Knock-offs may look similar to branded products, but there’s no guarantee they meet the same safety and quality standards. The bottom product is a knock-off of Infantino’s Elevate Adjustable Nursing Pillow and is sometimes sold using Infantino’s product names and product images. It’s narrower than the Infantino product, poorly sewn, lumpy, and has stuffing coming out of its seams.
Part of being a smart parent means being a smart consumer. With a market as large and widespread as baby products, there are always shady businesses who simply want to make a buck off new parents.
With decades of experience in this market, we’ve learned a lot about counterfeit sellers who try to impersonate honest brands and knock-off baby products that try to mimic legitimate products.
At Infantino, we’re committed to putting safety first. That means not just ensuring our own products are safe, but also helping you — and other parents like you — to be informed consumers.
Buy Well-Known, Established Brands
While the low prices from unknown brands may be tempting, you’re better off sticking with recognized brands. Why? Established, legitimate companies do extensive testing on their products to ensure safety and reliability.
For instance, during Infantino’s product development process, our products are tested by our in-house engineering team, and then by a third-party lab that specializes in safety testing. Our products then go through multiple quality checks before they ever reach a consumer.
Many of these tests and standards may not even be obvious to most consumers. For example, have you ever worried about plastic chemicals leaching into your child's orange juice from a plastic cup or container? We use tested materials in our Fresh Squeeze line to ensure acidic foods (like oranges) won't cause leaching.
Knock-off products may look similar to legitimate baby products, but there’s no guarantee they meet the same safety standards. Moreover, if something does go wrong and a recall is required, you want to work with a company that will hold themselves accountable and provide replacements or refunds — not disapear overnight.
Shop at Well-Known, Established Retailers
It’s not just about buying reliable brands; where you buy them is just as important. Prominent baby product retailers — including (but not limited to) Walmart, Target, Babies “R” Us, Pottery Barn Kids, Land of Nod, and buybuyBaby — have direct relationships with the manufacturers that supply the products to them. These major retailers will only work with companies that can provide documented assurances that their products are safe and compliant with all federal laws. Some major retailers, such as Walmart, even require companies they partner with to meet higher standards than federal law.
Knock-off manufacturers may create their own online shops, in an effort to mimic the look of a legitimate online business. If you are shopping at an unfamiliar online store, check to see if they’ve published a physical address and contact information. Seek out online ratings and reviews from other customers, as they may alert you to a fishy situation.
Beware of Online Marketplaces
Manufacturers of knock-off products like to use open online marketplaces, such as eBay, to sell directly to consumers. The anonymity of these sites allows them to set up multiple shops, and easily create new ones if they get shut down for copyright and patent violations. They often steal product images and use brand names from legitimate companies. Some will even go so far as to lie about meeting specific safety and testing standards.
To further complicate things, some sellers may not even realize they have fakes. An inexperienced seller starting an online business may purchase wholesale baby items from international websites, without realizing these items aren’t the brands they claim to be, don’t meet federal standards, and haven’t gone through any safety testing.
As consumers, it can be difficult to tell fake listings apart from legitimate listings in open online marketplaces. It’s particularly tricky on Amazon.com, which acts as both a marketplace and a retailer. Any product that lists Amazon as the seller has been vetted through a buying department. Yet as a marketplace, Amazon.com includes far more than just its own products. As a result, myriad counterfeit and knock-off manufacturers are sold alongside trustworthy listings. Always check the “seller” of the item before purchasing, to ensure you are truly getting what you expect.
If you do shop through an online marketplace, make sure the website has a guarantee — such as eBay’s Money Back Guarantee — so you can get your money back if the product isn’t as you expected.
Don’t Buy Directly from Asia
Legitimate baby toy and gear brands in the US and Canada don’t ship to consumers directly from Asia. It’s as simple as that.
Though many baby brands manufacture products in Asia, they will not ship to you directly from that region of the world. If the seller is shipping to you from Asia, this should be a red flag that the manufacturer could be avoiding safety regulations, as well as copyright and patent laws.
That doesn’t mean all online sellers shipping from the US or Canada are legitimate and trustworthy brands. Some knock-off sellers ship directly to warehouses in the US, in order to appear more legitimate and get their products to consumers more quickly. It’s easy for someone based anywhere in the world to store and ship items from local US warehouses — they can even sell to you through Prime Shipping on Amazon.
Trust Your Gut
If something feels off about a seller or website, don’t purchase from them. Stick with sellers that give you a good impression and show proof of reputable safety standards. Even if you can’t explain why you feel wary of a particular online seller, trust your gut. You can always find another legitimate retailer to buy from.
Trusting your gut applies not just while you’re shopping, but after you purchase a product, too. If a product arrives and it doesn’t look like what was pictured, return it and request a refund. Nothing is more important than the safety of your family, so listen to your instincts. If you are worried that something might be unsafe, don’t use it.
Report Bad Products and Sellers
If you come across a company selling knock-off products, report it and alert the brand they are copying or stealing from. These counterfeit manufacturers pop up quickly and move around frequently — legitimate brands appreciate being notified, so they can try to shut down the counterfeiters promptly.
If you receive a product that isn’t necessarily a counterfeit, but has questionable quality and safety standards, you can report that as well. If the product was purchased on a marketplace (like eBay or Amazon), you can report directly to those companies. You can also choose to file a report with the Better Business Bureau, or your state’s Attorney General Office.
Smart Parents are Smart Shoppers
Remember, just because a product looks legitimate doesn’t mean it’s safe. Be a smart consumer when you shop for baby toys, gear, and other products, by paying close attention to the brand name, the retailer’s reliability, and the shipping location. If you do come across counterfeit or knock-off baby products, speak up. It only takes a few minutes, and by reporting these sellers and manufacturers, you are helping keep other families and babies safe!