Pline, K., Board, D., Muralidharan, N., Sundararajan, S. et al., "An Assessment of Inflatable Seatbelt Interaction and Compatibility with Rear-Facing-Only Child Restraint Systems," SAE Int. J. Trans. Safety 5(2):167-177, 2017, doi:10.4271/2017-01-1445.
Ford Motor Company introduced the inflatable seatbelt system in 2011 and the system is now available in the second row of several Ford and Lincoln models. An important consideration is the interaction of the inflatable seatbelt system with child restraint systems (CRS). A comprehensive series of frontal impact sled tests, using a standardized test method, was conducted to compare the performance of rear-facing-only CRS installed using an inflatable seatbelt to the same CRS installed using a standard seatbelt. CRS models from several manufacturers in the North American market were tested both with and without their bases. CRABI 12 month old or Hybrid III 3 year old anthropomorphic test devices (ATD) were restrained in the CRS. The assessment included the ability to achieve a satisfactory installation with the inflatable seatbelt, comparisons of ATD and CRS kinematics, CRS system integrity, and comparisons of ATD responses. In all cases, acceptable installations of the CRS were achieved with the inflatable seatbelt system. When installed with the base, there was a statistically significant reduction in HIC36 for the ATDs restrained using the inflatable seatbelt compared to those installed using the standard seatbelt. The differences in peak resultant chest accelerations for the two seatbelt systems were not statistically significant and minor differences were noted in CRS and ATD kinematics. When installed without the base, HIC36 and peak resultant chest acceleration did not have statistically significant differences and kinematics were comparable. No system integrity issues were identified in CRS installed using inflatable seatbelts for either the installations with or without the base.