ISBs have been an available option in the outboard seating position of some Ford and Lincoln vehicles for the past five years. Over that time, the number of Ford/Lincoln models with this option has grown (see current list, at bottom of page) and now includes both two- and three-row vehicles.
Safe Ride News asked the Global Automakers and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (auto industry groups that, between the two, represent the U.S. divisions of every major vehicle brand) about the safety of children seated near side air bags in the rear seating area, including torso air bags. The following is a joint statement from these organizations:
As of March 2011, the touted inflatable seat belt becomes available as a $195 option for rear-seat positions in the 2011 Ford Explorer. Ford has expressed much enthusiasm for this technology, which has been in development for many years. It represents one of few safety improvements in the vehicle industry that is targeted specifically to protect rear seat occupants. Though currently available only in North America, and only on XT and Limited versions of the 2011 Explorer model, the outcome of this initial introduction may lead to more widespread availability in the future.
Why do some vehicle manuals warn that nothing should press against the back of the front passenger seat or be placed under that seat?
Airbag dangers for younger children include mishaps that occur in parked vehicles. A six-year-old Pennsylvania child was critically injured by an airbag in April 2007. She and her three-year-old brother were playing in the front seat in the family’s parked SUV when the vehicle popped into gear and rolled down a hill into a house, causing the airbag to deploy. The mother was charged with endangering the welfare of her children and reckless endangerment.