pets

Seatbelts for pets have a 100 percent failure rate in crash tests

Sunday, June 30, 2013 by: J. D. Heyes
Tags: pet seatbelts, car crash, safety restraints

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(NaturalNews) It may sound like nonsense to some of you, but there are those who travel with their pets and in doing so would like to keep them safe when they are on the road.

Some innovative companies have honed in on this consumer "need" and have been working on products designed to lower risks to pets when traveling, particularly in automobiles. One such innovation is called a dog harness.

Only, so far anyway, none of the dog harnesses widely used by pet owners can withstand crash testing; all of them have failed miserably, according to recent reports. From CBSMiami:

A first-of-its-kind crash test for dog harnesses widely used by pet owners showed that none offer adequate protection, with not a single harness passing the test. The non-profit Center for Pet Safety (CPS) said during its harness tests, crash-test dog dummies turned into projectiles and were even decapitated.

Not a good start for a product designed to protect your pet.

Something is better than nothing?

"We tested them to the child safety restraint standard and we experienced a 100 percent failure rate to protect either the consumer or the dog," CPS founder and CEO Lindsey Wolko told My33, the local CBS affiliate. "That is a very real concern for consumers."

Indeed.

CPS did not disclose which harnesses it tested over fears that even fewer people would secure their pets while riding in automobiles.

But then again, if the harnesses it tested were ineffective, what would be the point of trying to secure them?

Well, Wolko says that, though some harness makers claim to do their own testing, there's no government standard. That, she says, leads to an unregulated industry that can be dangerous for drivers (personally I was shocked that any "industry" in the U.S. remained unregulated, but that's just me).

Some veterinarians are coming down on the side of "a little protection is better than no protection," or, at least, the "appearance" of protection. One of them is Dr. Kim Haddad, who has treated pets that have sustained injuries in motor vehicle accidents.

"Broken legs, broken jaws, soft tissue injury, it can be pretty traumatic," Haddad told My33.

Still, while injuries can be far worse for pets whose owners allow them to roam inside vehicles freely, just using a harness isn't good enough either. And, in some cases, harnesses can prove to be just as lethal as getting thrown around a vehicle during an accident.

"Something is better than nothing, but again, it is only going to be as good as the manufacturer, the fit and the user application of the product," Haddad said.

Some states require you to secure your pet

Not surprisingly, there is an organization - in this case the American Automobile Association (AAA) - that has researched the issue of pets riding free in vehicles. AAA says 20 percent of dog owners have admitted allowing their pets ride unrestrained. No word on whether these same owners had heard of the failure of dog harnesses to protect their pets.

A few states currently require drivers to secure their pets in their vehicles, and others are considering new laws preventing motor vehicle operators from driving distracted (a pet in your lap would qualify). But CPS is concerned that, in light of its tests, such laws might give pet owners a false sense of security; they might assume, for example, that because a law requires harnesses that they, in turn, meet some sort of safety standard.

Now, in light of that possibility, CPS says it wants to see standardized testing that is similar to that conducted for child safety seats. The group also says it would like for legislators to educate themselves on pet harness safety standards before actually passing laws that would require restraints.

Sources for this article include:

http://miami.cbslocal.com

http://www.drsfostersmith.com/pic/article.cfm?aid=274

http://usatoday30.usatoday.com

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