In 2009, Ford announced that they would be offering inflatable seat belts in the rear-seating positions of the Ford Explorer SUV. Since that time Lincoln, Lexus and Mercedes have also offered inflatable seat belts in some of their models. The seat belts are disgned to deploy in the event of a frontal or side impact crash over the occupant’s torso and shoulder. They are designed to reduce pressure on the chest and help control head and neck motion. The increased diameter of the inflatable belt will spread crash forces over five times more area of the body.
However, child passenger safety advocates have questioned the use of inflatable seat belts with child restriants. Many child restraint manufacturers do not recommend the use of their products with inflatable seat belts. If your vehicle has inflatable seat belts, make sure to check with the manufacturer of your child restraint before putting a restraint in that seating position.
To view the inflatable seat belt policy for child restraint manufacturers, click here.