As a thrifty parent, it may be your instinct to look for the best bargain on baby items. Often gently used gear can be found at the best price, or better yet, a network of hand-me-down items is free. But some items should not be bought used or accepted as hand-me-downs because you cannot be sure of the safety and integrity of the product. Today we’re giving you a list of used baby items to avoid.
Car Seats: It’s easy enough to look up car seat standards to determine if one you see at a resale shop or have been offered by a friend is within current safety standards. But what you can’t know is how the car seat has been treated. If it has been dropped, twisted or damaged in any way, such as being in a car wreck, the car seat may not function properly and provide your child the safety you expect. Don’t take that chance on a used car seat.
Some Strollers and High Chairs: Strollers and high chairs go in the “maybe” category. Make sure the models you are considering are within safety standards. High chairs should have a barrier between your baby’s legs, a 5-point harness strap and locking wheels. A stroller’s wheels should work impeccably forwards and backwards as you never know when you may be scurrying to get out of the way of danger, and should have secure seat belts and locking wheels. Inspect these items carefully before buying used.
Cribs Made Before June 2011: Federal regulations on crib standards changed at the end of June 2011 to prohibit the sale of drop-side cribs and increase scrutiny of slats, hardware and mattresses. Cribs prior to this date may not meet the highest safety standards.
Breast Pumps and Accessories: Most personal grade breast pumps are an open system, meaning milk may be exposed to every part of the inner tubing of the pump. Used breast pumps may carry bacteria that can not only be introduced to a mother’s nipple, but also to a baby. No matter how you clean it, breast pumps cannot be fully sanitized throughout. Plus, depending on the frequency of your pumping, most personal grade breast pumps will only last through one baby’s use.
Pacifiers and Bottle Nipples: Similar to a breast pump, pacifiers and bottle nipples can carry germs that transfer from one baby to another. As a baby uses these items, tiny tears are created where bacteria and other microbes can make a home. It’s actually a good idea to change these items often, even when used by just one baby.
Stained or Ugly Clothes: Do yourself a favor, don’t accept hand-me-downs you don’t like. Life with a baby can get cluttered enough without extra items you don’t need or want. Baby stains are usually hard to remove – if they were going to come out, the original mommy probably would have already tried.
Bath Toys: Where there is water, there is often mold. Bath toys notoriously hold in moisture, allowing mold to build up. These toys are relatively inexpensive to buy new anyways.
Dangerous Toys: Toys with sharp edges, that are mangled or whose paint is chipping are not good ones to have around. Your baby will want to explore every inch of his toys, especially with his mouth, so having toys with potentially harmful parts that could be swallowed may cause a major problem. Avoid them altogether and stick with used toys that look pristine.
Being thrifty is a virtue, but be smart about where you try to save money. Getting a good bargain should never be at the expense of your child’s safety.