Pet Product Safety Fails: What You Can Do

by Mary Haight on February 5, 2016

Pet product safety failI published a post on pet product safety fails and a podcast interview with Center for Pet Safety not long ago, so I was so happy to catch the NBC Today report on pet safety restraints for your car.

Unambiguous, substantive information was gathered by National Investigative Correspondent Jeff Rossen, alerting pet owners: Most pet travel safety restraints on the market failed to pass independent crash testing, even when packaging states otherwise.

Reporting began with a general nod to pet travel safety in vehicles, showing what can happen when dogs are allowed loose in the car, even two dogs falling out an open window onto a road with oncoming traffic.

Crash-testing videos from Center for Pet Safety gave viewers a good look at why pets should be properly restrained – hopefully with a product that actually works.

Pet product safety fails

While the American Pet Products Association (APPA) did acknowledge to NBC that safety restraints are a good idea, they had no comment on crash testing results. 25 of 29 products failed to keep dogs – and therefore passengers, and other people on the road – safe.

Why Pet Product Safety Fails Remain on Store Shelves

The violence of these tests – crates breaking apart, dogs flying through what would be the interior of a car at the test facility – is surprising given crash speed is a mere 30 mph. Dr. Flaura Winston of the Center for Injury Research and Prevention said that it’s important to secure any pets traveling in your car because they become projectiles, hurting [Ed. or killing] themselves and others.

As for consumer protections provided by government agencies, Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) told NBC News that they have no jurisdiction over these products according to their mandate from Congress, suggesting NBC should check with the National Highway Safety Administration. The NHSA told NBC to check with the CPSC.

There’s a t-shirt with a finger-pointing I am reminded of…

Products that failed these independent crash tests continue to be sold to the largely unsuspecting public. What a gift it must be for manufacturers to have a “get out of lawsuits” free card. Pets and people die, are seriously injured, and no one pays for irresponsible manufacturing or false advertising claims. You and I go unrepresented, even though we are consumers.

pet product safety fails

Some manufacturers have expressed intent to correct defects according to Center for Pet Safety’s Lindsey Wolko, and are working on it – I have no doubt good brands are doing just that. We’ll see which brand gets certified next. And we’ll also see which do not.

I don’t think I’m going out on a limb when I say:

  • People with pets expect the items we buy for them to be safe
  • to do the job they were designed to do
  • to do no harm.

If you’d like to learn more, you can check out our recent podcasts and posts with Center for Pet Safety (CPS), and go to the CPS website. You’ll be glad you did.

Pet Safety First – What You Can Do

You may know how I hate to give you bad news with no recourse for taking action. Note the new banner in the sidebar for Center for Pet Safety. Big or small, you can send any size donation Paypal will allow. Care to contribute the price of a Starbuck’s? Please do! And if you have a site of your own and would like a banner, just let me know in the comments, via email, or check out the Center for Pet Safety site for more.

Pet parents can help keep Center for Pet Safety doing the job that needs to be done, exposing unsafe products. Government moves too slowly on, well, most things. Manufacturers – some will fix the problem, some will stall until they must act, and others may try an end-run around independent testing.

Without laws to hold pet products, all pet products, to a set of safety standards, I’m afraid significant change is not something all manufacturers are willing to offer. I hope I’m wrong.

Center for Pet Safety reminder: If you’ve had a bad experience with a pet product, report it! It’s so important to document instances of pet product failure. Here are instructions on how to do that.

If you’d like to help CPS test more products, helping you and your pets stay safe, be part of making change happen. You win, pets win, and, just as Consumer Reports has done successfully throughout the decades for consumer products, pet product manufacturers will be put on notice – no more pet product safety fails — pets deserve your best.

Now take a look at the video report.

(Image source: Center for Pet Safety)

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