Do your pups love riding shotgun? Do they climb on the passenger seat or maybe even in your lap while you’re driving?
One way to prevent this is the fitting of a back seat barrier, which is a mesh partition attached to the front seats.
Admittedly, a back seat barrier prevents some – less artistic – pups to get into the passenger seat or climb into the driver’s lap. Transporting pets in the back seats or the trunk is a much safer option as it reduces distraction (looking away from the road for only two seconds doubles your risk of being in a collision).
What’s more, your dog might be killed when the passenger airbag deploys. Airbags are made to protect an ‘average person’ of 165lb; the force of the impact is too strong for animals and children. By the way, this is the reason why the passenger airbag must be switched off when there’s a baby carrier on the passenger seat.
On the flip side, back seat barriers have many disadvantages. First and foremost, the mesh is not strong enough to prevent the dog from becoming a projectile in case of an accident. An unrestrained 10-lb dog in a crash at only 30 mph will exert about 300 lb of pressure, while an 80-lb dog at only 30 mph will exert approximately 2,400 lb of pressure. Neither the mesh itself nor its fastenings are sturdy enough to deal with such a force, so mesh barriers aren’t crash tested!
It’s no secret that dogs like chewing, and the nylon mesh might be just their thing. Should the thick nylon threads get stuck, they might cause peritonitis (an infection in the abdomen) and need to be removed surgically.
If you’ve already got a back seat barrier and want to keep your pooch safe, restrain them with a harness. A high-quality product will prevent them from climbing over the partition and, more importantly, from hitting the front seats in a crash.
Back seat barriers are sometimes referred to as “safety partitions”, but this is misleading. If you want to keep your pups safe in the car, you simply don’t buy a mesh barrier. There are far better alternatives, for instance a car crate or a Travall Guard, which will be discussed in a future post.