Every year, the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association sponsors Baby Safety Month in September, and parents are encouraged to “take a second look at second-hand baby gear.” Hand-me-downs, garage sale finds and thrift stores are excellent places to find baby gear at an excellent price — but before you go snatching up that crib for $15, here are a few tips to keep in mind.
Second-hand gear has a huge appeal to a family having a baby. Brand new gear can give many expectant parents sticker shock, as the costs pile up — car seat, crib, stroller, play yard, high chair, bouncy seat, swing… the list can go on and on. Even buying the economy models can bring a hefty price tag, so those cheap finds at the vintage store can be very enticing.
What should be left at the store
A car seat should never be bought used. There is no way to guarantee its history — even from a relative who claims it was never in an accident. A crib is another item you should buy new, as safety standards have changed significantly over the last few years and they could be missing parts. Crib mattresses and breast pump parts should also be purchased new.
If you find a great deal somewhere, check to see if it’s been recalled before you buy it. There are recalls all the time — some for what appear to be minor issues, but others that have caused children serious harm — and in some cases — death.
Check out recently recalled baby products >>
What you can buy used
Don’t worry — there are plenty of items that you can buy gently used or can accept as hand-me-downs from friends and relatives. Maternity clothes, baby clothes, like-new toys, cloth diapers and baby books are all great options to look for when you’re out thrifting.
If you’re looking to keep on budget so you can buy a new car seat or baby crib, there are ways to save money so you’ll be less tempted to pick up a potentially dangerous piece of baby gear for your home. Breastfeeding and cloth diapering can save you tons of money, and you also might consider making your own baby food when the time comes, or look into baby-led weaning. If you’re creating a baby registry, don’t be afraid to add those big-ticket items. A generous relative may love to buy your baby a car seat, or your friends at work may want to pool their funds together to buy your crib.
What is baby-led weaning all about? >>
Keep your baby’s safety in mind as you prepare a nursery or look for a new car seat. Buy new when you can and register your new piece of gear so you can be notified of recalls. Your baby’s safety depends on it.