This post is sponsored by Sleepypod

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.

FTC Disclosure: This is a sponsored post, which means that I was compensated to feature this content. Regardless of payment received, you will only see products or services featured on this site that I believe are of interest to our readers.

15 Comments on Has Your Cat’s Carrier Been Crash Tested?

  1. A Sleepypod carrier has been on my wish list for a year for my therapy cat. Reading that the carriers have been crash-tested increased my desire to get one. My husband noted too that all the pet members of our family could make use of it. We ordered our first this weekend!

  2. Why didn’t they test the carriers not on the front passenger seat, but on the floor in front? Or on the floor of the back seat? BTW, my parents used to put me a hard plastic bed on the floor in front of the back seat in the 1950’s (no seat belts). I put my son in a plastic car seat facing backwards in the front passenger seat, he’s now 35. 🙂 Things change so much, don’t they? I worry if you put car seats or pet carriers in the back, you can’t see how they are doing, or worst case, you might “forget them” like the guy did when he drove to work instead of daycare. Someone must have a better solution that isn’t expensive.

    • Nancy, I passed your question on to Lindsey Wolko, the founder of the Center for Pet Safety. This is what Lindsey said: “When you know better, you do better! The CPS Certified Brands use connection options available in most passenger vehicles and meet rigorous testing and performance requirements. We’ve learned so much over the last 7 years about what works and what doesn’t when it comes to pet travel. Remember, many years ago, they used to secure children in car seats that resemble lawn chairs. Would you do that today – knowing what we now know about safety? Seriously – just look at some of these contraptions!

      We hope you value the effort we take to ensure the safety of these pet travel products. Yes, they do cost more, but if they save your pet in a crash, the investment will more than pay for itself. We’ve spoken with pet owners who have spent over $15,000.00 to reclaim their pet from an injury sustained in a crash. The cost of CPS Certified carriers – like the Sleepypod – seem like a bargain when you factor in what could happen with a lesser carrier in a worst-case scenario.”

    • Hi Nancy, I am an Occupational Therapist and I work assisting people in wheelchairs travel safely. Car safety is very set in Australia and the Australian standards are in line with the international ISO standards. Cars are now designed with crumple zones to remove some of the forces that would otherwise be designed to go directly through a peraons body causing a lot of damage. In a standard vehicle the part of the car designed to avoid most of this is he car seat, where a person would be supported. This is why by law Australians are required to sit in a seat with a belt that meets the Australian and international standards. For the best safety in the event of sudden braking or collision it is highly recomended to sit in the seat with a pelvic and shoulder strap. I was excited to find a crash tested pet carrier that would avoid my pet becoming a missile and risking serious injury. If you’re not convinced I recommend you watch some videos on human crash testing dummies, first with no belt, then only a pelvic belt, then with a pelvic belt and shoulder belt with head support behind the head. Once you have seen this you may reconsider a loved one or a pet travelling on the floor of a vehicle. It’s just about keeping everyone as safe as can possibly be achieved and over the years many engineers and medical professionals have been working to minimise the risk. I hope this helps?

  3. I purchased two different colors. To entice my cat, I placed one of their beds inside each sleepypod… and surprise they both snuggled right into them.

  4. I’m so glad I read this. I would like to add that carriers should never be in the front seat of a car. Those airbags can crush them in an accident. I had a roll over crash once and had one carrier in front and one in back. Luckily I didn’t have passenger side airbags yet in that car. Now I do so they are always in the back.

  5. Sponsored by Sleepypod – girl you’ve made it 😉 HA. Seriously, though – Sleepypod is the best!! I’ve done a blog post on it as well and was so impressed with their crash test ratings and the whole system in general. I love the idea of it being a mobile pet bed – because my cats have grown to HATE their cage.

  6. Until I read your post, I didn’t even know there are crash tested carriers for cats. I wonder if they have this safety tested Sleepypod’s carriers available in Turkey?

  7. WOW! this is a very informative video!!! this should be put out there all over; like many I assumed that by putting the seatbelt around my hard sided carrier, my pet was safe!! what an eye-opener!

    PLEASE, PLEASE, get this info out there for pet parents!!! ITS VITALLY IMPORTANT. I know it helps you sell your product, but it would also alert the pet parents, and I’m hoping that other carrier manufacturers will step up and have theirs tested. Like our children, its important that pet owners keep their babies safe too. thanks for such an informative video. keep up the great work…..

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