The North American booster seat market has changed quite a bit over the course of the past couple of years as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and supply chain issues, and people traveling less. Some much-loved booster seats like the Evenflo Big Kid/AMP have been discontinued and new seats have taken their places. The Evenflo GoTime Sport/LX Booster Seat is one of these new seats and was recently released in both the United States and Canada. We are excited to take a closer look at this new, budget-friendly booster seat.
CSFTL Quick Stats
- Weight range: 40-120 pounds
- Height range: 44-57 inches
- Age: At least 4 years old. CSFTL advocates that children be at least 5 years old before riding in a booster seat.
- Expiration: 6 years from date of manufacture
- Crash replacement policy: requires replacement after any collision
- DO NOT USE in front of an active airbag
- Lowest shoulder belt guide: 14.5 inches
- Highest shoulder belt guide: 20 inches
- Width at widest point of back: 19.5 inches with padding compressed
- Width at widest point of base: 19.25 inches at cup holders
- Weight in high back mode: 7.1 pounds
- Weight in backless mode: 3.4 pounds
- Internal width at the child’s hips: 12 inches
- Internal width at the child’s knees: 12 inches
- Seat pan depth in high back mode: 14 inches
- Seat pan depth in backless mode: 15.5 inches
The Evenflo GoTime Sport/LX Booster Seat ships in a fairly small box for a high back booster (20 x 13 x 17.5 inches), which means there is some assembly required initially.
Evenflo has included an 8.5 x 11 inch sheet of paper with some of the assembly instructions to help the caregiver ensure they have assembled the booster seat correctly. There are 6 assembly steps (7 if you include the last step which is to check your work).
The large sheet included shows Step 1 on one side….. and Step 4 on the other side. Where are the rest of the steps? In the manual!
To be fair, the sheet does include a reference to the manual page numbers (pages 14 and 15) but it is a bit odd to us that Evenflo went through the trouble of printing the assembly instructions on large paper and then skipped (important) assembly steps on that paper. But we digress. The assembly instructions are as follows (we’d recommend following the manual and not just the printout to ensure you complete all the steps):
Step 1: Assemble the headrest. Insert the three posts of the headrest onto the top of the backrest. Make sure that the headrest clicks securely into the backrest (we found setting the backrest on a chair helped to provide the counter pressure needed to click the headrest in fully).
Step 2: Install adjustment handle: Align the table on the adjustment handle (light grey) with the slots on the back of the headrest. Press the adjustment handle against the back of the headrest and slide upwards until the tabs click in place.
Step 3: Assemble the backrest: Slide the adjustment track into the backrest while squeezing the adjustment handle. Once installed, make sure the track slides freely into different positions (while squeezing the handle).
Step 4: Attach the seat pad to the backrest assembly. There are ten elastic loops and two fabric tabs that ensure the seat pad is attached securely to the shell of the seat.
Step 5: Attach the seat pad to the base. Connect the elastic loops to the hooks on the back of the base, and then push the white plastic retainer clips into the corresponding holes at the front of the base.
Step 6: Position the base under the backrest and slide the backrest into the slot. Make sure the back is fully attached by pushing until you hear a click.
Note: Evenflo has confirmed that the additional insert was never intended to replace the manual, and it no longer ships with the Evenflo GoTime Sport/LX Booster Seat. If you did not receive one with your booster, do not panic! Simply follow the steps in your manual.
Booster Insert: Canadian Users Only
The Canadian GoTime Sport/LX booster seat includes one extra assembly step that is required for use. The booster inserts install by lining up the slots at the rear of the backrest (under the headrest) and snapping the inserts in.
Once the inserts are installed, they are not designed to be removed (if they require removal, the manual indicates a screwdriver may be needed).
Adjusting the Headrest
It’s important to note that a very common misuse is caregivers not raising the headrest on a booster seat as the child grows. Like most other booster seats, the Go Time Sport/LX does, in fact, grow with the child.
To adjust the headrest height as the child grows, squeeze the handle at the back of the top of the seat and pull up or push down to mode the backrest and shoulder belt guide up or down. The correct headrest position is where the shoulder belt passes through the shoulder belt guide at or slightly above the child’s shoulder, and centers the shoulder belt between the child’s shoulder and neck.
Shoulder Belt Guide
The shoulder belt guide is molded into the top of the middle portion of the backrest. We’d sort of expect this guide to be on the headrest, but it is in a location where it can grow with the child. It’s the same black plastic as the rest of the seat so it’s not totally obvious where it is. The black on black color scheme also made getting this picture oddly challenging but we managed to pull it off!
Fit to Child – High Back Booster Mode
6 Year Old
Our six year old model is 49 inches tall and weighs 51 pounds. She has quite a bit of growing room left in the Evenflo GoTime Sport/LX and the seat fits her well in high back mode – the lap belt is low on her hips, touching her thighs, and the shoulder belt is centered on her shoulder.
6 Year Old Doll
Our 6 year old doll is 48 inches tall and weighs next to nothing since she is made of fluff. Our reviewer had a bit of a challenge in buckling her in — the arm rests on the GoTime are rather short and threading them underneath, then accessing the buckle was a bit tricky. We do want to note that the human reviewers who helped with this article had no issues with buckling themselves.
6 Year Old
This model is 6 years old. She weighs 42 pounds and is 45 inches tall. She normally rides in a harnessed car seat but was willing to model for us to show how a child on the lower end of the seat’s height and weight range fits in the GoTime. She was unable to properly route the vehicle seat belt by herself. Since she isn’t used to riding in a booster, it is expected that she would need some help for a while. The lap belt sits nice and low on her hips, touching her thigh. The shoulder belt is centered across her collar bone.
6 Year Old
8 Year Old
This model weighs 70 pounds and is just shy of 5 feet tall. He’s usually rides in a high back booster so he knew exactly what to do when modelling the Go Time for us. The vehicle seat belt fit is what we’d hope for — low across the laps and right across the middle of his shoulder. We did find some retraction issues in my 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander along with a real challenge when it comes to buckling every seat this model tried. I’d chalk the buckle struggles up to my car but note that we’re seeing a tiny pattern of retraction issues with the vehicle seat belt in the shoulder belt guide of this seat.
8 Year Old
Our eight year old model is 56 inches tall and weighs 70 pounds. We have extended the back to the highest height and the shoulder belt guide is slightly above her shoulder.
At one inch below the booster seat’s height limit, she fits well in high back mode. The lap belt is again low on her hips, touching her thighs, and the shoulder belt is centered on her shoulder – which is precisely what we are looking for with a proper seat belt fit.
We’ll note here that she carries her height in her legs, so a child the same height with a long torso would outgrow the high back mode of the Evenflo GoTime Sport/LX before this point.
8 Years Old
This model is 8 years old, weighs 75 pounds, and is 52 inches tall. Since this model is used to riding in a booster seat, he was able to route the vehicle seat belt properly after being instructed how. He did say it was a bit difficult since the seat is a bit narrow. The vehicle seat belt fits properly with the lap belt low on the hip, touching the thigh. The shoulder belt is centered on the collar bone. He did express some concerns about the lack of padding behind his back — the bottom part of the back rest is exposed when the height is fully extended.
Converting to Backless Booster Mode
To convert the Evenflo GoTime Sport/LX booster seat to backless booster mode, pull the lever on the bottom of the seat to release the back from the base.
We found that the headrest removed fairly easily.
If needed, the shoulder belt guide adjuster may be installed by threading the looped end of the strap through the anchor pohrough the loop to securely attach it. Adjust the shoulint at the back of the base and then threading the clip tder belt clip so that the clip is at or slightly above the child’s shoulder in the vehicle.
Fit to Child – Backless Booster Mode
6 Year Old
Our six year old model remains 49 inches tall and 51 pounds. While she is not yet ready for the freedom of a backless booster seat, she agreed to test out the Evenflo GoTime Sport/LX for this review.
We opted to use the shoulder belt guide adjuster for additional help with the shoulder belt fit, and were happy with the overall seat belt fit on this model. Again the vehicle seat belt is low on her hips, touching her thighs, and the shoulder belt is centered on her shoulder.
6 Year Old
Ideally, we like to see new booster riders start their time as booster riders in a high back booster. That’s mostly because the high back offers a physical reminder to stay in place.However, we did want to show how a child within the limits of the seat would fit. This 6 year old model is 45 inches tall and weighs 42 pounds. The shoulder belt lays nicely across the collar bone and the lap belt sits low on the hip, touching the thigh. She said the seat was comfortable, “even without the back”.
8 Year Old
Our eight year old model remains 56 inches tall and 70 pounds as well. She normally rides in a high back booster seat but has the maturity for a backless booster, so we were happy to see an excellent seat belt fit on her in the Evenflo GoTime Sport/LX in backless mode.
She struggled a bit with unbuckling the vehicle seat belt in both modes because the lap buckle snagged on the belt path while retracting. It happened a few times so we found it was worth noting that this could be a (minor) issue for other users as well.
8 Year Old
This 8 year old model hasn’t grown any and is still 75 pounds and 52 inches tall. The lap belt sits low on the hip, touching the thigh. The shoulder belt is centered nicely over the collar bone. He was uncomfortable since the seat pan is a bit narrow.
11 Years Old
Fit to Vehicle – Dodge Caravan/Chrysler Town & Country/Volkswagen Routan
The Evenflo Big Kid AMP (now discontinued) was the go-to high back booster for tackling the belt geometry in the third row of these common family vans. What do we mean by odd belt geometry? The outboard shoulder belt in the third row of these vans is mounted in front of the seating position – which means that without help from a booster shoulder belt guide, the shoulder belt hovers in front of the rider in these seating positions (which is unfortunately not safe). This means that the only safe child restraint options in these positions are rear facing seats (there are no tether anchors for forward facing seats), and high back boosters that work with these vehicle seat belts. A high back booster with a wide and open shoulder belt guide helps to prevent the shoulder belt from getting stuck when retracting through the guide, and the Big Kid AMP provided a low cost, narrow booster that performed beautifully in these seating positions.
We were able to test out the Evenflo GoTime Sport/LX Booster Seat in the third row of a 2019 Dodge Caravan CVP with Stow & Go seats, and we found that the vehicle seat belt retracted nicely for our models.
Here we see our eight year old model using the Evenflo GoTime Sport/LX Booster Seat in the highest seating position. We can see that the shoulder belt retracts nicely with her body as she leans forward and then straightens back up. The shoulder belt doesn’t perfectly retract (there is still some slack in front of her belly), but it’s not getting completely hung up in the belt guide, which is good news.
Here we have our six year old model. Again, we can see that the shoulder belt retracts nicely with her body as she leans forward and then straightens back up. The shoulder belt appears to have a smoother retraction on this model than on the eight year old above.
Note: we have seen other CPSTs experiencing retraction issues in these seating positions with the Evenflo GoTime Sport/LX Booster Seat in these vans, so the seat belt retraction may be dependent on the vehicle trim/height of the back of the booster seat. We would recommend anyone buying this booster for these vehicles test out this seat’s retraction with their child(ren) before buying if they are able.
Important Information: Where to Find
FAA Approval: Like all booster seats, the Evenflo GoTime Sport/LX Booster Seat requires a lap/shoulder belt to use, so it is not FAA approved for use on aircraft. The backless portion is light enough that it could be a great travel option. Just carry it on board the aircraft, store it in the overhead bin, then use it in the car at your destination.
Expiration: The Evenflo GoTime Sport/LX expires 6 years from the date of manufacture. The label with the model number, date of manufacture, and expiration date is on the bottom of the seat.
Manual Storage: The Evenflo GoTime Sport/LX manual is packed between the pieces in the box for shipping purposes, but stores nicely on the bottom of the seat when the booster is in use.
National Safety Mark for Canadian users — The National Safety Mark (Canadian users only) is located on the back of the base of the seat.
Unfortunately, the Evenflo GoTime Sport/LX has a smaller shoulder belt guide than the discontinued Evenflo AMP and is quite a bit wider than the AMP. We’d assert that caregivers looking to the GoTime Sport/LX as a replacement for use in tight three across scenarios or in vehicles where shoulder belt retraction may be an issue may not find this to be the seat that meets their needs. The GoTime has fewer “finished” pieces than its predecessor, there’s an awful lot of lightweight black plastic on this seat, where the BigKid had some finished pieces on the armrests that made it look less industrial.
We will also note that having only 12 inches of internal width at the child’s hips and thighs means that this booster seat, while not especially narrow externally, has a fairly narrow internal width which may cause some children to experience a bit of discomfort or squished.
For a low cost booster seat that fits a variety of vehicles (as long as narrow is not a requirement), the Evenflo GoTime Sport/LX is an excellent and welcome choice. The booster seat allows a gap behind the back when used in high back mode, which makes the GoTime Sport/LX an option for vehicles with forward-leaning headrests. The seat is an excellent option for carpooling and travel because the backless portion weighs only 3.4 pounds.
While the Evenflo GoTime Sport/LX booster seat may not be the perfect option for every child or every vehicle, a low cost, lightweight booster seat that provides an excellent seat belt fit in both high back and backless modes is always a welcome addition to the market.