With the holidays approaching people will be hitting the road, and more and more people are traveling with their pets. While seat belts for adults and car seats for kids are standard operating procedure, many still don’t properly restrain their dogs in the car.
I have at least one dog with me in the car a lot of the time, so I have been using some form of a car safety belt for many years. For the longest time I was using a very basic tether than clipped to the seat belt and attached to the dog’s existing harness. While this did do a good job keeping them in the backseat and not climbing all over the car (driver distraction is a big issue!), I was pretty horrified to find out just how useless it was at keeping everyone safe in the case of a collision.
In 2014 the Center for Pet Safety released their findings from crash testing several top car harness brands and the results were shocking. Almost every brand failed their tests, many catastrophically. While these tests were certainly disturbing, it was the catalyst for a lot of brands to go back to the drawing board and redesign their car safety harnesses.
Why does this matter? Not only can your pet become a projectile in event of a collision, they can sustain serious or fatal injuries.
With that in mind, enter the Solvit Deluxe Car Safety Harness, redesigned with strength-rated straps and a fully padded vest. Patrick Hoffman, owner of Solvit Products, talks more about the test results and redesign in this February 2015 issue of Dogster Magazine.
And more importantly, the addition of the optional 3-point-attachment that secures your dog to your car’s car seat LATCH system. (In the interest of honesty, I really wish that this attachment was included and not sold as an accessory. I think it may cause confusion and not all vendors sell the 3-point-attachment accessory. To be clear, the crash test results presented here included the optional 3-point-attachment.)
The Deluxe Car Safety Harness with 3-point-attachment does take some initial setup to get started. However, it only has to be done once.
First I threaded the 3-point-attachment through the bottom of the harness.
You can see the additional loops of the 3-point-attachment on Pug’s belly, here. The car safety harness does appear bulkier than a traditional walking harness, but it’s a fair trade-off for safety. While I thought the additional straps looked a little funny, the dogs seemed entirely unbothered.
Then, since I’ve never used a car seat anchor, I had to Google to find out what and where they were in my car! If you’re unfamiliar, you can search the model of your car plus “LATCH anchors” to find a picture or diagram. The blue circle indicates where the anchors were located in my Dodge Caliber.
Then clip in one end of your 3-point-attachment to the anchors.
There are a couple of different ways you can attach the carabiner strap (you can also run the seat belt directly through the straps of the harness). I set them up as shown here, and this is what it will look like fully set up. This can be left in the car ready to go, so you only have to go through the setup process once.
When you put your dog in, you attach the harness to the seat belt with the carabiner.
And attach the 3-point-connection to the loops at the bottom of the harness. This is definitely a little more awkward than simply clipping them in via the carabiner, but once you’ve gotten the hang of it it’s not too bad. And definitely worth the extra time for the added protection.
I initially worried that the extra attachments under their belly would make the dogs uncomfortable or awkward, but they didn’t seem to notice at all. I had a heck of a time keeping Pug in the sitting position and not laying down for a nap during this photoshoot!
The main thing that led me to work with Solvit on this, despite my issues noted above, was that their Deluxe Car Safety Harness is affordable, even with the additional cost of the 3-point-attachment. And I know that for many people, especially those with multiple dogs, cost is a major factor when choosing whether or not to invest in a car safety system. I want as many people to add a car safety system to their vehicles as possible!
And with that in mind, Solvit is also giving away one Deluxe Car Safety Harness and 3-Point-Attachment to one lucky reader. This giveaway is open to US residents 18 and over and will run for 2 weeks time. Winner will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. Check the Rafflecopter widget for full terms and conditions.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclaimer: I was provided two Solvit Deluxe Safety Harnesses and 3-point-attachments and a giveaway prize in exchange for an honest review. As always, I never recommend products I don’t fully support.
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”