CARS.COM — Inflatable rear seat belts, which were first introduced by Ford for the 2011 model year, have been approved for use by six car-seat manufacturers, but only for some of their child-safety seats.
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These inflatable seat belts, which are found in the rear outboard seats only, have a small airbag within the shoulder strap that inflates in a crash. The airbag better distributes crash forces across the torso, reducing head, neck and chest injuries for rear-seat passengers compared to regular seat belts, according to Ford. These seat belts are available on a number of vehicles, including the Ford Fusion, Fusion Energi and Fusion Hybrid; Edge; Explorer; F-150 SuperCrew; Flex; Lincoln MKT; MKX; MKZ; and MKZ Hybrid. They’re also available on the Mercedes-Benz S-Class.
Ford says the inflatable seat belts are compatible with car seats, but it recommends checking with the car-seat manufacturer before using them to install a car seat. Safe Kids Worldwide, a child-safety organization, recently updated its list of car-seat manufacturers that do and don’t permit use of these seat belts.