Saturday, May 14, 2016

Product Review: AllSafe Car Harness

Klein Metall's Allsafe is a German-engineered crash protection car harness. I features doubleback buckles and a padded chest piece to distribute force. The Allsafe dog seat belt comes with a second piece that attaches to the vehicle belt via a pair of steel quick links, with a heavy bolt snap that connects to the harness. The harness may also be used for walking and sledding.
crash tested dog harness
Photo by Erin Koski

So I've basically acquired all of the top performers from the Center for Pet Safety's 2013 Harness Study. The SleepyPod Clickit Sport is currently the only car harness certified by CPS, but some of the other products tested performed adequately under certain conditions.

Most dog safety harness testing is static, the manufacturer pulls on the harness until it breaks and then reports how much force their product could take. Julius K9 advertises their IDC Powerharness as crash tested using this test. A static test only measures the strength of the product, a dynamic sled test demonstrates how it actually performs in a collision. I do not consider the IDC Powerharness to be crash tested, and feel that Julius K9 is making a false claim.

The Center for Pet Safety has some pretty rigorous testing criteria for products undergoing their dynamic sled test.  Manufacturers usually test their products with a 30 lb weighted stuffed dog, and declare their product effective if it does not break. The Center for Pet Safety actually considers the motion of the test dummy on impact, and whether it flew off the seat and presented a danger to other hypothetical passengers in the vehicle. They test the car harnesses at all available sizes, and even consider a measurement called 'head excursion'. That's the measure of how far your head moves on impact, and is an important measurement for child safety seats.
AllSafe crash tested harness
Photo by Erin Koski

The AllSafe car harness normally comes with an adjustable tether that is several inches long. When the harness was tested with the seatbelt run through the back of the harness instead of using the tether, it kept the heaviest dog on the seat. With the tether, the dog launched off the seat. The tether shown on both the tests and the Klein Metall website is adjustable, however the one that arrived with my harness is not. Still, the tether is about 6" long, and not short enough to minimize head excursion and potential brain injury in a crash.

It's worth noting that Klein Metall and their USA distributor 4x4 North America still include the tether with the harness. However, the 4x4 North America product page now includes the vital information about the harness being much safer without it.

This harness probably would have passed the CPS certification requirements had it been tested without the tether. The harness suffered no damage in the testing, demonstrating its strength and ability to not squish or behead my dog in an accident. It is light and comfortable enough to be used as a walking harness, and Brisbane doesn't mind wearing it.

Pros: Crash tested and actually crashworthy when used without the tether. Fits enough like a regular harness that my weird-stuff-hating dog is willing to walk in it.

Cons: It fits a little bit closer to Brisbane's armpits than I'd like for a walking harness. The doubleback buckles make it slightly less convenient to put on. It's also at the top of the crashworthy harness price range at $120-150.

Bottom Line: Not Center for Pet Safety certified at this point, but performance seems comparable to the SleepyPod harnesses. The AllSafe is a bit more versatile than the Clickit or Roadie, and works better than either of those as a walking harness.

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