Knock-off versions of U.S. baby carrier Ergobaby have hit the Japanese online market, according to a Tokyo-based consumer watchdog dedicated to catching fake brand goods.
Amid repeated reports of babies falling out of baby slings, Union des Fabricants, based in Chiyoda Ward, said of the 25 Ergobaby slings the group randomly bought online in November and December, 14 were fake.
Yahoo Japan, Rakuten and the Japanese arm of U.S. online retailer Amazon.com were among the major online shops targeted, it said.
“It’s highly likely that baby carriers with thin cloth or plastic buckles that loosen very easily are fake, and may lead to dangerous accidents such as babies falling off from slings,” said Takayuki Tsutsumi, executive director of Union des Fabricants.
While Ergobaby states on its website that it is difficult to verify the relationship between using fake baby carriers and instances of babies falling out, Tsutsumi says consumers should take steps to find out whether the products they have bought are fake.
According to a Tokyo Metropolitan Government report, there have been 117 cases of babies and infants being injured after falling out of baby slings since 2009, prompting calls for consumers to choose products carefully.
According to DADWAY Inc., the official retailer of Ergobaby, fake products are much cheaper at ¥3,500 to ¥9,500, compared with around ¥16,000 to ¥20,000 for the genuine article.
“If a product seems fake, then we advise the person to contact the consumer affairs center. We want to avoid any accidents from happening,” Tsutsumi said.