Inflatable seat belts, which have a small airbag within the shoulder strap that inflates in a crash, may make riding in a car safer for some, but they’re not always safe to use when installing a car seat or using to secure a kid in a booster seat.
First introduced by Ford on the model-year 2011 Explorer, inflatable seat belt availability has since expanded across Ford’s and its luxury Lincoln brand’s lineups. But which car seats are approved to use with inflatable seat belts?
CarSeatsForTheLittles.org, a car seat safety advocacy organization, recently updated its list of the current car seat makers that permit the use of inflatable seat belts with a car seat or booster seat. Check your owners’ manuals for more information. If your car seat is not approved, you must install it using the vehicle’s Latch system instead. Several car seats have lower-anchor weight limits of 50 pounds (the combined weight of the child and the car seat), however, so this won’t work for older, larger children.
Here are the car seats that can — and can’t — be used with inflatable seat belts:
All models of rear-facing-only seats when installed without the base. Contact the manufacturer at 888-927-7422 for more information.
All models of rear-facing-only seats when installed without the base. Contact Baby Jogger online or call at 800-241-1848.
The inflatable booster can be used with an inflatable seat belt only when the booster’s shoulder-belt positioning clip isn’t being used. Contact BubbleBum online or call at 800-969-6586.
Permitted car seats are the B-Safe 30, Roundabout, Marathon, Boulevard, Advocate, Pioneer, Frontier ClickTight and Pinnacle ClickTight. Not permitted seats are the Marathon ClickTight, Boulevard ClickTight, Advocate ClickTight, Emblem or Allegiance Parkway SGL and SG (high-back and backless versions). Inflatable seat belts should also not be used on rear-facing-only seats (other than the B-Safe 30), Essentials seats or ClickTight convertible seats. Do not use built-in lock-offs. Contact Britax online or call at 888-427-4829.
As of October 2016, Chicco stopped permitting the use of inflatable seat belts with any of its products. This change is retroactive. Contact Chicco online or call at 877-424-4226.
Only the Foonf, Fllo, Oobr, Olli and Ozzi are permitted for use with inflatable car seats, but lock-off instructions are different when installing with an inflatable belt. Contact the manufacturer at 866-656-2462.
The following models are approved for use with an inflatable seat belt: Radian (all models), Olympia, Pacifica, Rainier, Cambria, Monterey, Monterey XT, Hip and Solana. Contact Diono or call at 855-463-4666.
The infant car seat can be used with an inflatable seat belt. Without the base, follow the manual’s instructions for lap-shoulder belt standard installation. With the base, the lock-off mechanism won’t close around the inflatable seat belt and special instructions must be followed. Contact Doona online or call at 844-477-9539.
None of Evenflo’s car seats are approved for use, but all of its boosters can be used with an inflatable car seat. Contact Evenflo online or call at 800-233-5921.
All models of rear-facing-only car seats can be used with inflatable seat belts, but only when installed without the base; all models of convertible, multimode and combination seats can also be used with inflatable seat belts, but do not use the built-in shoulder belt lock-off if one is available. All Graco boosters can be used with inflatable seat belts. Contact Graco online or call at 800-345-4109.
All of the manufacturer’s harnessed car seats and boosters can be used with inflatable seat belts if the manufacture date is after May 2014. However, specific shoulder-belt routing is required on rear-facing-only car seats. Contact Peg Perego online or call at 800-671-1701.
Harnessed car seats are not approved for use with inflatable seat belts, but the Aace booster is. Contact Nuna online or call at 855-686-2872.
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