Counterfeiters have now picked slings as an area to copy and potentially put baby’s life in danger. Yes, a fake baby carrier and buying one could be extremely harmful to your baby. As parents we want the best for our children but as many new parents will discover babies don’t come cheap, with many baby carriers costing nearly £100 it is understandable why parents look for a better, cheaper deal. But buying a fake carrier, although possibly ‘a bargain’ isn’t worth the risk. We want to keep our children safe and buying a fake carrier cannot allow us to do this.
In the United Kingdom there is currently no legal requirement for a sling or baby carrier to meet any European or British safety standards. However, reputable manufacturers aim to ensure their product does meet them. At present almost all Soft Structured Carriers available in the UK meet European standards (The British Safety Standard for Baby Carriers is EN 13209-2-2005) and have product liability insurance. Slings made by Work At Home Mums (WAHM) will have often gone through ‘testing’ by sending sling to experienced sling users to
try and provide feedback on. Legislation of baby carriers in the United States is being strengthened with new rules on testing, labelling, instructions and the ability to register your product in case of a product recall. If a manufacturer wishes to sell in the United States they will need to meet these criteria and therefore it is likely that they will become the European norm, fake carriers will not meet these standards.
In the United Kingdom counterfeiting is also linked to organised crime and therefore buying a fake carrier can also be helping other forms of crime. Most carriers come with a warranty against faults, fake carriers don’t. We also have no idea whether the maker has used toxic dyes, sub quality fabrics and threads, and seam allowances. The dyes used to make baby carrier is particularly important, as babies love to suck on the straps. Currently, many of the big name carriers have been copied, often using stolen designs and patents. Fake slings
are often sold on eBay and Amazon so please be careful if looking to buy a sling from either of these sites. It is generally recommended to buy from reputable sellers and most manufacturers will have a list of genuine sellers. At present known counterfeited carriers include: Ergo baby carrier, Beco Butterfly, Moby Wrap, Freehand Mei tai, Patapum and Hotslings. The recommended retail price for most Soft Structured Carriers is around the £80 mark and it is highly likely that any ‘Brand New In Box Sling’ being offered for less than this is not real. If buying online check that your retailer is an authorised seller. This can usually be done by looking at manufacturer’s website and in the case of Beco Baby Carrier sellers by the display of an approved logo on the retailer’s website. (I am an approved seller of Beco Carriers).
Like with a fake handbag, the counterfeiters are good and a quick inspection might lead you to believe a sling is genuine. Don’t be fooled by appearances. This is your baby after all and we do our best in everything to protect them. It is cruel that the counterfeiters have now chosen to put our desire to keep our babies close as an excuse to make a quick buck. The Ergo Baby Carrier is the best known ‘fake carrier’. Recently, due to the number of fakes being discovered the BBC’s ‘Fake Britain’ featured this carrier. It is often advertised for sale with a DVD. Genuine Ergo Baby Carrier’s do not have a DVD (originally they did but have not for many years). If looking to buy online you should be looking to pay more than £85 for a
genuine Ergo. There are currently no registered authorised Ergo sellers on eBay and therefore if buying from this site please ask the seller for proof of authenticity (original receipts, serial numbers, photographs of logo and zips).
How can you find out more about fake carriers?
When looking to purchase a new sling please take time to research authorised sellers if buying it brand new. If buying from the popular preloved ‘For Sale or Trade’ markets again ask for proof of authenticity. In both cases, legitimate sellers with nothing to hide will not mind providing this evidence for you. Speak to your local sling library or babywearing consultant for recommendations of where to buy from, they may even be able to provide you with discount codes as many have close working relationships with retailers.
The links below provide more information on the different faked carriers: