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Study Finds Most Pet Travel Seats Not Effective During Car Crashes

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If you’re like me, the first thing you do when you hop in the car is buckle up. Aside from being the law, it’s become part of our culture – we buckle up for safety. Yet in spite of knowing that seatbelts save lives, my feline Shelby was permitted to free range. Yep, she made such a fuss in her cat carrier that I found it easier to let her sit on my lap or roam around the car when I drove. Like everyone else, I considered myself a good parent and it simply never occurred to me that this indulgent action could have placed her in danger. Thankfully, I never had to learn this lesson the hard way.

So while I don’t judge when I see pets leaning out car windows, sitting on owners laps or lying in the car’s back window as it barrels down a highway, I think we all know there must be a safer way to shuttle our little guys around town.

Related: Subaru And CPS Team Up For Next Round Of Pet Safety Product Crash Testing

Apparently Subaru of America felt the same way and teamed with the Center for Pet Safety (CPS) to study how best to transport our furry kids. I mean let’s face it, when it comes to keeping passengers safe (all passengers) doesn’t it make sense that an auto manufacturer with crash-test-dummy smarts and deeper pockets than the little non-profits, should lend both expertise and funding to the process?  Subaru agreed and teamed with CPS to undertake a four-year study into what devices proved most effective in safeguarding our pets during travel.

Included in the joint Pet Travel Seat Pilot Study were three phases that included the testing of:

  • pet harnesses
  • pet crates and carriers
  • pet travel seats

Some pretty in-depth crash studies were conducted at an independent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) testing laboratory and included the same rigid standards as those used by the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard crash conditions for child safety seats.

Related: New Study Shows That Many Pet Car Seat Safety Restraints Are Ineffective

subaru-pet-seat-crash-test-1The results are in and CPS has identified the safest travel options for most pets. For small dogs and cats, Center for Pet Safety recommends one of the 2015 Top Performing Carriers; for medium and large dogs either the 2015 Top Performing Crate – the Gunner Kennels G1 Intermediate with 8′ Tie Down Straps, or a Center for Pet Safety Certified Harness. Other carriers that have a passing grade for safety are the Petego Forma Frame Jet Set Carrier with ISOFIX-Latch Connection and Sleepypod Mobile Pet Bed with PPRS Handilock.

Falling short were pet travel seats. According to CPS, these seats are typically installed to hold or elevate a pet but do not offer full containment and will not offer effective protection to the animal or the passengers he’s likely going to be thrown into, in the event of a collision.

Lindsey Wolko, Center for Pet Safety’s founder and CEO is encouraged by the research and says, “We know the studies are making an impact because several product manufacturers have stepped up and are using our test dogs to improve their products while working toward Center for Pet Safety Certification — a major step forward for pet owners.” Don’t you just love organizations that actually make a difference!

To view top performing products and CPS Certified products, visit the Center for Pet Safety website. And be sure to watch the pet seat crash test video below – it’ll make you think twice before strapping one into your car.


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