Thursday, October 3, 2013

Study shows many pet car safety restraints to be unsafe

Via PR Newswire - Subaru of America, Inc. and the Center for Pet Safety (CPS), announced today the results of a collaborative study to test the effectiveness of pet harnesses marketed with safety claims. Sleepypod's Clickit Utility Harness has been identified as the 2013 Top Performing Harness.

The pet harness study was designed by CPS – a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit research and advocacy organization dedicated to companion animal and consumer safety – to mirror the same crash tests used to measure the effectiveness of child safety products. The crash tests uncovered serious flaws in many popular pet restraints currently on the market with many resulting in catastrophic failure.

The goal of this study is to enforce the importance of driving safely with pets. In addition, the performance data will assist in the development of the first harness safety standard and test protocols that will serve as guidelines to the pet products industry.

There are currently no performance standards or test protocols in the U.S. for pet travel products. While many pet car restraint manufacturers claim to test their products, without uniform test standards and protocols, these claims cannot be substantiated.

Recognizing the severity of this issue, Subaru teamed up with CPS to conduct this study in order to ultimately allow consumers to select independently tested pet products and help them to identify top performing brands. The Center for Pet Safety is actively working toward publishing a harness standard later this year.

"Safety for all passengers, including our pets, is very important to Subaru and to our drivers. Selecting the wrong harness could be just as detrimental as not using one at all," said Michael McHale, director of communications at Subaru of America, Inc.

"Most pet owners don't know the dangers of not properly harnessing their pet while in the car. With nearly half of Subaru drivers also being dog owners, we want them to be as informed as possible."

Subaru and CPS enlisted MGA Research Corporation, an independent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) contracted testing laboratory, to conduct rigorous crash testing on commonly available pet safety harnesses using realistic, specially designed crash test dogs.

Testing was performed using multiple, specially designed crash test dogs developed by CPS, including a 25 lb. terrier mix, a 45 lb. border collie and a 75 lb. golden retriever. The life-like dog models provided a realistic representation for testing purposes, similar to the testing conducted for human occupant safety.

"Subaru and CPS share a common love for pets and safety, and it is our mission to communicate to pet owners that an effective harness should keep the pet in place to prevent distraction to the driver as well as offer measurable levels of protection to all passengers in the event of a crash," said Lindsey Wolko, founder and CEO of the Center for Pet Safety.

"I, like many people, consider my dog to be a part of my family, and dogs need to be secured with harnesses that have been tested for safety the same way car seats and seat belts that protect our family members have been tested, both for the pet's safety as well as the safety of all passengers."

Consumers can download a copy of the 2013 Harness Crashworthiness Study final report at

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