As a parent and car owner, your main concern should be the safety of your kids in the car. That’s why some car manufacturers have taken their child safety measures a notch higher by incorporating built-in car seats.
Currently, there’s a huge debate around built-in car seats, with some people questioning their effectiveness and availability. This article tells you which vehicles have built-in car seats.
Built-In Car Seat Definition
Also referred to as integrated booster seats, built-in car seats are integrated seats that are fully incorporated into the car to allow children to use the seat belts effectively. Essentially, these seats raise kids to the level where the belts fit correctly.
These car seats come as a great relief for parents, caregivers, grandparents, and anyone else who has several cars because they don’t have to keep switching their convertible car seats between cars.
The idea of having built-in car seats was developed in the 1990s, but it was not embraced broadly until recently. Currently, several car manufacturers are offering a built-in seat option for some of their car models. If used correctly, a built-in car seat keeps your child firmly strapped onto the seat using the seat belt so that they don’t get injured or tossed out of their seat during a car crash.
The first built-in car seats were introduced by two popular car manufacturers: Dodge and Volvo. They were first integrated into a few luxury models that positioned the car seats on platforms in the front passenger seats while facing backward. This design became an instant choice for parents who needed to sit in the back seats and watch over their little ones while traveling.
The built-in seats allowed parents to ride with their kids in the back while facing each other. However, some people were reluctant to embrace the built-in car seats immediately because they had reservations about their safety. Even today, some people doubt the safety of car seats for kids that aren’t removable.
Are Integrated Car Seats Safe?
An integrated car seat raises your child to the level where they can comfortably buckle up using the shoulder and lap seat belts. Compared to regular car seats for kids, built-in car seats have proved to be more effective in preventing your child from getting injured during an accident. A built-in car seat is a full-functioning child seat integrated directly into the car.
In most cars, the built-in car seats are placed on the outer positions at the back of the car to allow your kid to seat securely and safely. This seat is specially designed to offer your child enough safety by making it easy for the child to put on their seat belt comfortably.
Furthermore, an integrated car seat comes with a booster cushion that can be raised or lowered in two positions, depending on the height and weight of your baby.
For most cars, built-in cat seats are suitable for children weighing between 15 and 36 kilograms (33-80 lbs) and at least 37 inches tall. To keep your child safe in your car, you must ensure they are properly positioned in the built-in seat and their seatbelts are properly positioned across their shoulder and hips. Here are additional safety measures you need to take when using a built-in car seat.
• Make sure the seat’s booster cushion is elevated to the correct level for the weight of your child
• Ensure that the seat cushion is firmly secured in position
• Check the seatbelt to ensure it is in contact with your child’s body and is not loose or warped
• Ensure the seatbelt does not lie across your baby’s throat or below their shoulder
• Make sure the lap section of the seatbelt is placed over your child’s pelvis to offer maximum protection
If your built-in car seat develops problems, make sure it’s repaired or replaced immediately. Also, the repairs and replacements should be done by an experienced specialist who is fully authorized by the car manufacturer. You should never try to modify your built-in car seat or add anything to it without the approval of the car manufacturer or an authorized specialist.
Don’t subject your integrated car seat to excess weight because it might develop problems that will put your child at risk of injuries. If the seat has been subjected to a heavy load like a collision, its cushion, backrest, and seatbelt must be replaced. In some instances, the whole seat should be replaced.
Even if the seat doesn’t appear to be damaged, it may not offer the same level of safety. This also applies if the seat is subjected to a heavy load when its cushion is in a lowered position. Replace the entire seat if it’s heavily damaged.
Built-In Car Seats Pros and Cons
Just like any other part of your car, a built-in car seat has its pros and cons. So, it’s important to understand these aspects before you buy a car with an integrated car seat. Here are the main benefits and drawbacks of a built-in car seat.
Unlike the removable car seats for kids, built-in car seats are fully integrated with the car. So, you don’t have to spend extra money purchasing a car seat for your youngster. The integrated option comes with the car as one package. Some car models even have two built-in car seats for parents and caregivers with two kids.
2. More Convenience
If you’ve tried to install a baby’s car seat at the back of your car, then you understand how difficult it is. In most cases, the seat doesn’t fit the available space properly. This puts your baby at risk of sliding off or being thrown out of the seat when you apply emergency brakes. But a built-in car seat fits perfectly because it’s installed by the car manufacturer.
3. Saves Time
Setting up a removable car seat for your child can take hours, especially if there isn’t enough space in the backseat. But with a built-in car seat, you don’t have to waste your time trying to set it up. You simply place the baby on the seat, put on the seatbelt, and drive.
Believe it or not, kids have more trouble getting out of an integrated car seat than a convertible one. Although your little one can escape from a built-in car seat, it makes it a bit more difficult for them, allowing you to keep your eyes on the road.
1. Less Movability
A built-in car seat isn’t removable. So, you can’t remove it and attach it to your stroller or cart. Therefore, when an accident occurs, it’ll be difficult for first responders to remove the entire seat to prevent moving your baby’s spine and neck. But this doesn’t mean the seat is unsafe.
2. Predetermined Positioning
A built-in car seat is installed at the car assembly point, making it difficult for you to choose where it should be placed to suit your travel needs.
What Vehicles Have Built-In Car Seats?
Currently, several car manufacturers produce vehicles with built-in car seats. Of these manufacturers, only a few models in their collections have integrated car seats. Here is a list of vehicles with built-in car seats.
Kia Carnival (2022)
The 2022 KIA Carnival MPV has replaced the KIA Sedona. It’s more expensive and sophisticated than its predecessor. It boasts top-of-the-line VIP lounge captain’s seats, including heated and ventilated VIP lounge captain’s seats with an extensible footrest that offers optimal comfort. It also comes with a built-in car seat for your little one.
Toyota Sienna (2022)
Toyota Sienna is one of the top-of-the-line cars produced by Toyota. It comes with a gas-electric hybrid powertrain and all-wheeled drive (AWD). This minivan also features a built-in car seat to help you travel with your child safely.
Chrysler Pacifica (2022)
The 2022 Chrysler Pacifica model is a family-friendly minivan with a spectacular V-6 or plug-in hybrid engine. It also offers you the choice of adding an all-wheeled drive (AWD) option. Its built-in car seat will help you to travel with your child safely.
Honda Odyssey (2022)
Honda Odyssey is one of the most popular and practical minivans on the market today. It comes with a built-in car seat that can be arranged using its magic seat technology to help you separate your little one from their arguing siblings or friends.
Volvo XC90 Recharge
As noted above, Volvo is one of the few car manufacturers that started integrating car seats into their vehicles from as early as the 1990s. The XC90 Recharge model is a mid-size luxury SUV with a lot of flair and safety technology. Its built-in car seat is specially designed to keep your child safe when driving on all kinds of terrains.
Dodge Journey (2018)
The integrated car seat in the Dodge Journey 2018 model is designed to carry children weighing between 22 and 39 kilograms. The second-row integrated booster seat is designed to offer premium comfort and convenience. This car model was designed with a family unit in mind.