How to Correctly Use Inflatable Seat Belts and Car Seats? (Best 2023 Expert)

As parents, keeping our children safe while they're on the road is always a top priority. However, this can be challenging in today's world with all the different car seat and safety belt options.

Fortunately, inflatable seat belts are designed to provide an additional layer of security for your child when properly installed and used - but how exactly do you make sure you're using them correctly?

Here we'll discuss whether inflatable seat belts are worth considering, how they work, and tips for ensuring your inflatable seat belts and car seats are fitted correctly - so keep reading to get the full scoop!


Take Away Key Points:

  • ISB differ from regular belts as they have airbags with sensors to protect children on the road
  • The belts will activate sensors to prevent severe injuries and even death
  • You can use them with various car seats, but ensure you follow the official policies and recommendations

Can an inflatable seat belt keep your child safe in a car seat?

If you want to know more about inflatable seat belts, their main purpose, and whether they can improve your children's safety in the car seats, refer to the guide below. You will find all answers to your questions.

1. What is an inflatable seat belt?

An inflatable seat belt is a type of seat belt that has airbags built into the seat belt straps.

The main objective of the inflatable seat belt and the inserted airbag is to protect the passenger's chest by distributing the crash force over a larger part of the chest than the regular seat belt would. 

The inflatable seat belt is also created to reduce the risk of ribcage and chest injuries.

What is an inflatable seat belt?


2. How does an inflatable seat belt work?

An inflatable seat belt is a more advanced version of the standard seat belt, providing additional protection by inflating upon impact.

They work by using sensors in conjunction with an airbag module to detect when the vehicle is in a crash situation. 

Once this happens, inflation occurs within milliseconds as compressed air is released through small holes at each end of the belt.

The extra cushion protects against whiplash and other potentially serious injuries by spreading the force across five times more of your body than a standard seatbelt.

While inflatable seat belts have not yet become commonplace, they do offer greater protection during collisions, adding another layer to your overall safety on the road!

3. When should you use an inflatable seat belt?

Inflatable seat belts are an effective and safe alternative to traditional seatbelts, especially for rear-seat passengers. In addition, these specialized safety devices can provide additional protection in specific high-risk drives, such as long trips on winding roads or carpooling with multiple people.

The extra support from the inflated airbag helps keep passengers secure in their seats during sudden stops or turns. Inflatable belts also offer improved restrictions for children and reduce the probability of head and neck injuries.

When considering when to use an inflatable seat belt, consider any occasions that would require extra safety for those riding in the backseat.

4. Important notes when using the inflatable seat belts

Inflatable seat belts are an essential safety feature that can help reduce the risk of injury in the event of a crash. Here are some important notes to keep in mind when using inflatable seat belts:

- Make sure to properly fasten the lap and torso straps of your vehicle's inflatable rear safety belts.

- Not all models of car seats are approved for use with inflatable seat belts, so check your car seat manual for compatibility before installing it.

- Do not install a child restraint using an inflatable seat belt; instead, use LATCH or move the child restraint to a position with a suitable belt system.

- Inflatable seat belts provide additional protection for adult passengers but should not be used as a substitute for regular seatbelts.

- Pay attention to the installation, as the male and female parts of the seat belt buckle of the ISB might attach to the seat belt or the LATCH system.

5. How to use car seats with inflatable belts?

Inflatable seat belts are an innovative safety feature found in some cars, but unfortunately, they are not approved for use with many car seats.

Additionally, car seat manufacturers recommend that you do not install a child restraint using an inflatable belt; instead, opt for LATCH or move the child restraint to a seating position with a traditional lap belt or shoulder belt.

If a child falls within the lower anchor weight limits, do not use the inflatable belt. So, choosing car seats with a wider weight range for using the lower anchors is always a good idea.

When using an inflatable belt, it is important to remember that only specific models of car seats are approved for use with them. So, follow the instructions provided by the car seat manufacturer for both the child seat and the inflatable seat belt.

For example, Graco All-in-One car seats are approved for use with inflatable seat belts, but you should not use the shoulder belt lock-off when installing them. Likewise, the Graco convertible car seats are also approved for Ford's inflatable belts, but the car seats should not use shoulder belt-lock-offs with inflatable belts.

However, the Graco car seat manufacturer still prohibits using the Ford inflatable seat belt to install Graco rear-facing car seats. Instead, the manufacturer urges you to install rear-facing car seats with LATCH. Thus, parents will ensure maximum safety standards for rear-seat passengers.

For instance, Ford/Lincoln vehicles have updated their car seat recommendations for use with inflatable seat belts, and Britax has stated that not all models of their car seats are approved for use with them. So, you can not use the ISB with the Allegiance Parkway SGL, Marathon, Advocate, and Boulevard ClickTight seats, etc.

Thus, the Britax car seats, including B-Safe, Pinnacle Clicktight, Frontier ClickTight, and Britax B Series Convertible car seats, are approved for Ford's inflatable belts. You can also check the complete list of infant models, convertible models, and boosters available for inflatable belt use.

It is also important to note that Ford opted to stop offering the option of inflatable seat belts in its 2020 models due to concerns about how they affect children in a crash situation.

Inflatable seat belts spread crash forces over a wider body area, which may reduce the risk of injury. However, they may also cause more severe injuries if misused or installed improperly.

Overall, it is essential to read all instructions carefully when using an inflatable seat belt and follow all safety protocols to ensure your child's safety while riding in your vehicle.

Car seat manufacturers approve inflatable belts

Here is the complete list of all car seat manufacturers approving the inflatable belts with infant car seats, convertible models, and boosters:

1. Baby Jogger

City Go car seat may be installed without the base using the ISB, but the base cannot be installed with the ISB. City View might install the harness or booster mode using ISB but do not run the ISB's shoulder belt through the seat belt lock-off.

2. Chicco

Chicco has stopped using the installation with the inflatable belt. So, if you have any of the Chicco's infant rear-facing, convertible, or booster mode car seats, you must stop using the ISB systems for vehicle installation.

3. Cleck

The manufacturer allows installing the booster models and all other car seats with ISB systems. However, you must follow specific requirements for the lap belt and shoulder belt lock-offs and the regular locking mechanism for rear-facing and forward-facing car seats.

4. Diono

The manufacturer allows the booster and harness car seats with the ISB. These include Monterey XT, Pacifica, Olympia, Cambria, Rainier, and another infant, convertible, and booster seats. You can find more information here.

5. Doona

The car seats can be installed with ISB, but do not use the shoulder-belt lock for the base installation. And, if you install the car seat without the base or ISB, do not use the European belt path.

6. Evenflo

They allow several car seat - boosters to use the ISB installation, but you must use the seat belt as the restraint. And, no harnessed car seats can use the ISB.

7. Merrit

These are the car seats for children with special needs, and only some seats - Roosevelt, Churchill, and Chamberlain used the ISB, but only with a long belt path.

8. Nuna

Only their AACE booster seat uses the ISB, while PIPA and RAVA do not use the ISB.

9. Peg Perego

Peg Perego allows some car seat models to be installed with the ISB, but specific requirements exist. The Peg Perego requires shoulder belt routing on rear-facing infant seats. You cannot route the ISB through the Right Tight built-in lock-offs for the Peg Perego 4-35 and 4-35 Nido infant seats.

If you need more information about the car seat manufacturers and specific seats installed with the ISB in the vehicles, refer to the complete policy here.


Do inflatable seat belts work?

Yes, inflatable seat belts work. The ISB will protect the kids' chests by distributing collision impacts over a larger chest area.

Can you use inflatable seat belts with car seats?

inflatable seat belts and car seats


Yes, you can use the ISB with car seats, but you must follow the specific requirements set by manufacturers. Also, some policies - such as Chicco's policy, state that you must not install seats with the ISB.

What cars have inflatable seat belts?

Here's the complete list of the vehicles with the ISB systems:

Model Years

Make - Model - Seat Configuration

2018 - 2020

Ford Expedition (7-seat)

2018 - 2020

Ford Expedition (8-seat)

2018 - 2020

Lincoln Navigator (8-seat)

2018 - 2020

Lincoln Navigator (7-seat)

2017 - 2020

Lincoln Continental w/o Rear Seat Package (5-seat)

2017 - 2020

Lincoln Continental with Rear Seat Package (5-seat)

2016 - 2020

Mercedes-Benz S-Class (4-seat)

2015 - 2020

Ford F-Series (F-150, F-250, F-350, F-450, F-550, F-650)

2015 - 2020

Ford F-Series SuperCab (5-Seat)

2015 - 2020

Ford F-Series SuperCab (6-Seat)

2015 - 2020

Ford F-Series SuperCrew (6-Seat)

2015 - 2018

Ford Edge

2016 - 2018

Lincoln MKX

2013 - 2020

Mercedes-Benz S-Class (5-seat)

2014 - 2019

Ford Fusion

2013 - 2019

Lincoln MKZ

2012 - 2019

Ford Flex (7-seat)

2012 - 2019

Ford Flex (6-seat)

2013- 2018

Lincoln MKT (6-seat)

2013 - 2018

Lincoln MKT (7-seat)

2013 - 2018

Lincoln MKT (5-seat)

2011 - 2019

Ford Explorer (7-seat)

2011 - 2019

Ford Explorer (6-seat)

How do I know if I have inflatable seat belts?

To help you recognize an inflatable rear seat belt, you need to find the two features:

- Double-thick strap: concealing the small airbag inside.

- Rounded belt buckle: with a solid metal connector.

Can you turn off inflatable seat belts?

Yes, you can turn off inflatable seat belts. You need to disconnect them from the sensors.

What if you have a Mercedes Benz with a belt bag?

Neither US car seat manufacturer will approve using their car seat models with a belt bag. So, parents must use the LATCH system to install their infant convertible or booster seats or get a car seat approved by Mercedes.


As you can see, various infant, convertible, and booster seats are permitted to be installed with the locked ISB systems.

The seats will keep your kids safe and sound in the vehicle, and the sensors will activate them in vehicle accidents.

However, always follow the manufacturer's recommendations and policies to find available inflatable seat belts and car seats.

Avatar of Kathy Warner

Kathy Warner

Kathy is a busy mother of two and a CPS technician for more than eight years. Her mission is to awaken parents to the importance of child passenger safety and show them the right practice. You can read more about her here

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