For most cat parents, putting a cat into the carrier is stressful. We’re all aware how important it is to get cats used to the carrier, and we’re more or less successful in getting them to accept the carrier as a safe rather than a scary place. And of course, we want our cats to be safe, whether they’re in the car with us, or on a plane or train.
Most carriers are advertised as “safe for travel,” but how many of these carriers have actually been crash-tested?
In 2015, the Center for Pet Safety (CPS) performed an independent study of carriers that claim “testing,” “crash testing,” or “crash protection” in their marketing materials. The purpose of the study was to:
- Independently evaluate the current-state travel carrier products and carrier connection products that claim “testing”, “crash testing” or “crash protection.”
- Examine the safety, structural integrity and crashworthiness of carriers where the manufacturer makes no claims of “testing”, “crash testing” or “crash protection.”
- Determine top-performing carrier brand(s).
How carriers are tested
Before I go any further, let me be clear that CPS does NOT use live animals in their testing. They use crash test dummies that simulate the dimensions, weight proportions and articulations of a feline or canine body.
CPS teamed up with Subaru of America and worked with a NASA engineer to create specifically designed crash test pets of different sizes and weights to fit different carriers. They used the Federal Vehicle Safety Standard crash conditions for child safety seat testing as a basis for their own testing.
“While many brands claim to ‘crash test’ their products to governmental standards, it’s important to understand that only the Center for Pet Safety’s standards have been created to evaluate the performance of pet products,” says CPS founder Lindsey Wolko.
“Once you’ve seen so many pet products fail in crash testing, it makes you so happy when one actually receives a passing grade,” she adds. “We hope more brands step up and value the safety of their customers as much as the CPS Certified brands do.”
You can find the full results, including all of the carriers tested, on CPS’ website. In July of 2016, CPS published the first Crash Test Protocol and Ratings Guidelines for Pet Carriers.
Top performing carriers
The Top Performing Carriers from the study were the Sleepypod Mobile Pet Bed with PPRS Handilock and the PetEgo Jet Set Forma Frame Carrier with ISOFIX Latch Connection. Additionally, later that month Sleepypod voluntarily certified their entire carrier lineup with Center for Pet Safety.
If you’re not in a position to purchase a new carrier right now, Center for Pet Safety Founder Lindsey Wolko has this advice for you: “Don’t use the seatbelt to strap in the carrier. Place plastic carriers and soft-sided carriers on the floor of the vehicle behind the front driver or passenger seats.” Wolko admits that it’s counterintuitive, but the two crash test videos she shared with me, one for a soft-sided carrier, one for a hard carrier, offer convincing evidence. Warning: even though the videos use crash test dummies, they may be disturbing to watch for some readers.
For more information about the Center for Pet Safety, and to support their important work, please visit their website.
Sleepypod Carriers: Safety Matters
Sleepypod has made safety their top priority. Their Pet Passenger Restraint System (PPRS) is a safety system designed to secure a pet in a vehicle and restrict harmful movement resulting from a sudden vehicle stop or frontal collision. Every Sleepypod carrier and harness includes PPRS components and features to improve pet passenger safety.
In addition to participating in CPS’s survey, Sleepypod has their own Safety Test Program, which requires that every single one of their products meets the highest standards. All of their tests are performed at accredited testing and research locations.
Sleepypod has recorded multiple auto accidents without injuries to pets using one of its carriers or safety harnesses. All accident information was voluntarily shared with Sleepypod by its customers.
Sleepypod will even replace or offer a replacement discount on any carrier damaged in an accident, regardless of the brand.
For more information about Sleepypod’s carriers, and to purchase, please visit their website.
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Featured Image Credit: alenka2184, Shutterstock