Rear Inflatable Seatbelt Aims at safety for kids - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Rear Inflatable Seatbelt Aims at safety for kids

By Melanie Posey

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - A new feature on the 2011 Ford Explorer hopes to make car riding safer for those in the back seat.   

They're called rear inflatable safety belts.  It combines the restraint of a seatbelt with the technology of an airbag.  It looks like a normal belt until a crash happens.  That's when cold compressed air flows through a unique buckle and causes the bag to inflate.   

"It spreads the crash force energy across the body five times more than the traditional seatbelt," says Pei-Wen Hsu, a spokesperson for Ford.  Hsu says that because it's usually kids who sit in the rear seat, the company designed crash dummies to be smaller when testing the belt.  

"Often times when they fall asleep, their head falls over to their seat belt so we looked into that situation making sure seat belts protect them even in that situation."  

Hsu says Ford hopes other companies will soon design similar technology and make it an affordable option.  

Those attending the 2011 Alabama Auto show will be able to try out the new belts in a demonstration.

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