Ford’s Inflatable rear seat belts are a must have in the 2013 Ford Explorer

Wal-Mart.com USA, LLCLet’s face it Texans love their road trips and moms want to make sure that kids stay safe whether they are on a long road trip or making a short commute to the soccer field. In 2011, Ford Motor Company introduced their inflatable rear seat belt.  The inflated belt helps distribute crash force energy across five times more of the occupant’s torso than a traditional belt. By doing so, it expands its range of protection by diffusing crash pressure over a larger area while supporting the head and neck. Fellow Examiner.com writer, Mike Kragozian discusses this seat belt for winning the 2011 Edison award.

Source: Ford Photo Library

Thirty-Eight percent of Dallasites that purchased the 2013 Ford Explorer opted for inflatable rear seat belts

The rear inflatable seat belts are available on the 2013 Flex as well as Explorer and are being introduced on the 2013 Mondeo sedan in Europe. BRITAX, the maker of child safety seats has independently approved the Ford rear inflatable seat belt system for use with all its child seats. This is a very important achievement for Ford in terms of safety coupled with the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation that belt-positioning booster seats should be used for most children through 8 years of age; and lap-and-shoulder seat belts for all who have outgrown booster seats.

“Ford led the way with the world’s first rear-inflatable seat belts and continues to develop the technology for introduction on more vehicles in the Ford line-up,” said Steve Kenner, global director of Ford’s Automotive Safety Office. “The BRITAX approval is another validation that this technology is an effective safety feature.”

New data shows that one-third of Explorer and Flex buyers now opt for rear-inflatable belts, which triples Ford’s initial internal estimates. Inflatable seatbelts, a $595 option, come paired with Ford’s BLIS (Blind Spot Monitoring/Information System) technology.

“As a leader in child car seat safety, BRITAX is pleased to announce that Ford’s inflatable seatbelts have been approved for use with all BRITAX car seats made to date,” said Ron Marsilio, Vice President of New Product Development/Engineering, Britax USA. “Our products undergo the most rigorous testing in our industry, above and beyond NHTSA recommendations, and we continue to work closely with vehicle manufacturers like Ford on safety innovations and design improvements that complement the performance of child car seats.”

So how does it work?

In the video below provided by Ford, you can see the animation of how this technology works on a simulated child in a crash environment. You can see that with more cushioning, there is more support for the body, head and neck. See more details in this Protection and Comfort PDF file here!

Animation – Inflatable Seat Belt

Animation showing how belt works & child animation of belt in crash demonstration.
  • Over 33% of Explorer and Flex buyers (nationally) now opt for rear-inflatable belts (NOTE: the technology is packaged with Blind Spot Monitoring/Information System)
  • Demand (initially projected at 12 percent of Explorer buyers) has exceeded internal expectations. 38% in Dallas alone.
  • In a recent survey, 90 percent of respondents found the Inflatable Belt as comfortable as or more comfortable than conventional belt systems. Increased comfort generally results in increased usage.
  • The rear inflatable seat belt functions like a standard seat belt in normal everyday use.
  • The vehicle’s crash sensing system determines when the inflatable belt should deploy.
  • The inflated belt helps distribute crash force energy across five times more of the occupant’s torso than a traditional belt. By doing so, it expands its range of protection by diffusing crash pressure over a larger area while supporting the head and neck.
  • Next-generation testing is ongoing and the plan is to bring the technology to more vehicles in the future.
  • Ford was the first automaker to introduce seat belts in 1955. Ford introduced the industry-first Belt-Minder® in 2000.

For more information on Ford, please visit www.ford.com.

Heather Buen

Heather has lived in Dallas-Fort Worth for over 10 years. The quintessential multi-tasker, she splits her time with her children and navigating the city. As a single mom she has a large network of friends, family & supporters – believing in the saying “It takes a village to raise a child.” You can find her on Twitter at @dallassinglemom 

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