We teamed up with our friends at JPMA for helpful tips when it comes to second hand baby gear!
Take A Second Look At Second Hand Products
A new nursery can cost as little or as much as you are willing to spend. Whether by choice or necessity, parents are increasingly buying second hand baby products. From garage sales, auctions, thrift stores or friends and family, parents are finding ways to cut costs on baby gear.
Buying new products that meet current standards is the best option. However, if you are on a tight budget, buying second hand is a good alternative. But don’t ever compromise safety for price!
If you plan to use second hand baby gear, take a second look before you purchase or borrow it and be sure to follow a few guidelines to keep your baby safe and sound:
- Ensure all of the manufacturer’s instructions and labeling is still intact and legible. Check to make sure the product hasn’t been recalled BEFORE you take it home. If this means coming back to the store and chancing the product is no longer available, it’s worth it.
- Cribs and bassinets are a popular hand-me-down product because they often carry sentimental value if it’s passed down through generations. With the risk of hurting anyone’s feelings, it is really important to check that the crib or bassinet meets current safety standards such as crib slat width and corner post height just to name a few. Hand-me-down cribs and bassinets have a greater chance of missing parts since it’s most likely been reassembled numerous times and traveled.
Do borrow or buy second hand:
- Maternity clothes
- Basic toys that are in “like new” condition and can be easily cleaned
Do NOT borrow or buy second hand:
- Car seats- It is impossible to know the car seat’s history and using one that has been involved in a crash could jeopardize its effectiveness. Most car seats expire about 5 or 6 years from the date of manufacture and using a car seat after it has expired could be dangerous.
- Cribs- As a general practice, do not use second hand cribs or heirloom cribs handed down from other family members or those purchased at thrift stores or garage sales because they may not meet the most current safety standards or could have missing or broken parts or hardware.
- Crib mattresses due to sanitary reasons.
- BreastPump accessories due to sanitary reasons.
If you are considering buying second hand in order to stay on budget, it’s important to prioritize the baby gear you want to buy new. In an effort to be able to splurge on those new items, try keeping to your budget in other areas such as:
- Breastfeed vs formula
- Cloth diapers vs disposable diapers
- Consider making your own baby food vs buying it
- Borrow books from the local library vs buying them brand new
- Register for those big ticket safety items you definitely want new like a crib, car seat, and stroller
- Look for coupons or rebates
- Find a car seat assistance program through hospitals or local health departments that sometimes provide car seats to families in need.
The Bottom Line!
Most importantly, err on the side of caution and safety and use your best judgment when buying second hand baby products or borrowing hand-me-downs from friends and family.
This means inspecting the product in detail. Don’t buy any product if it has loose, missing or broken parts, is moldy, rusty or has anything “out of sorts”.
JPMA is helping educate parents and caregivers on the importance of safely choosing and using baby products. For more tips, visit www.babysafetmonth.org.