Safety of Pet Doors Questioned

Advocacy website launched to raise awareness of potential dangers of pet doors.

Posted: May 15, 2009, 3 a.m. EDT

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Orange tabby cat
It is estimated that more than 100 children nationwide in the past decade have drowned, nearly drowned or been injured after leaving the home through a pet door.
A mother in Orlando, Fla., wants to get the word out about the risks that pet access doors, or "doggie" doors, might pose to children. Carol Ranfone has launched a new advocacy website to raise awareness of the potential dangers of pet doors and to push for change in the industry.

Through, Ranfone hopes to help other parents avoid injury or death in their family. Her son, Matthew, was 2 years old when he slipped out of the home through the pet door and made his way into the backyard pool. He died 13 days later from injuries sustained in the near drowning.

It is estimated that in the past decade more than 100 children nationwide have drowned, nearly drowned or been injured after leaving the home through a pet door, according to new research. Ranfone and her family have been working to inform the public about the dangers associated with pet doors and to ensure that the products are made safer.

Pet door-related drowning incidents have been identified through news stories, public health specialists, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and coroners/medical examiners. Through her site, which debuts during National Water Safety Month in May, Ranfone hopes to make more people aware of how children can drown, get lost, wander into streets or otherwise be at risk after exiting a home through a pet door.

Ranfone says she hopes to advocate change in the way the products are made, such as providing warning labels. “Matthew didn’t have a chance to grow up,” Ranfone said, “but we hope that our advocacy will keep other children out of harm’s way.”

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Reader Comments

marj    omaha, NE

6/6/2009 4:43:40 PM

i'm sorry the child died but in our area you must have a fence around the pool.

Amy    Badin, NC

5/22/2009 2:53:14 PM

#1. I'm sorry something bad happened to her child but please watch your children.
#2 They make pet doors that require a magnet on the animals collars invest in one of those.
#3 Don't have the pet door on the side with the pool
Yet again I'm sorry that her child died

Pat    Omaha, NE

5/18/2009 5:07:56 AM

It's sad, but gees, another warning label that a 2 year old can't read anyway, get real.

Liz    Farmington, MN

5/15/2009 9:28:58 PM

Parents should keep their eyes on their kids and their pets. Children can be taught about dangers.

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