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.
Related: Car Seat Checks
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.
Car Seats Approved for Inflatable Seat Belt Use
Britax: Advocate, Boulevard, Marathon and Roundabout convertibles; Pinnacle ClickTight, Frontier ClickTight and Pioneer combination seats; and Parkway SGL and Parkway SG high-back booster seats
BubbleBum: BubbleBum inflatable booster seat, but the booster's shoulder belt positioning clip shouldn't be used
Clek: Oobr, Olli and Ozzi booster seats
Diono: Olympia, Pacifica, Rainier, Radian rXT, Radian r120 and Radian r100 convertible seats, and Cambria, Hip, Monterey and Solana booster seats, which are currently being sold, may be used with Ford's inflatable seat belts. Older Diono Radian convertible and Monterey booster seats may be used with Ford's inflatable belts, too.
Doona: Infant seat may be used with Ford's inflatable belts
Evenflo: When in booster mode, Platinum SafeMax All-in-One, ProComfort Symphony DLX All-in-One, Platinum Symphony DLX All-in-One, Platinum Evolve 3-in-1, Symphony LX, Symphony DLX, Advanced Transitions 3-in-1 combination seats; Advanced Chase LX, Advanced Big Kid LX, ProComfort Amp LX, Platinum SecureKid DLX, Big Kid LX, Big Kid DLX, RightFit, Big Kid Elite, Big Kid Sport, Big Kid Advanced, Amp, Amp Performance, Amp LX, Maestro, SecureKid LX, SecureKid DLX, Chase LX, Chase Select booster seats
Graco: TurboBooster, TurboBooster LX, TurboBooster Elite and Affix booster seats; and when used as a booster, the Nautilus, Argos and Smart Seat, which are 3-in-1 car seats
Peg Perego: Viaggio HBB 120 booster seat
Car Seats May Be Installed With Inflatable Seat Belt
Chicco: All car seats may be installed with an inflatable seat belt, but the car seat's lockoffs, a part of the car seat that holds the seat belt in place, may not be used with inflatable seat belts.
Car Seats Not Approved for Inflatable Seat Belt Use
Angel Guard: AngelRide Infant Car Bed
Baby Trend: All car seats
Britax: B-Safe 35 and B-Safe 35 Elite infant seats, Marathon ClickTight, Boulevard ClickTight and Advocate ClickTight convertible car seats
Clek: Foonf and Fllo convertible car seats
Combi: All car seats
Cosco: All car seats
Cybex: All car seats
Evenflo: All infant, convertible and combination car seats
Goodbaby: Asana 35 AP infant seat
Graco: All infant, convertible and combination seats when using five-point harness
Harmony: All car seats
Hauck: ProSafe 35 and iGuard35 infant seats
Kiddy: All car seats
Nuna: Pipa infant seat
Maxi-Cosi: All car seats
Mifold: Mifold booster seat
Orbit Baby: All car seats
Peg Perego: All infant and convertible seats
Recaro: All car seats
Safety 1st: All car seats
Summer Infant: Prodigy infant seat
UPPABaby: Mesa infant seat
Urbini: Petal infant seat
Before you go installing any of the above car seats, however, be sure to check out the video below on common mistakes to avoid.
Editor's note: This story was updated on Nov. 8, 2016, to reflect Diono's new inflatable seat-belt use policy and on Jan. 31, 2017, to reflect that the Doona car seat is approved for use with Ford’s inflatable seat belt.
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