I received a Graco Milestone All-in-1 Car Seat at no cost to facilitate this review and giveaway. All opinions are my own.
Having two kids under 3 means there’s a lot of cross-usage of toys, clothes and baby gear. I’m always looking for versatile, durable children’s products to get the biggest bang for my buck, especially the best car seats.
I was recently made privy to the difference between a convertible car seat and an all-in-one car seat (I had not a clue!). A convertible car seat transitions from rear-facing to forward-facing, while an all-in-one car seat transitions from rear-facing to forward-facing to a booster (hello versatile!). I love it when I find a product that will last through multiple ages, stages, and growth cycles, and the Graco® Milestone All-in-1 Car Seat is just that.
Graco’s Milestone™ All-in-1 Car Seat grows with your child for comfort at every stage, from 5 lbs. all the way to 100 lbs. Both of my children, my baby, ages 7 months and 2.5 years, are rear-facing. While this car seat CAN be used forward-facing harnessed for toddlers 20-65 lbs, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and NHTSA recommend that children be rear-facing until the age of 2 or until they reach the maximum rear-facing height and weight (and that children stay harnessed as long as possible). Since this car seat is able to remain rear-facing for children 40 lbs. or less, this review will be primarily of the car seat installed in the rear-facing position.
Before we take a look at all the bells and whistles, it’s important to note that this post is merely a review of the car seat and not an instruction manual. ALWAYS read through the car seats user’s manual before using a car seat. The Graco Milestone™ All-in-1 Car Seat product instructions can be accessed digitally here in PDF.
Infant-to-Toddler and Adjustability
Out of the box, this car seat is a breeze to set up before vehicle installation. Included with the car seat is a head rest pillow, body pillow, harness covers, LATCH strap, cup holder, and user manual. I only had to adjust the headrest and the recline before installing in the backseat of my 4-door sedan.
As soon as I pulled the car seat out of the box, my daughter ran over like I had just brought home a new puppy. Immediately, she grabbed her bowl of crackers and wanted to take a seat. I told her to hop in so I could adjust the Simply Safe Adjust™ Harness System to accommodate her 36″ height.
Let me tell you, this is by far my FAVORITE feature of this car seat since it cuts out manually having to adjust shoulder strap height (you know, those pesky silver claps that you have to unhook after turning the car seat backwards and upside down just to access). With the Graco Milestone, all you have to do is squeeze the red adjustment handle and move headrest up or down for the proper harness height!
This makes it a breeze when switching car seat users (in my case, my 20-pound 24″ infant to/from my 24-pound 36″ toddler, both in rear-facing position). Rear facing, the harness straps must be at or just below the shoulders and top of head must be at least 1″ below the red headrest/harness adjustment handle.
This car seat/booster adjusts to 10 different heights!
The buckle position should be in the slot that is closest to your little one without it being underneath him or her. This does need to be manually adjusted via the underside of the car seat. While my kids are 2 years apart in age, they aren’t that far of in measurements, so, surprisingly, the buckle position is the same for each of them making it even easier to accommodate either child.
In addition to the easy height adjustment, the car seat features a 4-position recline. In rear-facing position, the recline must be set to position 1 or 2. You will know which position is correct for your backseat once you install the car seat in your car. There is a handy “ball” level marker on the side of the car seat, which needs to fall completely in the blue zone.
I wish I could tell you this is an easy install, but for me, there’s no such thing when it comes to car seats. I always feel like I’m doing some obscure yoga routine when I’m installing a car seat. What makes it a little easier is the InRight™ LATCH system. Had I not read the instructions, I would not have even realized this was included with the car seat since it was hidden in a handy storage area beneath the car seat. To remove it from storage, just push in on the red buttons on the LATCH connectors.
I installed this car seat rear-facing in a midsize sedan. The biggest pain point was getting it to tightly fit. Countless LATCH belt pulls were needed before it fit snug (not moving more than 1″ from side to side and front to back). I searched the manual, but didn’t see a mention that the top tether strap should be used when rear facing as an anchor (like another car seat I own), so I was a bit confused by that omission. The only thing I read was that the top tether strap is to be used when using forward-facing.
Neither of me children are of booster requirements yet, but I love that this car seat will transition to a booster when the time is ready. To use this seat as a booster, the child must be at least 3 years old, 30-100 lbs and 38-57.” However, the seat can be used forward-facing with the harness up to 65 lbs and 49,” so we plan on using it as a harnessed car seat until then.
When it comes time to use the seat as a booster, the seat easily transitions with just a few simple steps. First, you’ll need to store the harness. Remove the lower seat pad to expose the harness storage door, then move the buckle strap to the rear slot. Open the harness storage door and place harness, chest clip, buckle, and buckle tongues inside. Easy peasy!
Additional Info to Consider
Since the size of each child (and backseat) varies, here are some measurements that may be important for you when considering purchasing the Milestone All-in-1 Car Seat. It stands at 26″ high, 17.56″ wide and 21″ deep and weighs 19 lbs.
If you travel with your kids in tow via plane a fair amount, it’s important to note that this car seat is certified for use in aircraft when using with the internal harness system. This child restraint is NOT certified for use in aircraft when used as a booster seat because aircrafts do not have shoulder belts.
Blowouts, spilled juice and car sickness happens (typically all within a lucky one-week time period for our family). Removing the seat cushion is easy (it snaps) and can be machined washed. The other components of the car seat can also be cleaned (primarily by hand with mild soap and water with the exception of the buckle).
Included with this car seat are harness covers and a body pillow. Harness covers can be used when they do not interfere with the placement of the chest clip at armpit level. Velcro makes it easy to remove these covers. The body pillow must be used if the child’s shoulders are below the lowest harness setting. The car seat arrives with the support pillow inserted. To remove, unbuckle the buckle and pull out the body support.
Last, but not least, this seat comes with a cup holder. Many times this feature is an accessory OPTION, but this time it’s included! It is removable (to be washed) and can be placed on either side of the seat. My daughter is still grasping the concept of a cup holder. She’s having a hard time accepting that when she’s “all done” with her juice, she can just put it in her OWN cup holder and not hand it to me. She doesn’t quite understand that it can just hold the cup when not in use.
Overall, my husband and I really like this car seat. It’s versatile, intuitive and very user friendly, or as my mom says, “Grandma arthritis friendly.” The straps are easy to loosen and tighten and it fits well in both our sedan and SUV. I love the head support and find comfort that this seat will keep my kiddos safe while on the road.
You can purchase this car seat often on sale via Amazon.