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Hands-on Gear Review
Price: $35 List | Available for $33 from Amazon
Pros: Great value, well made, lightweight, nice hold and ergonomics, easy to use
Cons: Lacking great support for newborns and toddler back carry, two sets of ties
Bottom line: Easy to use, quick-tie, travels well, and comfortable for both parties
The Infantino Sash Mei Tai won our Best-Value award due to its combination of low-price and great performance. We consider it an easy grab-and-go carrier that holds baby securely. While we weren't too impressed with the company's other carrier, the Infantino Swift Classic, thankfully, they got it right with their Sash Mei Tai - a simple, soft structured, mei tai style carrier. The material is sturdy, the support is great, and it's a cinch to use. Plus, where price is concerned, it almost can't be beat.
RELATED: Our complete review of baby carriers
BabyGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
The Infantino Sash Mei Tai received a 7 of 10 for Baby's Safety in our testing. The wide, deep seat provides proper ergonomic support for baby's hips as it keeps baby's legs in the "frog" position. Once tied and secured properly, it is easy to maintain a clear airway, and baby's head and back are adequately supported. However, the Mei Tai didn't thrill us in the back carry position, and here's why: during our toddler tests, we just didn't find the support to be sufficient while in back carry. It seemed like it needed to be tighter, but in doing so, baby's legs would be squeezed by the ties. It also would have been nice if the shoulder straps had a chest clip-type connection over our sternum for added security while in back carry. Our infant tester also had a lot of trouble securing baby in the Mei Tai. She found herself using a hand to support the baby at all times, making her feel uneasy.
The Mei Tai scored a 6 of 10 in this category. It has a nice, deep seat that supports baby in the proper position and gives plenty of head support. We do wish that baby could face out when worn on the front, but for the most part, facing in didn't seem to bother our little testers. It's well constructed and the material feels soft and supple against baby's skin.
For a basic carrier, the Mei Tai was really comfortable, scoring a 7 of 10 in our testing. We didn't get overly hot and putting it on in public was a lot less hassle than the Moby Wrap Modern or Boba 4G wraps. The shoulder straps are wide and nicely padded, and most of the weight is distributed to the hips. Because you can customize the fit of this carrier, it is especially great for plus-sized moms and for use by multiple wearers who vary in size.
Ease of Use
Also, some might not like all the long straps; there are four of them, resulting in two knots, and it can be a lot to deal with, especially if you are putting baby in the carrier outside and you want to avoid dragging the straps on the ground. The Mei Tai doesn't come with a storage pocket either, which is a bit of a disappointment. Another gripe? The back carry position requires assistance with both placement and exit.
Ease of Cleaning
The Mei Tai is machine washable but must be washed separately and cannot be put in the dryer. It scored a 7 of 10 in this category, losing points for the inconvenience of having to wash by itself and hang to dry.
Although its specifications for use are for babies from 8 to 36 pounds, we don't recommend this carrier for newborns. It just doesn't provide enough support. But we loved it for running errands, doing household chores, or even longer carries like taking the dog for a walk with an older baby or toddler.
It's not as well made as many of the other soft structured carriers we reviewed and may not weather as well, but we still found it to be a terrific value for the money.
The Sash Mei Tai received the Best Value Award for many reasons. While in reality, it's simply a fabric panel with four straps attached to it, we found it to be a sturdy, versatile, easy to grab-and-go carrier that held baby securely. We like the stylish prints, and at $35, you just can't beat the price for what you get. However, it wasn't our favorite in back carry with a toddler because it didn't offer as much support as some of the other award winners like the Tula Ergonomic Baby or the Onya Baby Outback.
Other Versions and Accessories
Infantino makes a number of other models, many of which are made for use from infancy up through the toddler years. The Flip Advanced is adjustable to grow with baby and allow for inward and outward facing, as well as backpack style positions. The Up Close is designed specifically with infants in mind, with a soft stretchy material that will keep baby close and comfortable.
— Adrian Hogel & Juliet Spurrier, MD
Most recent user review: March 4, 2016
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