Top Tips for Keeping Pets Safe this Spring

Spring is a time of all things new, a season when many people get inspired to make changes. Whether new additions or new adventures, it’s what’s on everyone’s mind.

With that said, it’s important to be safe wherever you are, and whatever you’re doing. As safety experts, we’d like to offer you our tips for keeping your beloved pets safe this spring, so the season is fun-filled and worry-free.

Home Improvements

As the temperatures rise, everyone seems to have spring cleaning and home improving at the top of their list. Whether you’re painting, de-cluttering, or adding a new addition onto your home, keep in mind that your pets could get very curious, and could be put at risk. Be sure to use pet-safe paint and pick up any object they could choke on, such as nails and other small tools. The best way to ensure their safety is to confine your pets to a safe room blocked off by a gate. Our Wire Mesh Gate Line is the perfect way to keep them out of harm. Choose the appropriate size based on the size of your dog, and relax knowing your furry friend is safe.

Lawn and Garden

Nothing says spring like a garden in full bloom, but remember that fertilizers and insecticides can be fatal to a pet if ingested. And some of those fragrant flowers we favor are a lot less harmless than they look; lilies, for instance, are poisonous to animals. If you want to enjoy your green thumb and your pet’s company at the same time, our 108” Keepsafe is the perfect solution. It can be used to block off a one-car garage and allows you to keep your pet outside with you, yet safely confined—even if you don’t have a fence.

On the Road

Spring is in the air, adventures await, and the only one happier than you to hit the road is your dog, who looks irresistibly cute with his ears flapping in the wind. But his vehicle safety is just as important as yours, and this is ensured by keeping him secured in a pet-safe area of the car. Our PetShield Travel Barriers are the perfect way to protect your pooch while on springtime joy rides. And for SUVs or vans, our 3716 Bucket Seat Barrier allows the whole family (pup included) to ride safely together.850

Once you get to your destination—whether beach, picnic, or party at a friend’s place—you can keep pets and kids safe and away from harm (stairs, stoves, barbeques, etc). with our Play Yards, complete with patented Sun Shades.

We hope you have a great summer. Just don’t forget to stay safe!

How to Travel with Your Kids with Safety and Ease

Many first-time parents will tell you that the thought of traveling with their baby or toddler brings a great deal of stress—enough to make many simply scratch the idea of going anywhere.

However, those who have done it will be the first to say that you can and should travel with 475cropmedyour child, as long as you take the necessary steps ahead of time. One of the most important (and easiest) precautions to take is to bring a portable, pressure-mounted gate with you. Their portability makes it simple to turn a hotel room or relative’s home into a child-proof environment.

While you can’t expect someone else to baby-proof their home for you, you can bring the safety with you. While in someone else’s home, use the gate to restrict access to the following rooms and areas:

  • Kitchens: sharp utensils, hot ovens, and open dishwashers pose a serious threat
  • Bathrooms: low cabinets, especially those with medicine in them, should always be off access
  • Living rooms with fireplaces
  • Home offices with wires, box cutters, scissors, etc.
  • Staircases: between 1998 and 2008, 932,000 children under the age of five were taken to the hospital for injuries related to staircases*

While staying in a hotel, use gates to keep your children away from:

  • Bathrooms: there may not be medicine or cleaning products, but they’re not always as sanitary as you’d think
  • In-room kitchens with utensils, unstable cabinets, etc.
  • Complimentary hotel amenities: lotions, soaps, shampoos, etc. could be hazardous to young children

Having a child doesn’t mean you have to stop your traveling or wait until they’re older; in fact, traveling with your kids can be very rewarding. Portable pressure-mounted gates provide the opportunity to go anywhere while having the peace of mind that your little ones are safe and protected. Bon baby voyage!

* http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/12/stairs-at-home-remain-a-childhood-hazard/

Keeping Children and Pets Safe During the Holidays

Thanksgiving is here, which means the holiday season has officially begun! It’s that special time of year when we spend extra time making memories with family, friends, and loved ones. However, it can also be a dangerous time if your home (or Grandma’s) isn’t properly child or pet proofed.

If your family’s home is anything like ours during the holidays (boisterous, loud and a bit chaotic) then you know how easy it can be to become forgetful of a small child or pet’s presence. One second can be too long when it comes to staircases, fireplaces and rooms with other hazards. The simple solution that doesn’t interrupt cooking, socializing or Uncle Gary’s exaggerated football stories; A reliable, pressure mounted baby and pet gate!376pic

According to this article, everything from poisonous poinsettias to Hanukkah candles poses risks; risks that can be avoided by the placement of a gate. A pressure mounted gate can be either kept on hand at your own home or easily transported to a relative’s. The advantage of using a gate that doesn’t require putting holes in walls is a plus, but ensuring the safety of your kids and pets is what gives you peace of mind during a fun yet stressful time.

At GMI, we offer a variety of gates in different shapes and sizes that can help you reach this peace of mind. We have everything from Wood expansion gates , Wire mesh gates , Wood slat swing gates , and more to help give your children and pets the protection they need. Eliminate all your added holiday stress by knowing your precious children and pets are safe and secure with the help from a GMI gate.

Want to know more about specific household items that can pose dangers and should be blocked off by gates? Check out this useful list. If you’ve got any questions about the right gate for your particular needs, feel free to contact us; we’re happy to help!

We wish you and your family a happy and safe holiday season!

Are Dogs in Your Car a Distraction?

Pet Related Distracted Driving

Holly E. Lewis

GMI® Juvenile & Pet Products

On a recent trip home from the veterinarian, I was pulled over for speeding in a small town because I was talking to my dog, Lassy, who was in the back seat. Attempting to calm her after a round of shots while driving, she was a brief distraction and I lost track of how fast I was driving.

In a recent interview with Kentucky State Police Commissioner, Rodney Brewer, he recounts an incident involving a father and his teenage son who were involved in a collision. After the investigation was completed, it was determined that the collision was a result of swatting a wasp on the windshield- a distraction that we have probably all experienced. The father was killed.  

Thanks to news coverage, blogs, PSA’s, etc… we are hyper aware of the dangers of a quickly growing form of distracted driving –Texting and Smartphone use.  Comparatively little has been written about another source of distracted driving -the family pet.

It is estimated that there are over 78 million dogs owned in the US (according to the American Pet Products Association 2011-2012 National Pet Owners Survey, 46.3 million U. S. households own at least one pet, a large percentage of them owning at least one dog.) In the 2012 Summer Pet Travel Survey conducted by PetRelocation.com, only 12% of respondents stated they DO NOT TRAVEL WITH THEIR PETS — leaving a whopping  88% of pet owners that do.  Whether it is for a quick trip to the supermarket, a day trip to the local State Park, or a two week trip to the beach, hundreds of thousands of dogs are “coming along for the ride!!” 

So, it is not surprising that there has been an increase in distracted driving incidents involving pets. Although there is not a specific measure for pet-related distracted driving (it is classified with other distractions such as eating, map reading, tuning the radio, putting on make-up or reaching for an item) what is unmistakable is that the number of people traveling with their pets is growing in record numbers.  The organization Paws To Click, who’s mission is to “inspire every pet owner to travel responsibly with their pets,” estimates that an accident occurs every 18 minutes because of a loose pet in a vehicle

A dog in the car, whether you admit it or not, is a distraction. Taking your attention away from the task of driving even for a few seconds can result in a serious accident. KSP Commissioner Brewer is passionate about this growing problem. “Distracted driving continues to be the leading contributor to motor vehicle crashes throughout the Commonwealth [of Kentucky]” he wrote in his Oct, 2012 blog, It Can Wait.  “At 55 mph a vehicle travels the length of a football field in 4.6 seconds. That is like driving 100 yards – essentially blind.”

Daryl Nike driving 4 Best

Are you guilty of any of the situations mentioned in a 2011 AAA / KURGO  sponsored  survey? Think about how long the attention of these drivers was on their pet, and not on driving.

  • 23% of dog owners said that they had used their arms to restrain dogs while applying the brakes in the past year.
  • 17% admitted to having a dog in their lap while driving.
  • Almost 20% of drivers admitted taking their hands completely off of the steering wheel while trying to keep a dog out of the front seat.
  • 18% admitted reaching into the back seat to interact with their dog while driving.

 How about some of the more unlikely situations?

  • Feeding or watering your pet while driving.
  • Taking a picture of your pet while driving.
  • Cleaning up after your pet gets carsick.

Believe it or not, all of these pet interactions were responses to questions on the survey.

Another hazard of unrestrained pets in a vehicle??? We have all experienced coming to an unexpected stop (or “slamming on the brakes”) while driving. Typically, our purse, coffee, duffle bag or briefcase has gone flying into the dashboard or floorboard (sometimes accompanied by some rather choice words…) Take a minute and imagine your family pet flying into the dash. For the same reason you “buckle up” your kids, you need to restrain your pet in a moving vehicle. Consider the safety of all of the occupants of your car. Jennifer Huebner-Davidson, AAA National Traffic Safety Programs manager says, “An unrestrained 10-pound dog in a crash at only 30 mph will exert roughly 300 pounds of pressure, while an unrestrained 80-pound dog in a crash at only 30 mph will exert approximately 2,400 pounds of pressure.” In even a low-impact, low-mph crash, your dog can become a projectile, endangering everyone in the vehicle, including your pet.   The danger is evident even in the insurance industry. Contributing Editor for Liberty Mutual’s “The Responsibility Project”, Andrea Bennett wrote about an extreme case of distracted driving in her April, 2012 Blog- The Danger of Driving with Dogs. The article mentioned a South Dakota woman who was pulled over because she was driving with 15 cats in her car! Apparently, she didn’t notice the patrol car because several of the cats were blocking her rear window.  Imagine the chaos if the cats had caused a high speed collision!

 A number of states have begun to pass legislation to create penalties for driving in varying situations with unrestrained pets in the car. According to an ABCNews.com, June 2012 article, “Drivers in Maine, Arizona, Hawaii and Connecticut may be ticketed or cited for distracted-driving if they are carrying their pet in their lap while driving.  Rhode Island and Oregon are considering doing the same. A law currently on the books in New Jersey states:

”Carrying animal in cruel, inhumane manner; disorderly persons offense;  A person who shall carry, or cause to be carried, a living animal or creature in or upon a vehicle or otherwise, in a cruel or inhumane manner, shall be guilty of a disorderly persons offense and punished as provided in subsection a. of R.S.4:22-17.”

 The fines associated with this “Cruelty to Animals” charge in New Jersey can range from $250 to $1,000 and, possibly up to six months in jail. The same state has a pending bill that speaks specifically to Unrestrained Pets. The synopsis reads that the bill “Establishes requirements for pet restraints in passenger automobiles for dogs and cats; establishes failure to comply with requirements as a motor vehicle offense AND an animal cruelty offense.” 

 So, what options do we have when it comes to the important task of restraining your dog in your vehicle? It’s important to evaluate the options best suited for your situation.  Some of the options available today are: pet seatbelts, crates, harnesses and travel barriers.  

If you travel frequently with the family pet, a high quality metal barrier, like the PetShield Travel Barrier– distributed in the US by GMI® Juvenile and Pet Products, is a practical choice.  Travel Barriers come in a variety of styles, materials and sizes, are generally easy to install and adjust (some with no tools required) and can easily be taken out of the vehicle when your pet is not “along for the ride.”  It gives your pet the freedom to move, keeps them out of your lap and keeps the other occupants of your vehicle safe while on the road, especially in the event of an accident.

 A travel barrier like PetShield, might have prevented a high profile 1999 incident involving famed author Stephen King. King was hit head-on by a van, and almost killed while walking along a road near his summer home in Maine. The driver of the van was reportedly trying to keep his Rottweiler out of a cooler full of raw meat in the back seat. 

KSP Commissioner Brewer emphasizes, “There are a myriad of things going on inside of a vehicle. It takes all of our senses and abilities to focus on the task of driving. Anything that minimizes distractions inside the vehicle is welcome in this day and age.”

 Drive Smart! Restrain your pet!