The Graco Milestone car seat is a convertible seat that has plenty of added safety and comfort features to try and win the hearts of parents-to-be. In this Graco Milestone Review, we go over the pros and cons of the seat and then give our overall impressions and recommendations.
If you’re expecting a child, safety is likely at the forefront of your mind. That safety is especially vital in the car, so parents-to-be spend lots of time looking into various car seat options for their little ones. From travel systems with car seats and bases included with your stroller to all-in-one and grow-with-me options, there are plenty of car seats on the market for parents to investigate.
One of the most well-known names in baby gear is Graco. They’ve been in the business since 1942, so they’re a brand parents believe they can trust and that is easy to find both in stores and online. Graco claims that its number one priority is safety – specifically, safety in the car – so its values align well with what parents and parents-to-be are looking for when on the hunt for a car seat.
With all of that in mind, we wanted to investigate how well Graco’s values and commitments are matched with their Milestone all-in-1 convertible car seat. The goal of this Graco Milestone review is to save parents time as they search for the best car seat for their little one. We will go over what you should look for in a car seat, talk about both the good and bad features of the Graco Milestone seat, and give our overall opinions and recommendation.
What to Look for in a Car Seat
Car seats seem relatively straightforward until you have to buy one. Suddenly it’s like there are a million different features, colors, and safety ratings to sift through. You can scan the Internet for days looking at different models and brand names, talk to “experts” at your local baby stores, and read reviews for hours on end without ever really gaining ground on knowing what makes a good car seat.
We want to save you some time and headaches by giving you our list of things to look for in a car seat so that you can have a head start when you begin your search. Here’s a quick list of the categories we think you should consider; we’ll go over each item in detail below:
- Type of car seat: rear-facing, rear, and forward-facing, or booster
- Extra features
- Safety features
What Type of Car Seat is Right for You?
Before you become a parent, a car seat seems like it’s just a car seat. They all feel interchangeable, but that’s far from the truth. In fact, there are four different types of seats you can choose from when you start looking, and it’s good to know which one is right for you before you begin to shop so you don’t waste time looking at every style, brand, and model in the store.
Most states have laws about children in car seats that include ages when children must be in a car seat, the type of car seat, and where inside the vehicle that seat is allowed to sit. The laws are different in every state, although most require children up to a certain age or weight to sit in rear-facing seats and older children to be in booster seats until they reach a certain height.
Most states only require rear-facing car seats until a child is one year old and at least twenty pounds. However, most car seat safety experts and manufacturers recommend leaving your children in a rear-facing seat until they reach the height and weight limits of that seat for the sake of safety.
A rear-facing seat is probably what you’re used to seeing parents carrying infants around in at the store. They face the rear of the vehicle, which experts claim is the safest position for infants and toddlers in the case of an accident. These seats typically fit children up to around two years old, but each one has different height and weight requirements, so you’ll want to check before you buy to get the most use out of your seat.
Forward and Rear-Facing
You may also hear folks refer to these seats as convertible or all-in-one car seats, but regardless of what you call them, these seats are by far the most versatile. A forward and rear-facing seat can grow with your child so that you can use it from infancy up to and beyond their toddler years. Some seats even convert into boosters for much older children, which is great if you’re hoping to get a lot of use out of your seat.
Car seats are pricey, so convertible car seats are a great option to save a little dough versus having to buy a new seat when your child outgrows their rear-facing infant seat in a couple of years. These seats are just as safe as non-convertible seats and often come with a base for ease of use, just like your typical infant seat.
A booster seat is the last stage of the car seat. Booster seats are typically meant for children older than four years old and less than eight, although some states require them for children who do not meet the certain height or weight limits. Most state laws also include provisions about booster seats in the back seat only unless your vehicle does not have a back seat.
Extra Features to Consider
One thing that can overwhelm parents as they look through the abundance of car seats on the market today is all of the unique features available on car seats these days. From cup holders to storage compartments, car seats aren’t as basic as they used to be. Many come with padded straps so you can avoid buying strap covers; some even come with built-in snack trays.
If you can, look for a car seat that comes with the add-ons you would likely end up buying separately like a seat protector for your car, organizers, cup holders, and padded straps for comfort. If you can purchase these features built-in, then you’ll likely end up spending far less in the long run.
Added Safety Features
Every car seat on the market has to meet rigorous safety standards in tests, but some have added features that give parents some extra incentive to purchase them. Some of these added features include seatbelt guides, especially for booster or forward-facing seats, side impact protection, impact protection shields that act as a harness in case of an accident, chest pads, lateral headrests, and adjustable positioning.
All of the features mentioned above are available on some, but not all, car seats, so parents can choose which they believe are necessary additions and which are okay to skip for the time being. One additional safety feature we really like is the aircraft approved feature. If your seat is aircraft approved you can travel more safely with your young children, which will help to give you peace of mind.
The Pros and Cons of the Graco Milestone
The Graco Milestone All-in-1 car seat is a convertible car seat that can grow with your child from birth until they are 100lbs. The seat converts from a rear-facing seat with a five-pound minimum and 40-pound maximum weight to a forward-facing 22 to 65-pound seat, and then finally again to a belt-positioning booster seat that will fit a child up to 100lbs.
In addition to the easy conversions from one stage to the next, this car seat comes with a Simply Safe Adjust harness system, a four-position recline and an InRight LATCH system for easy installation at all stages. The seat is also side-impact tested and comes with a steel-reinforced frame and plush inserts to help keep your child comfortable.
The Milestone has EPS foam, a washable seat cover, an integrated harness storage compartment, and a removable cup holder. Even with all of these added safety and comfort features, the seat only weighs 19.4lbs together with its base, making it easy enough to carry even for mom’s who are recovering from a C-section and have limits on how much they can lug around.
- LATCH system
- FAA approved
- Bonus comfort features
- Four-position recline
- Ten-year lifespan
- Meets or exceeds all US safety checks
- Extended rear-facing use
- Infant pillow inserts included
- Machine washable padding
- Latch, and seatbelt systems can be challenging to tighten for some consumers
- Food crumbs can get into harness tension latch and cause it to loosen
- Might be too large for mid-size or compact vehicles
- Might be too large to use with other car seats in the same vehicle
- No base
- Back is not removable in booster mode
How it Compares
Although this is specifically a Graco Milestone review, we want to focus on how the seat compares to the competition by taking a quick look at two other car seats by different companies that parents might consider in place of the Milestone seat. Those seats are the Evenflo Sonus 65 and the Safety 1st Alpha Omega Elite.
Evenflo Sonus 65
The Evenflo Sonus 65 is a convertible car seat that works both as a rear-facing seat for your infant and a forward-facing seat for your toddler up to 50lbs. It cannot carry your child past their young toddler years like the Milestone seat, but it does have a lot of great extra features that make it a contender in the same category as the Milestone seat.
The Sonus 65 is FAA approved for flying, exceeds many US safety standards, and is side-impact tested for safety. It is a lightweight seat that is easy to install thanks to available live video chatting with certified installation specialists. This seat also has machine washable seat pads and pillows and is made with breathable fabric. It’s a good option if you’re looking for something a little less long term than the Milestone seat.
Safety 1st Alpha Omega Elite
The Alpha Omega Elite by Safety 1st is marketed as an all-in-one car seat, which means it is supposed to be able to convert from infant seat all the way up to booster as your child grows. That means that the Alpha Omega Elite should work just like the Milestone by Graco, but is that actually the case? There is a lot of debate about the safety of the Alpha Omega for an infant that doesn’t exist with the Milestone seat.
Beyond safety issues, the seat is also extremely bulky, so you won’t want it directly behind the driver’s seat. The seat guidelines make average sized children hard to fit in any of the various transitions, which is unfortunate because the seat is relatively easy to install and has a lot of nice added features that could make parent’s lives simpler. At the end of the day, we’d have to recommend the Milestone seat over the Alpha Omega.
Our Overall Impressions
Although there are pros and cons to this car seat, the results of our Graco Milestone review is that we believe this seat is one we can recommend. This seat has added safety and comfort features that we love and ten-year expiration date so that you can use the seat for the whole time your child will need it. We love that it is easy to clean and easy to install as well.
This seat is an excellent option if you have a large gap between your kids or if you are planning only to have one child or drive an SUV or crossover vehicle. It may not be ideal for multiple children or use in a compact to mid-size car because of its bulky size. It does keep the weight down to a reasonable level, however, which we love.
Overall, we believe that we can recommend the Milestone with a clear conscious because of its safety, ease of installation, and added features. We hope you’ll give it a look if you’re in the market for a convertible car seat.
Featured image source: flickr