Posted: August 22, 2014, 9:20 a.m. EDT
By Clay Jackson
People can take a company’s claims about its products at face value, some of what they say as gospel, or reject their claims entirely.
But it’s another matter when a third party such as the Center for Pet Safety (CPS), a nonprofit dedicated to elevating safety standards for pet travel products, especially harnesses, gives its highest safety rating to a product such as the Clickit Sport dog safety harness.
Sleepypod, which manufactures the Clickit safety harnesses, as well as other harnesses, carriers and pet products, earned a five-star crash test rating from the CPS for its small, medium and large Clickit harnesses.
"The Center for Pet Safety … five-star rating to Clickit Sport is a meaningful validation of Sleepypod’s steadfast commitment to pet travel safety innovation,” said Michael Leung, co-founder and lead product designer of Pasadena, Calif.-based Sleepypod.The rating marks the first time any pet safety harness has earned five stars under guidelines set by the CPS in its Harness Certification Program; four star and not recommend are the other ratings harnesses can receive.
Harnesses are crash tested at 30 miles per hour using specially weighted crash-test dummy dogs strapped into test sleds.
The tests were run at MGA Research Corp.’s Manassas, Va., testing facility; MGA has eight testing facilities, seven in the U.S. and one in Canada.
"Few manufacturers demonstrate the commitment to product safety testing that we have seen from Sleepypod,” said Lindsey Wolko, founder of the CPS.
The Harness Certification Program is voluntary.
"Clickit Sport is packed with state-of-the-art technology that is the result of a dedicated and intensive engineering effort by Sleepypod’s design team to keep larger pets safe when traveling in cars,” Leung said.
The CPS’ mission to up safety standards for pet travel products stems from its 2011 pilot study, Canine Automotive Restraint Crashworthiness, in which it ran off-the-shelf dog harnesses through crash tests similar to those used on the Sleepypod harnesses but with much different outcomes.
In fact, the harnesses tested in 2011 exhibited a 100 percent failure rate.
Videos of the harness failures in the 2011 study can be seen atcenterforpetsafety.org/researchand bear stark contrast to the Clickit harness crash-test videos atcenterforpetsafety.org/cps-certified/sleepypod-clickit-sport/.
The Clickit Sport crash tests were performed using a small crash-test dummy dog (rated to 25 pounds), a medium dog (rated to 45 pounds) and a large dog (rated to 75 pounds).
In the videos, the Clickit harnesses performed well, keeping the crash-test dogs secured and in their seats, while the crash-test dogs in the 2011 tests become canine projectiles, not good for dogs, and a danger to everyone in the vehicle.
"[Sleepypod] is a landmark achievement for pets and the people who love them,” Wolko said. "We hope to see more safety harness manufacturers follow their lead.
"Pet product manufacturers have a responsibility to ensure that these safety devices protect human life and provide the best chance of survival to the pet in the case of an accident.”
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