Monday, February 15, 2016

Cozitot Mei Tai Review #CozitotBabySlingCarrier

As someone who is a huge fan of babywearing, I actually looked in to doing product reviews with the hopes that I would eventually get the chance to review a carrier.  I was so happy when I got the opportunity to review a mei tai.  

The majority of the time I wear my little one, I use a soft structured carrier(SSC) aka a buckle carrier as I find them to be most convenient.  I did already own a mei tai, though.  I got my mei tai last summer as they can be cooler than soft structured carriers as their structure or better put lack thereof allows for more airflow.  Mei tais are also often a more budget friendly option than SSCs for people who want to start babywearing.  They also tend to be able to be folded more compactly, so they can be included in your diaper bag for outings.  So, they have their benefits when it comes to babywearing.  Many mei tais are more budget friendly than other types of babywearing options as well. 

I was a bit confused by the picture on Amazon when I went to order the mei tai as it shows a baby in a forward facing carry which is generally not recommended in mei tais.

When I first received this mei tai, I began by reading the instructions even though I already own a mei tai, so I would be able to assess the product properly.  Two things struck me when reading the instructions.  The first thing is that the instructions were for a front and back carry though mei tais usually allow for a hip carry as well.  The lack of this inclusion is not that big of a deal just surprising.  Since only the two positions had instructions, I infer that the manufacture does not recommend a forward facing carry for their mei tai despite the pic on Amazon.  The second thing I noticed reading the instructions was the recommendation of single knots for tying off the straps.  I have always been instructed to use a double knot for tying of mei tai straps.  When later reading through all of the Amazon reviews of the product, I noticed several complaints that people had problems keeping the straps tied which I think double knotting might solve.

I am huge proponent of safety when it comes to products for infants and children.  So, I always check products before using them with my little one.  I fill out an mail all of my registration cards for products and actively check for product recalls on products for my daughter.  I would be horrified if my daughter suffered serious harm I could have prevented due to me using an unsafe product.

Closeup of the embroidery
Initially, pulling out the Cozitot Mei Tai, I was pleased with how pretty I found the embroidery to be.  The colors are also gender neutral.   I thought the padding at the baby's neck area was a nice touch and liked how thick the shoulder padding felt.  However, when I looked at the stitching more carefully on the carrier, I began to be concerned.
Closeup of the shoulder and neck padding

I took the carrier to a local babywearing meeting to speak with babywearing experts to double check my concerns.  Both of the babywearing educators were in agreement with my concerns that this carrier is unsafe.  When feeling at the shoulders where the straps meet the panel, it does not feel like the shoulders have been countersunk into the panel.  Even if they had been, there is no x box stitch for reinforcement of the straps into the panel only decorative triangular stitching shown below.   Countersinking the strap into the panel allows room for a large x box stitch which secures the strap to prevent it from easily being pulled out of the panel by the weight of the child and pressure of being pulled around the wearers body.
An example of x box stitching

 Additionally, the straps have two lines of stitching attaching them to the panel with no bartacking.   Bartacking is common in both carriers and traditional backpacks as an additional stabilizing stitch to secure straps.   All three of these being missing creates a situation where the straps could easily detach from the panel due to the stress of carrying an infant or toddler.  If the straps detached while in a front carry position at least there is a possibility you could catch your child before he or she feel to the ground.  I don't see much of a chance of catching a child falling out in a back carry.

Closeup of the left shoulder stitching

Links explaining the importance of x box stitching, countersinking straps, and bartacking:
Baby Carrier Sewing and Safety from the Babywearing Institute
Mandatory ATSM Standards for Mei Tais  

 I tried to contact the seller to verify the product I received was not defective and thus an aberration., But ,after over 10 days, I have yet to receive any type of response from the company.  I scoured all of the product reviews on Amazon.  I did note that one other reviewer commented on the lack of x box stitching which leads me to believe this is the way the product is meant to be. 
The product is sold here at Amazon.  I would never recommend doing anything to endanger your child, therefore I do not recommend purchasing this Mei Tai.

I received this product for free in exchange for a review, but all opinions are honest, genuine, and my own.
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