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What are "integrated child safety seats"?

Integrated Child Safety Seats

Stephanie Tombrello (Child Passenger Safety Educator & Executive Director, SafetyBeltSafe USA) gives expert video advice on: Are integrated child safety seats as good as safety seats bought separately? and more...

What are "integrated child safety seats"?

Integrated child safety seats are products that are built into the vehicle itself. About 1995, the first integrated safety seats began to appear in American vehicles. The concept is that this is a child safety seat that has used forward-facing with a full harness, but the seat itself is part of the vehicle seat. You open up the vehicle seat, and here comes a child safety seat with a full harness system. The positive about integrated child safety seats is that you have no installation, and in fact today, if you have an integrated child safety seat, that is counted as one of the locations that's the equivalent of having the lower anchor bars, because, obviously, you're not having to attach a safety seat there. Many of those integrated child safety seats had harnesses that went above 4 pounds, and again you have to read the instructions that come with the integrated child safety seat.

Are integrated child safety seats as good as safety seats bought separately?

Safety seats are as safe as the way you use them. All safety seats for sale in the United States have to meet the same crash tests and they have to be certified to meet the same federal standards. Whether they're integrated into the car or whether they're add-on safety seats. So the integrated seat may be safer, because it's attached to the vehicle and the parent does not have to install it. But on the other hand, if the parent doesn't snug up the harness properly, or doesn't use the safety seat the way it's supposed to be used, then of course you can have the same problems of misuse as an add-on safety seat.