Evenflo GoTime Sport Booster

Evenflo recently released a brand new booster seat to the Canadian market. After Evenflo announced the retirement of the much loved Big Kid AMP Booster last year, we have been eager to try its replacement, the GoTime Sport! So far, the kids we’ve had ride in this booster have given it two big thumbs up!

GoTime Sport Limits:

  • 40 – 120 lb (18 – 54.4 kg) in high back booster mode and backless booster mode
  • 44 – 57” (112 – 145 cm) in high back booster mode and backless booster mode
  • At least four years old**

**It is worth noting that only the tallest of four year olds will meet the height minimum of 44?, as 50th percentile kids don’t reach that height until age 5.5 — an excellent age to start thinking about boostering. Most kids don’t have the impulse control or maturity to properly and safely use a booster seat until 5.5-6 years old. Some might be ready sooner, and others not until later. It’s important not to rush this step.

GoTime Sport Important Info:

  • Expires six years from date of manufacture
  • Does not require a vehicle head restraint behind it
  • Highest belt guide position is 19”
  • Shoulder belt clip for use in backless booster mode
  • Machine washable and dry-able
  • MSRP $79.99

GoTime Sport Measurements:

  • Tallest shoulder belt guide position: 19”
  • Lowest shoulder belt guide position: 14”
  • Widest point (at cupholders and side wings): 19.25”
  • Width at the back (arm rest to arm rest): 14”
  • Internal width at shoulders: 12.5”
  • Internal width at hips: 11”
  • Depth of seat pan as high back booster: 13.75”
  • Depth of seat pan as backless booster: 15”

Assembly

The Evenflo GoTime Sport ships in a relatively small box for a high back booster seat, much to my surprise! This is because the GoTime arrives disassembled. Assembly instructions can be found in the manual and additional assembly instructions are included on the “Troubleshooting Your GoTime Booster Assembly” supplement found in the box with the booster. Assembly is an 8 step process for the Canadian version of the GoTime Sport. Set aside a few minutes to read over the instructions in the manual and the additional assembly supplement carefully before getting started.

Especially important is not to miss the step for installing the booster inserts on the back of the GoTime. The booster inserts are mandatory and must be installed before using the GoTime booster in high back booster mode. It may be easy for parents and caregivers to miss this step as it comes after the last step of checking your work in the manual. Do continue reading on to the next page where the instructions for installing the booster inserts are outlined.

Booster inserts – cheekily nicknamed “bat wings” amongst techs getting to know this seat – line up roughly with a child’s shoulder blades, but are attached on the outside back of the seat.


Using the GoTime Sport

When used in high back booster mode, the head rest of the GoTime is easily adjusted. Simply squeeze the grey handle at the top of the head rest and pull up or push down until the shoulder belt guides are at or just above the child’s shoulders. With the GoTime, there’s no need to reach in behind the seat as the adjustment handle is accessible from the front of the head rest. The GoTime has seven headrest positions and the highest shoulder belt guide position is approximately 19”.

When your child has outgrown the shoulder belt guide height in high back booster mode, you can remove the back of the GoTime and continue using it as a backless booster. In backless booster mode, the GoTime has the same height and weight limits as it does in high back booster mode (44 to 57” or 40 to 120 lb). The GoTime comes with a shoulder belt clip for use in backless booster mode. This clip will help position the shoulder portion of the seatbelt properly over the child’s shoulder. It should be used if the shoulder belt fit is not optimal without it.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the cup holders on the GoTime. I know for some kids, cup holders can be the deciding factor in choosing their favourite seat. The GoTime has two cup holders that are part of the seat shell. That means they are not removable for washing. They are smooth on the inside though which makes wiping them out easy enough.

Fit to Vehicle

We tried the Evenflo GoTime Sport in a 2017 Nissan Versa Note, 2019 BMW X4, 2016 BMW X5, 2014 Honda Odyssey, 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan with Stow & Go, 2014 Honda CRV, 2015 Toyota Sienna, and 2022 Tesla Model 3.

As the Evenflo GoTime Sport is quite a bit wider than its predecessor, it’s unlikely to be a top pick for tight seating situations (like fitting two seats side by side or fitting three across). That being said, it is narrower in the back than at the front which may allow it to fit well in sport-style vehicle seats that might have more pronounced side bolsters in the outboard seats.

The Booster Inserts (aka bat wings) on the GoTime will keep this booster sitting more upright in some vehicles. In vehicles with seats that are naturally more reclined, the GoTime only seemed a little more upright than other boosters we’ve tried. In vehicles with relatively upright vehicle seats, it was definitely noticeable that the booster was sitting quite upright. An added bonus of these booster inserts is that in vehicles with fixed or forward leaning head restraints, it’s unlikely those vehicle head restraints will make contact with the GoTime or push it forward at all. That’s great news for those with forward leaning head restraints that must remain in place.

If you have a middle vehicle seat with an arm rest or cup holder that pulls down from the seat back, you may find that the booster inserts of the GoTime sink into the seams/edges of that stored arm rest/cup holder assembly in the vehicle seat back. I found this to be the case in a 2017 Nissan Versa Note where the width of the booster inserts just happened to perfectly match the width of the arm rest/cup holder pull down when it was stored in the seat back. The GoTime booster inserts did sink into the seat back in this vehicle, but after sending photos to Evenflo, this was given the okay. This was a non-issue in the other vehicles I tried the GoTime in as the booster inserts didn’t line up perfectly with those middle seat arm rests/cup holders in the other vehicles.

We were pleased to see that the GoTime Sport fit so nicely in the 2022 Tesla Model 3. It has been challenging to find booster seats that work well in this vehicle as it has fixed forward leaning head rests, pronounced side bolsters, and recessed fixed buckle stalks. The narrow back of the GoTime Sport base meant it did not sit on top of the buckle and it left lots of room for easy buckling. The Booster Inserts (aka bat wings) kept the GoTime well in front of the vehicle head rest so there was no interference.

The only difficulty we experienced with the GoTime in any of these vehicles was in the third row outboard seats of the 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan – known for its notoriously challenging seat belt geometry. In the outboard positions (driver side and passenger side), belt retraction was poor. That means that when the child leans forward slowly (nose to knees) and then sits back upright quickly, the shoulder portion of the seatbelt lagged behind the child and remained loose. Good belt retraction is a key component of proper booster fit, and we want to see that shoulder belt stay with the child’s torso and remain snug against their body when they sit back upright. For this reason, we would not recommend using the Evenflo GoTime Sport in the 3rd row outboard seats of this generation Dodge Grand Caravan, or in any other vehicle seating position where retraction is poor.

As with any new car seat or booster seat you intend to purchase for your children and your vehicle, we recommend trying it out before buying.

GoTime Sport High Back Booster

We recommend that children remain in their high back booster until they outgrow it. Belt fit in a booster, whether that’s a high back or a backless, is key to booster fit. In our experience, belt fit is best in a high back booster. Regardless of whether your child is riding in a high back booster or a backless booster, proper belt fit is the same: the lap belt should be low across the thighs and hips, and the shoulder belt needs to make contact with the chest, cross the collarbone, and sit centred on the shoulder.

The advantage to a high back booster seat, especially for new booster riders, is that the back of the booster provides a physical reminder to the child to sit upright for the whole ride, every ride. The headwings also help prevent a child who has fallen asleep from slumping or leaning out of position. If you have a child who still sleeps in the car, teach them to look up at the ceiling of the vehicle when they feel sleepy. This will help ensure they remain upright in their high back booster seat even if they fall asleep. The headwings and sidewings of the GoTime Sport Booster are nice and deep, providing great support to keep a child properly positioned and minimizing the likelihood a child can lean side to side out of position.

Our GoTime Sport testers are 6 years old, 46lb, and 48″; 7 years old, 47lb, and 47″; 8 years old, 52lb, and 50″; and 10 years old, 62lb, and 53″. (Special thanks to Lindsay of Car Seat Cubs for sharing her 6 year old GoTime tester with us.) All four of our testers can still use the GoTime Sport in high back booster mode. The 10 year old needs the headrest in the highest of the 7 positions, but the 6 and 7 year olds have lots of room to grow.

Despite their depth, none of our testers found the headwings to feel confining. They found the cover to be comfortable, even for longer drives, and I’d have to agree. The padding does feel soft and squishy and I can’t press down and easily feel the hard shell of the seat through the seat pad.

Buckling up the GoTime is really simple. The armrests are surprisingly short making the routing for the seatbelt quite open. This made it easier for our 7 year old tester to buckle himself into the seat (something he still needs help with in other boosters). There’s an indentation under the armrests that the seatbelt nestles into, ensuring it’s not going anywhere during the drive.

The GoTime Sport’s seat pan in high back booster mode has a nice depth. It’s not so deep that the 7 year old’s knees can’t bend nicely over the edge of the booster, but it’s not so shallow that the 10 year old’s thighs feel unsupported. It’s a great balance.

Belt fit at the shoulder was excellent for our testers. Our 7 year old tester has narrower shoulders, and finding a booster that positions the shoulder belt centred on his shoulder has been a bit of a challenge. No problems here with the GoTime. Belt retraction is also excellent in high back booster mode for both children in the majority of the vehicles we tried (see my note above regarding the 3rd row outboard seats of the Dodge Grand Caravan).

Although the GoTime Sport does look to be more upright in high back booster mode than other boosters, none of our testers complained about this. The overall comfort of the seat certainly seemed to outweigh the more upright seating position.

GoTime Sport Backless Booster

I quite like the Evenflo GoTime Sport in backless booster mode, and our 10 year old tester does too. As a backless booster, the GoTime is comfortable and supportive. The seat pan is fairly deep at 15”, offering plenty of support for a child’s thighs.

Our 10 year old tester still has 4” to grow before he’s outgrown the height limit of the GoTime in backless booster mode. With a maximum height limit of 57” (or 4’9”) the GoTime should get many kids to the height where they can ride safely using the adult seat belt without a booster. In general, kids need a booster seat until they are at least 4’9” and they pass the 5-step test for seat belt readiness. You should expect your child to need a booster of some kind until they are between 10 and 12 years old. At 53” tall, our 10 year old tester has some time before he’ll be ready to ride without a booster seat. Some kids will need a booster seat beyond 57” before they can safely 5-step in their vehicle, so it would be nice if the GoTime had a higher standing height limit than 57”. That being said, boosters with a higher standing height limit are few and far between.

Our 10 year old tester does not need to use the shoulder belt clip with the GoTime in backless booster mode. Belt fit across the shoulder is good without that clip. Our 7 year old tester, on the other hand, does need that shoulder belt clip. Our 7 year old tester is a couple years away from riding in a backless booster on a regular basis, but for testing purposes we tried him in the GoTime in backless mode. Belt fit is great with the shoulder belt clip for him, and he found the seat comfortable.

Final Thoughts

Overall, the Evenflo GoTime Sport is a great replacement for the Evenflo Big Kid AMP. Its open belt path makes routing and buckling the seatbelt a breeze, even for new booster riders. The cover feels plush and comfy and even long drives garnered no complaints about comfort from our testers. The seven head rest positions provide a fit that grows with your child, allowing the seat to be used in high back booster mode for a good long time. Though we would prefer to see a top height for the shoulder belt guide that’s higher than 19” for this high back booster, it was more than sufficient for our testers. Our own 10 year old tester has not yet outgrown the back of the GoTime Sport, though he has long legs and a slightly shorter than average torso. The cup holders and sidewings of the GoTime Sport are fairly wide at 19.25” making this a booster that’s less likely to fit side by side with another seat or three across. With that limitation in mind, we still think the GoTime Sport booster is a great choice. The Evenflo GoTime Sport retails for $79.99 which makes it a nice price point for a long lasting booster that fits well in most vehicles.

Also available is the Evenflo GoTime LX. The difference between the Sport and the LX, according to Evenflo is minimal. “The use, child fit and key features are consistent between the two. The big differences are primarily aesthetics of hard goods and soft goods (which is easier to see when the product is side-by-side.”

Your chance to win one!

Thank you to Evenflo for providing the GoTime Sport used in this review. All comments are our own.

Also thank you to Evenflo for offering one up to our readers! Enter for your chance to win an Evenflo GoTime LX in Chardon Black fashion. Use the widget below to enter.

 

About the author:

Originally from Vancouver, Stefanie spent twelve years in Calgary and moved back to BC with her family in 2018. A CPST since 2017, she now lives in Victoria with her cat, husband, and two boys (aged 10 and 7). Stefanie is available for in-person car seat checks in Victoria. You can book with her right here.

Comments

  1. Amy T says:

    We are soon going to be in the market for a booster and I appreciate the thoroughness of this review!
    Those cup holders will definitely be a winning feature for our kiddo.

  2. Katelyn Bender says:

    I’m excited to try this in my 2016 a Honda Civic.
    We have the big kid amp and was disappointed when they discontinued it. I’m impressed by the “bat wings” and hope it helps make a good fit in my car due to the fixed and protruding headrests!

  3. Kelsey says:

    We have the Evenflo Big Kid AMP and the only thing I miss is the cup holders. I love how this one has cup holders. My son’s water bottle constantly falls out of the elastic straps, so this is an awesome addition!

  4. Erin Dawson says:

    I appreciate when booster seats narrow at the back of the base, they fit better in our rounded captain-style chairs. I’m going to be testing the Sport version while visiting grandparents for Thanksgiving!

  5. Beth R. says:

    I like that the child can dotheir sestbelt up. We have a graco nautilus and can’t easily use it in booster mode because it sits too high and our kid can’t reach over the armrests to the buckle

  6. Hayley Smith says:

    Love that it’s machine washable and dryable! Still unsure will this one fit in the third row Outbound of a dodge grandcaravan with it being wider then the amps?

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