in the rear-facing position (we have a Dodge Grand Caravan with captain’s chairs). We solved this with an old towel rolled up under the front of the seat, but my dd’s head still “droops” when she falls asleep — might need to try the pool noodle suggestion next.I was looking for longevity in a car seat. I loved my Britax Infant seat, but finally, at 15 months, my dd had outgrown it at 30″. I wanted a seat that would take her from rear facing as long as possible to a sturdy booster that would fit up to 100 lbs. Since we are all tall in my family (I’m 5’9″, hubby is 6’3″), I also wanted one that would last height-wise as well. I looked at the Britax seats, but I didn’t feel they would last long enough due to the height limitations.Another thing I was looking for was a seat that was not so “safe” as to block my dd’s view since she loves to look out the window. I felt this seat had the right blend of safety and visibility.We also travel a lot, and I wanted a seat that would be comfortable on long car rides. I also wanted it to have a detachable cup holder for the same reason. Other seats that I looked at had very little seat padding, but this seat has great padding and the cover seems like it will be relatively easy to remove and clean (I haven’t tried yet), and the cup holder is detachable for easy cleaning. The fabric is “polyester-esque” which makes it easy to wipe clean for small messes. I like the extra removable padding along the sides since my dd may be tall, but she is also thin, and the extra padding helps keep her from sliding around in the seat for now.I like that the harness can be adjusted without having to re-thread the shoulder straps. I also love that the arm rests are “locked” into place but move easily by pulling out first and then turning them. I like the recline feature (not enough for rear facing though), and I hope that it will be more convenient once my dd is forward facing in the seat.All in all, I am very happy with this seat, and my dd seems to be enjoying it as well.

Kristin Lukachukai, AZ
★★★★★

You get what you pay for.

Dorel Juvenile Group company manufactures a lot of car seats which is good because consumers are offered a lot of options based on their budget. The problem is that the car seat design offered by this company is basically all the same internally. Which is bad because if there is one negative aspect, then all the other products with the same features are affected.I have the Safety 1st Complete Air 65 SE Protect Convertible Car Seat. I love the color and design apart from the safety aspect of having a side impact protection in the form of an air filled bag like, well, an airbag to absorb any impact. It also allows a tighter space around the head so that it doesn’t move around especially for younger babies with weaker muscle control. That car seat looked more expensive visually than the actual purchase price. Unfortunately that’s the only positive thing I can say about it.Fast forward to three years later and I am presented with this Safety 1st Alpha Elite 65 Convertible Car Seat. I was hoping for a revamp in design to rival the more expensive Britax, Clek, and Orbit car seats. What I got was the same underpinning to my existing Safety 1st top of the line car seat without the nice side airbags but replaced with a similar side protection insert and the addition of an arm rest. All others remain the same.DESIGNTo start, it looks a little bit better in person than on the sample photos. The color scheme is neutral gray which will fit right alongside the mainstream gray interiors of all the Japanese, American and Korean cars these days.Installation has always been the same which is not difficult at all especially if you have the LATCH option in your vehicle. It’s easy to buckle and tighten as well as remove to shake off the crumbs and to eventually clean more thoroughly.You now get an arm rest that easily swings up and down as you see fit. The issue is swinging it up won’t make this already bulky car seat any more compact. The arms are there already and I’d say it takes up an additional 2 inches each way. That means a loss of 4 inches of space if your vehicle space is precious as it is.WASHINGThe weakness as always with all the Safety 1st convertible car seats is in the convenience of removing the cloth for washing. The seat pads are washable. The manual shows you how to remove it which all you need to do is remove the elastic garter belts behind fastened by a simple plastic tab. I don’t like those tabs. It’s too flimsy and these don’t hold the elastic belts securely.The other problem is you have to wiggle the seat pads further when removing it away from the built-in adjustable headrest.A big improvement in this car seat versus my older Complete Air 65 SE, is that the cloth covering the adjustable headrest is now fully washable, too. Fumy thing is the manual doesn’t tell you, but perhaps because it is even easier to remove it by slipping the elastic belt around the red latches. That’s it. Even so, there should be instructions on it.My old seat didn’t have the ability of the center cloth of the adjustable headrest to be removed because of the way the airbag is installed. The problem is that 90% of the child is in contact with this non-removable cloth part. While only the bum is in contact with the washable aspect. When my child threw up twice all over his car seat, I had to basically analyze how the cloth was installed and mastered how to remove it for washing. It wasn’t pretty and there were a lot of curse words I said while disassembling the cloth.I’m happy to say you won’t have that kind of nasty experience over here in this improved washable aspect. You do still have to deal with the tabs and wiggling the cloth.PRICEThis one is also a few bucks cheaper than the top of the line Air 65 SE that I mentioned above. The price really isn’t bag if this is within your budget. You get a sturdy car seat that can last from infant to toddler all the way to being a booster seat rated to 100lbs, if they don’t complain on tightness at this point.You don’t get the elegance of better design or disassembly convenience of those pricier car seats double the price of this one. But you do get the most important aspect which is safety and protection of your child.OVERALLIf this was within my budget, I would exactly be their target market. My gripe is that of all the car seats they manufacture they can’t seem to get their design and color scheme right. It’s like grandmas are their designers for the cloth pattern and color scheme. Don’t they know this is the 21st century already? Where are the modern trendy patterns and bright colors. Where is the Oeke-Tex Standard in their materials? What about Organic textiles and PVC-free materials?How about more padding to protect the bum for longer drives. Or a more compact and less bulky car seat through improved construction and use of better materials than their usual plastics that have to be thick to maintain rigidity?That’s why they earn 3 stars. Nothing more. Nothing less. Like I said, you get what you pay for. At less than $200, how can you complain really.

Jimmie Pettibone, ND
★★★★★

No level and wacky LATCH system.

I have installed a bunch of car seat lately, and I have to say this one is the hardest and the most cumbersome. First, all the car seats I have ever installed are usually already ready to install into the car rear facing. This one you have to pull the latch belt through the car seat under the fabric. Then it doesn’t hold on to anything so it just moves around doesn’t feel secure. So, I don’t feel safe using the latch system and it is my favorite way to put a carseat in a car. Plus, this car seat is pretty bulky so it doesn’t really fit good in a car, and it makes it pretty hard to see out the rear window as well.All car seats I have put in cars have some sort of level with a ball to show if it is reclined properly. This one does not, it just has a red line printed to the side and it says it should be parallel to the ground. I have no clue if it is parallel to the ground, I can never hang a picture parallel to the ground either, that is why I want a level and this one doesn’t have it. Another thing that makes me not really like this one.It does have cute little arm rest, but in rear facing I don’t think my son will use it. Also, the harness doesn’t seem to go down low enough. My son is 17 months and the harness almost went above his shoulder, this car seat would certainly not work with infants, even though it comes with an infant head rest.Overall this carseat is just okay, it is certain low on my list of carseats…Actually, probably the lowest out of the five different seats I have used in rear facing. I am not sure how this will do with front facing and booster since my son is too young for that just yet. My favorite is still the Graco my ride.

Jodi Ancramdale, NY
★★★★★

Good Seat

We got this for my son, looking for something a bit smaller than the Britax Marathon my daughter has. It turned out to be about the same size as the Britax, but it is very comfortable for him and fits well (forward facing) in our little car.

Graciela Hugoton, KS
★★★★★

Kid loves it….

Great seat. Easy to set up. Seems very comfortable for my son who doesn’t seem to complain. It is a dark, soft cloth which I like. It doesn’t get dirty and if it does it doesn’t show. It is easy to take the upholstery out and wash. It comes with a detachable cup holder that my son loves. It is very easy to set up in case you need to switch it from car to car. It fits perfect in our Honda Fit. That car is very small and I had no problem using it rear facing. It is now forward facing and there is much more space in my car. The seat is pretty lightweight as well so it is easy to transport from car to car if you had to. The side protection is great too. It is very plush and soft and doesn’t bother my son when he falls asleep and leans against it. Overall a great seat that has all the elements necessary without all the unnecessary bells and whistles.

Lashonda Mill Creek, PA
★★★★★

Well made but so frustrating.

I thought all carmseats were pretty the same until I used the Britax that my mom has in her car. It is so much easier to adjust and put the kid into. My husband loosens the straps every time he takes our 19 month old out and I have to retighten them every time I put him back in. The straps are frustratingly difficult to tighten in the best of times and almost impossible at other times. I mean am I going to have to take this thing out and inspect it? what is going on here? This is also quite a bit larger than the britax. It feels well made and has the side impact cushions which were all selling features to me. If I had to do it all over again I would have purchased a britax.

Clare Jamesville, NY
★★★★★

Good Value

It is a great seat, but I would suggest trying out “the fit” in whatever type vehicle you will be installing it in.I tried this one in a Toyoata Seinna and had to use a towel rolled up to adjust the lean of the seat. This made the seat not wobble and fit snuggly with minimal movement. There is pleny of leg room and would probably even be true for smaller cars.One con is that the straps are sometimes hard to loosen when unbuckling. Also, it does not come with belt covers at the neck, which is a feature I believe ALL carseat manufacturers should include.Overall, I really like this seat!

Briana Tupman, CA
★★★★★

hard to move between cars

This seat seems comfortable enough for our beefy 8-month-old, and is nicely easy in the harness-adjustment. However, it took FOREVER to get it installed and level enough in our 1995 Camry, and was almost impossible to get it as horizontally stable as it should be. The front corners of the padding/cover have to be unfastened in order to pass a seat belt through for rear-facing installation, and they’re extremely difficult if not impossible to reattach once the seat is secure. It’s also about impossible to use the recline handle when it’s secured for rear-facing. The seat barely fits in the center of the back bench seat of our Camry, and wouldn’t fit at all on one side (again, rear-facing), and makes space at either end of the bench seat very cramped for passengers. It takes a lot of time and effort to switch it between vehicles when grandparents drive the baby around. When we tried the LATCH attachments in Grandpa’s late-model 4-door pickup truck, the car seat was very horizontally unstable no matter how tightly it was cinched; stuffing towels under it eventually helped at least enough to be able to use it.

Edythe Squirrel, ID
★★★★★

Made of plastic, flimsy buckles

I really wanted to love this seat!!! I had seen the Advanced Air in a store and thought it looked great, and knew the main difference is that this one doesn’t have recline settings. But I liked the head protection pads (they are better than all pads I’ve seen). Unfortunately, I didn’t try lifting the one in the store! Turns out, this weighs almost nothing and is made of thin plastic, almost like the thickness of a big trash can. I already have a Chicco NextFit and have been looking for another, less expensive alternative for our other car. Well in my opinion, this seat can’t hold a candle to the NextFit, which has a steel frame and is HEAVY! Also, the buckle and chest clip on this seat feel really flimsy, and I just got the feeling that they would be easy for a child to undo.I don’t work for Chicco or anything – I just LOVE our NextFit. Compared with all the other seats I’ve looked at and tried, it seems to be way higher quality than the others. Unfortunately, the Safety 1st seat seems to be too flimsy and I’m not willing to gamble with my son’s safety!

Bianca Lake Cicott, IN
★★★★★

Overall, good seat.

We have gone through several car seats because I continually find things wrong with them. We chose this one because of the safety ratings and side impact protection. My only complaint is the strap can be hard to tighten at times. It’s a good seat that should last my daughter through her car seat days.

Nannie Chase, MD
★★★★★

Excellent car seat, easy to adjust and install, but large!

The Safety 1st Alpha Elite 65 Convertible Car Seat, Triad is very easy to use and install. We just upgraded from a 6 year old car seat, and there have been a lot of improvements since then. The easy-tilt handle in the front, the two simple handles for raising and lowering the shoulder straps without having to unbuckle the car-seat even, and the cushy head supports.We are currently using it in the rear-facing position for our 8 month old. It is REALLY big for rear-facing and would be difficult to fit behind many bench seats. It’s in the center row of our first van bench and its head extends past the back of the drivers captain seat. It completely blocks the path to the seat beyond it and our son has to crawl under it to get to his seat. It’s also wide. Too wide for us to be able to use the detachable cup holder and still have someone sit beside the car seat. That’s only usable if it’s in a captain chair or has no one sitting on the bench beside it. THESE are the ONLY cons about this seat, though. Just pay attention to measurements before buying it.For front-facing it’s perfect. The seat is well-cushioned, comfortable, attractive, easy to adjust and install. The five-point harness is sturdy, and the arm rests can be folded up or down. It grows with your child and can be used rear-facing up to 40 lbs, forward-facing with internal harness up to 65 lbs, and as a booster up to 100 lbs. This seat will easily work for my son until he no longer needs a car seat or booster. Occasionally wipe it down with a damp wash cloth and it should stay looking nice, too.We really love this car seat and are looking forward to years of use with it. I love how well-cushioned my baby is when I buckle him in, and he loves being able to look out the windows better than he could in his infant seat.

Ann Allenwood, NJ
★★★★★

We feel our baby is safe and secure

As a first time Grandma I was not looking forward to car seats because I remember the time consuming clipping, snapping and general adjusting that the old ones took. This is one simple clip of the harness and it does take a little strength to get it clicked, but I guess that is better than coming undone when you don’t want it to.I love that this one seat will adjust for our little darling from the present small infant stage through the booster seat stage. I like that this seat uses a harness through 70 pounds. I like the side impact aspect of this seat. That is a big plus for this seat.This seat has a great instruction booklet, pictures and instructions that help you install, get the seatbelts where they should be and the seat level. This seat is easy to wipe off if something spills on it, especially from the cup holder that can be attached.It is large, but we have it in a large car and do not move it around so we don’t have a problem with it. We are really happy with it. When we use this we feel our baby is safe and secure.

Arlene Ehrenberg, AZ
★★★★★

A very good car seat

The Safety 1st Alpha Elite 65 Convertible car seat is a very nice seat. The best feature is the ability to convert this from a rear facing to forward facing car seat that grows with your baby from 5 to 100 lbs.! The LATCH system is also great, so you can latch the special belts directly into the car, without having to struggle with the seat belt.The material is soft, but feels thick and durable. It is easy to clean spit up and milk with just a wipe. The belts loosen easily to accommodate putting the child in, and tighten for safety. It seems comfortable and very sturdy. And the extra head support is a nice feature, in case of an accident. It is lightweight for you to remove and carry around easily.The removable cup holder is also a great plus! And the arm rests make this the perfect seat for style, comfort, and safety! I really love this seat! I highly recommend it!

Darcy Mooreton, ND
★★★★★

Cute seat, easy to use.

This seat is absolutely adorable! My baby girl was captivated by the flower print the first few times she used it. The straps are easy to adjust and you don’t even have to get it out of the car to do!!!!!!!!!!! Also the padding comes off easily which is great fore cleaning it!!!

Lynette Clayton, NJ
★★★★★

Very nice, well constructed car seat!

Got this for my youngest grandson and couldn’t be happier with it. Even though this car seat is not a higher end car seat it has features that SHOULD be in the higher end line. For the price and what you get, you will be very happy with it.It is easy to install and the instruction book is in large print and is easy to read. Most instruction booklets are useless and you are left to having to figure out yourself. This booklet has everything that you need in it. The construction of the seat is excellent and I especially like the extra padding around the head area. Very nice and secure! The strap to loosen or tighten is easy to use and does not slip out and does not twist as in some other straps. Another nice feature is the cup holder which can be removed if not in use. This will come in handy when my grandson gets older and will be able to take a zippy cup with him in the car.The only drawback and it is a small one is that my grandson can’t see around the head cushions but this is a minor thing for protection of your little one’s head in case of an accident. Love the car seat and it’s features!

Winifred Rock Glen, PA
★★★★★

Decent seat for the price

We have the Maxi Cosi Pria as our main car seat. Purchased this one for my sister so Auntie would have a car seat when babysitting the little one. Minus the built in cup holder and padded chest restraints, the high-end version is not all that different from this more economical version…only $150 dollars more pricey. All around a good buy.

Nona Randolph, WI
★★★★★

Car Seat & Booster ~ Up To Hundred Pounds

Very well padded seat, back and head areas, this is a very structurally sound car seat with thick metal in key structural areas.It’s very easy to use and will provide comfortable, safe seating from five pounds, to one hundred pounds.After going through every feature of this seat, I personally feel it’s as good or better than some higher priced models.I felt it’s every bit as good in padding, comfort, and ease of use as ‘Safety First’ higher priced model’Safety 1st Complete Air 70 Protect Convertible Car Seat. Brody – which I’ve mentioned in a footnote the main difference.HEADREST HEIGHT ~ Loosen (by several inches) the ‘harness release lever’ & the ‘top anchorage strap’,then press both plastic headrest levers inwards towards each other ~ pull up / down ~ for desired height.(Be sure the back metal bar is locked in a channel)CHEST BUCKLE ~ There’s nothing to press, to place chest clip mid-chest (even with armpits)simply grasp the clip in it’s center (thumb & index) and slide up / down the straps.The button is only for opening the clip.UNBUCKLE HARNESS ~ I found the red button hard to press. Holding straps together with one handand pushing toward buckle helps. When the button is pressed, the tongues sorta spring out.HARNESS RELEASE LEVER ~ Under flap. I first took this to be the plastic flange – but it’s not.Just beyond that there’s a metal lever that needs pushed straight forward & down.ARMRESTS ~ Padded – 9″ long armrest, easy to pull out, then rotate down to use / or up to store.Automatically lock in place when ‘home’ in either direction.SEAT PAD ~ The entire pad is removable from the plastic shell for cleaning.Hand wash ~ air dry. (no bleach – can not dry clean)INSTALLING IN AUTO ~ Two options, LATCH and VEHICLE SEAT BELTS (choose only one)The LATCH system is preferred but can only be used in vehicles that have the LATCH anchors bars installedand designated for LATCH seating. Most vehicles after Sept 2002 have the LATCH option.If LATCH isn’t an option ~~~ before you buy this car seat you may want to check your auto’s owners manualOR contact Dorel Juvenile Consumer Relations Dept to be sure your VEHICLE BELTS will work with this seat.There are some vehicles that won’t work with this child restraint seat, or will require extra stepsINSTRUCTIONS ~ The instruction booklet is large print, with detailed illustration for each instruction.It’s 62 pages long, but the length is mainly do to lg print and spaciousness which is nice for notation.48 pages are repeats of basic information, in accordance with various seat installations,rear facing – forward facing – LATCH or vehicle seat belt.Completely in English, only.AIRCRAFT ~ This seat is certified for use on aircraft ONLY when used with the internal harness.It isn’t certified for aircraft when used as a belt positioning booster.PERTINENT INFORMATION ~ Basic, nut shell information is conveniently found on labels on back sides of seat.TIP ~ Adjust all harnesses for a good fit for your child before installing in auto.Place a single layered towel underneath & behind the child seat to protect it from damaging the auto’s upholsteryA correct position for a child is determined by their height, weight and age.REAR FACING > 5 point harness = 5 – 40 lbs & 19″ – 40″ tall & under one yr oldFORWARD FACING > 5 point harness = 22 – 65 lbs & 34″ -52″ tall & over one yr old.BOOSTER > 5 point harness IS REMOVED = 40 to 100 lbs & 43″ – 52″ tall & over one yr old.Uses vehicle lap/shoulder belt combination.The child restraint seat has an expiration date molded into the back side of the main plastic shell.The one I received expires December 2021.The seat I received is patented in USA & Canada ~ but imported by Dorel Juvenile Group, Columbus, Ind, from China.One year warranty, but then can purchase replacement parts if needed.FOOTNOTE ~ This model does NOT features what ‘Safety First’ calls ‘Air Protect side impact technology’which is two step protection from violent side impacts.But the feature is found on ‘Safety 1st Complete Air 70 Protect Convertible Car Seat. Brody.which includes extra padded ‘head muffs’ which are 2″ thick & 7″ in dia. which shields a child’s headand allows air to escape from the headrest, channeling the crash energy away from the child.

Ida Wahoo, NE
★★★★★

Strong

Strong and safe this car seat is still very comfortable and beatiful. Easy to be managed and to be adjusted.

Geraldine Switzer, WV
★★★★★

Large, kind of a tight fit

This seat is working well for my 23 month old. I like the side impact protection cushions around his head, although these do make it a little harder to get him into the seat. The seat is a tight fit for my Honda Insight when it is rear facing. The front seat is up about halfway in order to fit the carseat in the back in the rearfacing mode. If you have an infant, definitely check the fit to your car because the seat would have to be tilted far back for a child under 20 pounds, which would push the front seat way up (if it would fit at all). One great feature is that the top seatbelt slots (behind shoulders) adjust simply by pushing two levers and sliding the whole back cushion up or down – no tedious rethreading of the belts! This seat is definitely a step up from our previous very basic costco seat, and it seems more comfortable for my son.

Aline Riverhead, NY
★★★★★

very nice but I like my Britax better

I’ve had a few different styles of car seats before- infant only bucket seats, another convertible seat, and a forward facing only convert to booster style seat. I’ve haven’t used my convertible seats with an infant before, so I can’t comment on that. I have used them with a 2-3 year old. What I like about this Safety 1st seat: the fabric seems to stay cool in the Florida heat and easy to clean, the shoulder straps and head piece is easy to adjust without having to rethread straps, and the armrests seem to be very popular with my preschooler. It also comes with a cupholder with is nice (I had to buy one as an add on for my other convertible seat). Things I don’t like as much on this seat compared to others: there is some padding around the sides of the seat that seems to crowd my 39 lb. daughter when she sits in it. It is probably nice for a smaller baby/toddler, but for a bigger child it seems like it should be removable and I can’t see that it is. My Britax convertible seat has nice seatbelt lockoffs, that make it work with almost any seatbelt. This Safety 1st seat has a lock-off clip that is supposed to do the same thing, but it is harder to figure out and without it there are seats in my car where I can’t use this seat. I definitely like the safe seatbelt installation features of my more expensive convertible seat over this Safety 1st. Overall, I like the seat and it is going to work great for a second seat for my parents to use in their car. But I can see why I paid more for my first convertible seat and I will continue to use that one in my vehicle.

Karina Quincy, OH