Neko Slings is still a bit exotic brand in our country – it is a Turkish manufacturer of woven wraps and baby carriers, well-known in their home country since 2012 when the began to make their first elastic wraps. Soon after, they started to make woven wraps and also carriers later on. Their collections are inspired by Turkish Oriental tradition and they emphasize local production and GOTS certified materials (GOTS = Global Organic Textile Standard certified cotton meets all the eco-, bio-, socio-, fair-trade etc. criteria). Recently, this brand came to the Czech Republic too, so here is our first review – this time of the full-buckle model, Switch Toddler.
This is one really large toddler carrier! It is recommended from the size 86 up to 6 years of age by the manufacturer – personally, I would not be afraid to put even a little bit smaller child in it, but well, those 6 years are not too realistic, in my opinion. Although the back panel is huge, the 6-years-old should be really tiny for his/her age. Taken an average child, I would estimate the maximum age to 4 years, and as to the maximum size, about 110 cm. The length of the back panel is regulated by strings and the width by a system of studs (similar to the system we know from our Czech KiBi carrier). Emilka measures about 90 cm and we used barely the inner half of the studs, which shows that there was still a lot of space to both widen the back panel and to make it narrower, too. Therefore, I estimate that the carrier could fit even a 80cm-tall wearie.
One thing that is really unique about this carrier is the waist belt. It is hard – like really hard, comparable only to Tula or Manduca, as far as I know; it is very pleasantly wide and for me, hard-waist-belt lover, it was such a pleasure to wear it! This is what I mean when I say that a real toddler carrier should be supportive enough to be comfortable with heavy wearies. The shoulder straps are wide, banana-shaped and generously padded. It is not possible to wear them crossed – however, I do not carry my daughter in front or for long hours anymore for half a year or so and therefore, for babywearing on the back, I do not miss the possibility to wear the shoulder straps crossed, naturally – as in every other toddler carrier. Moreover, on the back, it is possible to wear the child very high, as in not many carriers I have tried so far – thanks to the fact that it is possible to shorten the shoulder straps quite substantially and also that the hard waist belt just sits on your back where you put it and does not move an inch lower.
Overall, the carrier is meticulously sewn, with cute details such as the Neko logo on the buckles or the embroidered logo on the waist belt (which is a cat paw – Neko means “cat” in Japanese). The wrap is pleasant to touch and the buckles are firm and solid.
I must admit that Neko did not make it to my personal list of my all-time favorite toddler carriers I would desire to own – well, but almost, mainly because the designs are not really my cup of tea. However, in my opinion it is a wonderful carrier, probably one of the best you can buy in the Czech Republic, and I will not hesitate to recommend it to those who like hard waist belts!