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How can we travel safely with a dog and a child?

How can we travel safely with a dog and a child?

10/03/2016

Without a doubt, one of the cutest images imaginable is that of a child playing with his or her dog. We would like to take this relationship with us anywhere, and we can. It's perfectly possible for your pet to travel with you. However, when we travel with a child and a pet, we must put into practice a series of precautions, especially if we're speaking of a newborn baby or a child of just a few months.

Vacation has arrived, and we leave our home to seek another place to spend some peaceful time at, and the our dog has become another passenger. During the trip, surely the home's little prince or princess will want to spend the entire trip playing with the dog, but that's not an option. Dogs (in reality any animal), entail a hazard when one is behind the wheel. In fact, recall that in the case of an accident at 50 kph, the animal multiplies its weight by 35.

UNTIED DOG, RISK FOR THE DRIVER

First of all, they are not used to traveling, can become nervous and it's impossible to foresee their reactions.  Imagine that a loose dog jumps to the front part of the vehicle, and doesn't think of a better place to hide than between the driver's legs, making it impossible to brake, accelerate, switch gears... in short, to drive properly, which can result in a disaster and put all of the vehicle's passengers at risk.

According to Traffic Regulations: "The driver of a vehicle is obliged to maintain such freedom of movement, necessary field of vision and continuous attention to driving, to guarantee his or her own safety, that of the other occupants of the vehicle and that of other road users. To this effect he or she should take special care to maintain a suitable position and the same applies to the other passengers, as well as the appropriate placing of objects and animals so that they do not cause any interference between the driver and any of the others."

In summary, this law sets forth that as long as the dog does not interfere with the driver while driving, nor with the driver's field of vision, then one is in compliance with legislation.

RISKS FOR THE CHILD

In addition to the above, if we have the dog untied in the back of the vehicle next to a baby, it's impossible for us to control it from the front passenger seat, and much less from the driver's position. The dog will want to be with the baby. When the dog is untied, in case of a sudden need to brake or an accident, it will be thrown and could impact the minor. 

All of this must be avoided.

HOW CAN WE TRAVEL SAFELY?

In any case, the dog transforms from being a mere animal to become another family member. Therefore, there are many ways to make the dog another passenger, assuring the safety of the moving vehicle even when it accompanies us. The article "How should a pet ride in the car?" addresses the way to do this.

The first question we must answer: Can a dog travel in our vehicle? Yes Furthermore, can it travel with a child in the rear part of the vehicle? Yes, but taking precautions and depending on the age of the minor. Now we will detail all of the possibilities recommended by DGT. The only negative response is with regard to whether the animal can travel untied. Clearly not.

Now, the ways in which our pet can travel in the rear part of the vehicle together with our child:

-Single-hook harness. Valid and highly efficient system in the case of an accident at reduced speeds. It's as if the dog wears a conventional leash for taking a walk but with a harness on one end which is attached to the pet, and with a tongue that's inserted into the safety belt latch on the other end. This option is ideal when a child is old enough to control the dog or keep the dog from being a nuisance. The ideal way to travel with a dog if we're referring to a very small child that rides in a car bed is detailed further below.

-Harness with two hooks. This harness is safer, given that in the case of an accident, it keep the dog from colliding against the driver's seat. It's recommendable for the system to have a short connection, as this way the pet won't collide against any seat. 

-Dog carrier fastened with a safety belt. A dog carried is one of the most commonly used options when we speak of transporting an animal in a vehicle, as long as our pet is small in size. These carriers may be anchored with a safety belt and allow the animal to travel upon the rear car seats, accompanying our children. It's the best option when a child is very small.

-Dog carrier upon the floor of the vehicle. If it is small, it will fit perfectly in the space between seats. This option is safer for the animal as there is little room for play, therefore the energy of an impact is quickly absorbed. Likewise, we recommend that it be fastened. It's also a good option if we have a baby.

These possibilities are the most advisable, as long as the animal is of moderate size. If our pet is of a considerable size, it cannot travel next to our child and must be placed in the trunk, with this area separated by a dog guard or barrier.

Now, enjoy your trip all together and in the safest way possible. Remember that if you have any questions, you can turn to our section ‘The Expert Answers’, where we'll be pleased to help you.

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