Baby Gear

Spooky Baby Gear

12:17 PM

Or the proof that the "cheap" isn't so cheap.
DH and I started getting into surveying baby gear shops since February both in shops around the city, and online to give us an idea of what exactly is available in India.
The result is a mix of extremely good, and down right scary as it is the case with most retail operation in this country I might add. What shocked me the most is that most of the local non-franchise shops seem to have the same appeal as most of those cheapo roadside Chinese plastic import dump you find all around, except that since they are cornering a new market (the baby gear market) the store has some AC and shop windows, what's for sale is overpriced considering the low quality and is marketed in such a way as to mislead a not so baby-gear savvy customer.


low quality laminate cots, canvas bassinet looking more like the pretend cot I owned as a girl to put my dolls to sleep, bouncers marketed as car seats, real car seats not meeting any security standard, questionable plastic teethers,not properly informed staff...you will find all that and more!
And the same type of crap is on sale at full maximum retail price online on stores such as ebay, supported by low quality pictures, and clearly one that has been snagged online somehow as no matter who is the vendor and which online shopping portal you visit, the picture is the same, and often the description complete with the typos follows it.

So much I though a little collection of the best of the worst would be an interesting thing to post so here we go :

- First let's meet the car seat that isn't one but is marketed as such on various online portal :
http://eshop.webindia123.com/shop/product/kids_store/baby_care_products/Electronix_Mall/58222
This website give a description that is rather complete, but gosh it is so bad to mislead people about car safety. First I wonder how the thing can be properly secured in a car, and well I will trust them when they say it fits all car considering there is no way of strapping it so it is really a matter of just putting it down on the seat. What is alarming though is that they say this can be used on a front seat!!!!! NEVER EVER EVER put a baby on a front seat unless it's in a rear facing proper car seat, that you have no other choice and that you have no passenger side airbag, even then, the risk of death and injuries is greater. That particular model also has several flaws like a 2 point harness from which any squirmy baby will free themselves.
How such a thing came to be marketed as a car seat isn't much of a surprise in India, road safety isn't the top priority in general, and in some places there is still a serious struggle to enforce helmet wear on a motorbike, what sadden me is that there might be some people out there willing to invest in safety for their child but have no proper information, other than a store like "mothercare" is called overpriced despite them selling proper baby gear meeting European standards of safety. That online horror goes for sale at over 4000 rupees, the cheapest model of proper rear facing car seat in Mothercare starts at 3500...so much for being "overpriced" huh?


- Next I give you the creepy crib, again you can find this one all over town and online : http://eshop.webindia123.com/shop/product/kids_store/baby_care_products/Electronix_Mall/58221
I had the "privilege" to see this one in a store, and let me tell you it looks like it would collapse if I put more than one plastic doll in there, a moving baby cannot be safe in there really,and for 3000 + rupees, you might as well throw money out of your window really. I hat to seem repetitive but Mothercare has a bigger "pack and play" cot that can be used safely up to the age of 2 that cost the same price and has no metallic parts that can harm baby. And I saw some similar safe models at Lifestyle, around the same prices. Again, who said branded is overpriced?

- Found all over the place is the "New Born Baby Pillow" http://cgi.ebay.in/New-Born-Baby-Pillow-Very-useful-Baby-Product_W0QQitemZ400048374800QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_203?hash=item400048374800&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14&_trkparms=66%3A1%7C65%3A1%7C39%3A1%7C240%3A1318%7C301%3A1%7C293%3A1%7C294%3A25
I saw that one in stores, it's indeed a pillow for a baby's head, and is always marketed as "very useful baby product" NOT!!!!!! Pillows should not be used until the age of one year, in fact if you care about your baby, do not put anything pillow, thick loose blanket, stuffed toys and the like into a crib, it increase the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) simply because those stuffies are choking hazard, a baby do not have the reflex of clearing their airways and will not even get that having the face deep in a pillow is associated with their lack of oxygen or difficulty breathing...give that Extremely Useless Baby Product a big fat miss, no matter how much the price is it is still a waste.

I could go on and on, but so far from all the research I've made I've seen a lot of alarming items for sale, and most are bearing tags such as "imported" simply because the average Joes and Janes around here still think that imported = better quality. Which is not necessarily true, lots of the imported stuff in these shop are from China, and are the low grade cheap stuff they cannot sell in other countries because there regulations in matter of safety standard exist. And a Plastic cup from China isn't better than a Plastic cup from India, it will cost more making people think that it must be better quality. Plus we should remember the not so old lead paint fiasco that took the Toy world by storm a year and a half ago, had major international brands re-think their strategy over and keep a closer eye on their manufacturing plants in China, while giants like Mattel and Fisher-Price are a bit more cautious about it, there are a lot of other toy brands that aren't and caution should be observed when making a purchase, and one should certainly think twice before making a big purchase.

When it comes to baby safety, it is worth looking at all the options and pay a visit to those big stores as well even if you think it's costly. DH and I spent 12k on a cot at Mothercare (gasp all you want) the advantage our cot has over the models commonly found in other shops is that it's made of solid wood, can be converted into a toddlers bed and back into an infant crib which means it will last us a long time and still meet the safety standard, while the most sensitive choice in a smaller unbranded shop was around 9k had lots of flaws,gaps in which a baby's hand can get harmed, and due to the poor quality of wood or MDF used will start wearing out sooner, and cannot be used after the child reach 1 year old because it is not an evolutive product, forcing us to go on the market for a bigger crib/bed later and leaving us with the hassle of storing the useless one until we decide what to do with it.
Never before did my mom's words : "A cheap item isn't necessary a bargain" did ring clearer to my ears.

2 comments

  1. This brings back memories from when I lived and raised my baby in India! We never let anyone come visit us without stocking their suitcases with things we just couldn't find over there.

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  2. I'm preparing myself for this eventuality :-)

    Though fortunately there are some big baby gear brands available around here now.
    I resorted to asking for goodies from Switzerland a while back, though they are mostly food stuff,I have a feeling that will all change very soon :-)

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