The BCIA would like our members, businesses and consumers alike, to be aware of the knock-off carriers now being sold on various web sales sites. Many of these carriers are available on a regular basis on eBay, where unscrupulous sellers use well-recognized brand names to sell shoddy copies. They often receive their stock from sites like this one:
All the brand name carriers shown in that link (including Ergo, Beco, Hotslings, FreeHand — rebranded as “Minizone” — and Moby), are unauthorized copies, complete with stolen designs and instructions. In addition to being illegal, these carriers can be dangerous, due to the poor sewing and materials — many are sewn with inferior fabrics, and may be easier to tear when in use.
The link is included so that our readers can view the many carriers that have been copied. We DO NOT recommend purchasing from the site, since the carriers are all stolen designs that are more than likely unsafe to use. Importing and distributing carriers, particularly ones that break a patent (as is the case with the fake Ergos) is also illegal, and those who knowingly do so can be prosecuted. Your baby’s safety is far more important than saving a few dollars on a cheap carrier!
We urge all consumers to carefully check the packaging on carriers they buy from unknown retailers, and to purchase from reputable sellers when buying a baby carrier. If you are in doubt as to whether a retailer is legitimate, you can check the manufacturer’s website.
If you think you might have purchased a counterfeit carrier, here is some advice from some of our manufacturers:
An example of one of the fake carriers (an ErgoBaby look-a-like in this case):
Website: www.DHGATE.com – this is a wholesale, direct from China website that sells many products at ‘wholesale’ prices. This is the website where you can buy fake Ergo and Beco and Moby also.
Price: $14-$35 USD
Packaging: Embroidered FHMT package with the FreeHand Logo replaced by a MiniZone Logo. Colors are muted. The bottom of the package says:
Package Contains 1 Embroidered FreeHand Mei Tai Baby Carrier Made from 100% cotton, Machine Wash cold, tumble dry low, do not dryclean, use cool iron if needed, Do not bleach, Made in Chin
There is no contact information for MiniZone on the packaging.
Carrier: There is a tag on the upper right side of the carrier, near the right shoulder strap that says MiniZone, beneath this logo tag is a care and content tag that reads:
100% COTTON, WASH SEPARATELY PROFESSIONAL DRY CLEAN RECOMMENDED MADE IN CHINA
The shoulder straps and head rest padding are open cell foam.
Packaging: FreeHand Mei Tai logo is on upper left corner. The bottom of the packaging says:
Package Contains 1 Embroidered FreeHand Mei Tai Baby Carrie, Made from 97% cotton, 3% Spandex, padding 80% cotton, 20% polyester, Machine Wash cold, tumble dry low, Do not dryclean, Use cool iron if needed. Do not bleach. Made in India, Lot #XXXXXXX TogetherBe LLC www.togetherbe.com
Carrier: There is a tag on the inside right side of the waist belt that says:
FreeHand Baby Carrier, www.togetherbe.com Made in India RN#XXXXXX03/10 Lot: XXXXXXX 303-459-2649
The back of the tag says:
MACHINE WASH COLD LAY FLAT TO DRY 97% Cotton, 3% Spandex, Padding 80% Cotton, 20% Polyester, PO BOX 6740 Denver CO, BS EN 13209-2:2005 Weight of Child from 2-16KG
There is also the word FREEHAND embroidered on the waist belt.
The shoulder straps and head rest padding are quilters’ batting
From a customer:
I purchased a MiniZone MT off of Ebay. The shoulder straps are not constructed correctly, the shoulder strap fabric is not reinforced and sunk into the body of the carrier. When I pulled on the straps of the baby carrier the fabric along the top of the head rest ripped. I then pulled on the other shoulder strap and the fabric ripped on the other side. Another parent purchased a MIniZone MT off of Ebay and she also pulled on each shoulder strap. Her carrier did not rip.
If you have purchased or have seen a fake Embroidered FreeHand Mei Tai, please contact info@TogetherBe.com
Please do not put your baby into any carrier that has not been tested for safety.