They relieve you of the burden of having to source your own child restraint system. Nevertheless, they do not offer the same level of safety as a booster seat with a backrest. We are talking about child restraint systems integrated into the vehicle offered by some car manufacturers. Basically, it is a booster cushion incorporated into the seat that can be used whenever required. All that is needed is an anchor point to lift the seat up and the child can make use of it.
They are not offered by all car manufacturers nor are they available with every model. This varies greatly, of course, between one country and another. It should be remembered that car manufacturers adapt how their models are equipped according to the different countries. There is a huge difference between cars marketed in Europe and those sold in the United States or Latin America. Because of this, if you are interested, the best solution is to make direct contact with a dealer and ask if this option is available.
Manufacturers such as Volvo, Dodge, Seat and Volkswagen offer this system. It should be pointed out that this is a system suitable exclusively for children already able to use a booster seat without a backrest, as basically that is the level of safety they provide i.e., Group III child seats (from 22 to 36 kg and approximately from 6 to 12 years old), although each manufacturer offers specifications that we will detail below. All other children must use a child restraint system appropriate for their weight and height. Click here to check the key points for choosing a child seat.
The vehicle's integrated seat is basically a booster cushion that enables children to make use of the car's seat belt, in that they are raised to a level that allows the belt to fit correctly.
In most cases a choice between two heights is offered. This way you can opt for the height that best suits the child. To decide this, it is essential to use the seat belt as a guide. The belt must fit perfectly without exerting pressure on the neck.
Obviously, these cushions offer less protection than booster seats with a backrest, especially in side-impact crashes. Remember that booster cushions without a backrest are only found in CRS standardized for Group III according to R44/04 (taller than 125 cm). Refer to our infographic.
Some manufacturers specifically feature an inflatable curtain to offer greater protection to any child using these booster seats. Volvo, for example, have extended this type of airbag downwards to improve head protection for smaller children and minors.
These cushions can be used when required and convert to adult seats when necessary, i.e. the booster seat is stored within the seat cushion. The booster seat reappears with the pull of a lever.
In the case of Volvo, integrated booster seats are aimed at children over 95 cm in height and who weigh more than 15 kg, while Volkswagen say that their version can be used by children weighing between 9 and 36 kg (children from Group I must wear a special strap specifically designed for these seats). In the case of Dodge, the integrated booster seats are aimed at children with a weight between 22 and 39 kg and a height of 119 cm to 145 cm. Here you can see a video that demonstrates how the the Dodge and Volvo integrated booster seats work.
As we mentioned, they do not offer the same level of safety as a child restraint system specifically designed for the child according to its weight and height. Naturally, these types of integrated booster cushions must only be used as child seats from Groups II and III, which is the time that the child is already only using the CRS to ensure that the seat belt can offer adequate protection.
Also, bear in mind that it will almost certainly be necessary to acquire a CRS, as the integrated booster seat is not removable, meaning that if you wish to transport your child in another vehicle an additional child seat will be required.
If using these types of seats, remember the correct positioning of the seat belt: