Evenflo Big Kid Sport Review

Evenflo Big Kid Sport -- great for carpooling!

Evenflo Big Kid Sport — great for carpooling!

If you’re looking for a lightweight, relatively narrow, inexpensive booster, cast your gaze towards the Evenflo Big Kid Sport.  The dual cupholders on the armrests are sure to make any big kid extra happy too!

CSFTL Quick Stats

  • High back booster weight range: 40-110 pounds
  • High back booster height range: 44-57 inches tall
  • Backless booster weight range: 40-110 pounds
  • Backless booster height range: 44-57 inches tall
  • Highest booster guide position: 19 inches
  • Expiration: 6 years
  • IIHS Best Bet for both high back and  backless modes
  • This particular booster seat is not currently available in Canada, however the Evenflo Big Kid and Big Kid Amp are.

 

Measurements

  • Width at widest point: 19.5 inches at the cupholders
  • Maximum height: 33.25 inches from the base to the top of the head rest at the tallest headrest setting
  • Minimum height: 44 inches
  • Seating area depth: 15.5 inches
  • Padding gap when headrest is fully raised: 3.5 inches
  • Width at narrowest point of seating area: 10 inches
  • Weight, high back booster mode: 6.32 pounds
  • Weight, backless booster mode:

Carpooling Essentials

  • Easy to set up without (very much or any) adult assistance
  • Easy to carry
  • Consistent belt fit

Assembly

Evenflo BigKid requires some assembly

Evenflo Big Kid Sport requires some assembly

The Big Kid Sport arrives unassembled, so be prepared to spend a few minutes putting it together.  For the most part, this was a very simple process but I’ll throw in a few pointers for you here.

The manual includes step-by-step instructions. First, attach the headrest to the back portion of the booster.  Once the headrest is attached to the booster’s back it will not come back out. At this point, the booster will no longer fit into the original box for storage, shipping, or any other reason.

It does take a bit of effort to get the headrest snapped into place, but once that’s complete, the rest of the assembly is all downhill.

Assembling the Evenflo Big Kid Sport

Assembling the Evenflo Big Kid Sport

The seat pad was not pre-assembled onto the seat bottom, and there was no mention of this portion of the assembly process in the manual, however Evenflo has confirmed that they are already in the process of revising that portion of the manual.  Prior to connecting the back and bottom pieces of the booster, put the seat pad on the backless portion of the booster.  Pro tip: start by putting the fabric over one cupholder / armrest, then the other, and then securing the rest of it in place.

Staying Connected

Evenflo Big Kid Sport

Evenflo Big Kid Sport

Once the Big Kid Sport was assembled, the back stayed attached to the bottom without issue. I was able to carry the seat around and the seat bottom didn’t flop open like some other boosters do.  This connection plus the seat’s minimal weight means that it’s possible for a kiddo to bring this seat with them for carpools and get set up without too much help from a nearby adult.

Our model was able to carry the Big Kid Sport around himself when the seat was in both high back and backless booster modes.  This is a critical piece of the carpooling puzzle.

Usage

Evenflo Big Kid Sport height adjustment

To adjust the height of the belt guide, squeeze the handle on back of the headrest and pull up until the headrest locks into the correct height.  The tallest of the five headrest positions is approximately 19 inches.

At CSFTL, we typically recommend using the high back portion of a booster seat until it is outgrown.  When the bottom of the belt guide can no longer be adjusted so that it’s above the child’s shoulders, then it’s time to switch over to the backless mode.  This is easily accomplished by removing the back and attaching the shoulder belt guide.  Ensure that the child is sitting in a vehicle seat that provides structural support to at least the tops of the child’s ears.

The backless portion of this booster can be used until the child meets any of the following criteria:

  • the child reaches the weight limit of 110 pounds
  • the child reaches the height limit of 57 inches tall
  • the tops of the child’s ears are over the car’s seat back or head restraint

 

Backless boosters are best reserved for full-time use in the 8 and older crowd because the child needs a fair bit of maturity to remain stay upright while distracted, silly or sleeping.

Fit to Child

High Back Mode

Evenflo Big Kid Sport high back mode 9 years old

My Little is currently 9 years old, weighs 50 pounds, and is 50 inches tall.  He’s used to riding in boosters with deeper head wings, so I was a little concerned that if he were to take a spontaneous car nap he’d have a difficult time staying in position.  Fortunately, we didn’t experience this, although he did not find it as comfortable or easy to doze in as his regular boosters.  My older Little, who is a very slumpy sleeper, would have struggled enormously to stay properly positioned in this booster.  We are also used to boosters which attach to the car with lower anchors, so remembering to buckle the booster back in when he got out of it took some getting used to.

Vehicle Seat Shape and Seating Positions

The shape of the Evenflo Big Kid Sport works well in some very challenging vehicles.  The open belt guides prevent some of the vehicle belt retraction issues that cause a lot of trouble in vehicles like the Chrysler Town & Country and Mazda 5.

The booster’s base is contoured into a V shape.  This shape suggests that the Big Kid Sport may fit well in vehicles with large side bolsters since it will nestle nicely next to many of them, rather than sitting on top of them.

Evenflo Big Kid Sport padding gap

Evenflo Big Kid Sport padding gap

The similar Evenflo Big Kid Amp (will soon be known as the Big Kid LX) was one of our top picks for tight 3-across configurations when a high back booster was needed because of the lack of protruding contours.  Unfortunately, the Big Kid Sport may not work as well in tight spots as the regular Big Kid since the armrests feature two moulded cup holders.  However, since the base is only about 15 inches wide it may still work  in some configurations.  Some children may also find it more difficult to navigate around these cupholders in order to buckle up. Just like the Big Kid Amp/LX, the Big Kid Sport lacks fabric in the lumbar region when the back is raised towards its maximum height.  Some children may be bothered by the bare plastic, however my son did not seem to notice it.

When the back is fully raised, there is a gap in the fabric of approximately 3.5 inches.

Fit to Child

Backless Mode

9 Years Old

Evenflo Big Kid Sport backless mode

We typically use a high back booster, however at 9 years old, 50 pounds and 50 inches tall, this model is old enough and mature enough to use a backless booster as needed.  With the shoulder belt adjuster the seat belt fit like a dream.  He found the booster comfortable and easy to buckle.  The deep seat pan provided a good amount of support for his thighs as well.

Important Information: Where to Find

Evenflo Big Kid Sport date of manufacture sticker and manual storage

Evenflo Big Kid Sport date of manufacture sticker and manual storage

Expiration: The Evenflo Big Kid/Amp expires 6 years after the date when it was manufactured.  The sticker which lists the date of manufacture, model name, and expiration date can be found on the seat bottom.

Manual Storage: The manual is stored on the bottom of the seat as shown here.  This is helpful as you will always have the manual available when needed.

FAA Approval: Like all dedicated boosters, this seat is not FAA approved.  However, because of its fairly compact size and lightweight nature, it should be easy to bring on board the plane and either stow under the seat, or in the overhead compartment for the child to use at their destination.

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Does not require vehicle head support in high back mode
  • Converts to a backless booster
  • Fabric padding is machine washable in cold water, on delicate & may be tumble dried briefly on low heat
  • Most of its components are recyclable

Cons

  • Shallow head wings and torso support
  • No lower anchors
  • Can only be used on vehicle seats behind a padded vehicle seat back.  Cannot be used if the vehicle seat in front of it isn’t padded.

Overall Thoughts

I found the Evenflo Big Kid Sport to be very simple to use, and it provided a great belt fit on my son in our 2012 Honda Odyssey. It may sound silly, but I was pleased that when carrying the booster by its back, the bottom did not detach itself.  The contours of the base allowed for very easy buckling, and we experienced no issues with the shoulder belt not wanting to retract, or with the shoulder belt falling out of or getting twisted in the belt guide.  My son found it to easy to buckle up and comfortable, even on our maiden voyage of close to two straight hours.  He did wish that it had deeper head wings, since that’s what he’s used to. He was not bothered by the unpadded area at the bottom of the back piece which was exposed due to the fact that he’s nearing the growth limit for the back portion.

Since the belt guides stayed the same as they are on the Big Kid version, this booster should still work nicely in vehicles which are known to be problematic with many other boosters.

Our friends at Evenflo are offering a Big Kid Sport to one of our lucky readers! Enter below for your chance to win, read our terms and conditions before you enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway