(ABCNews.com) -- Some cars today have as many as 20 airbags – in the front, on the sides, to shield heads, even airbags to protect knees. Now, Ford is going one step further. The automaker has announced it will become the first automaker to offer seat belt airbags for backseat passengers. The airbags will appear first in the company's next general Ford Explorer – due out in about a year.
The airbags will be sewn into the shoulder portion of the rear seat belts – and will deploy outward and sidewise, like a small tubular pillow. Ford says these seat belt airbags deploy more slowly and with much less force than frontal airbags. That, they say, makes it safe for a rear seat occupant, from a young child to an elderly passenger.
Ford Vice President Sue Cischke told ABC News, "This marries two life-saving technologies – the airbag technology and the seat belts."
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