“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”
We all know that old saying, and it’s a decent one to live by most of the time. If your car is running fine, gets good mileage and keeps you safe, why change it? Especially when new models come to market and then develop faults costing thousands of dollars in repair. If your dryer is working fine, why buy a new one that could end up with a safety recall notice within weeks or months?
The one thing that needs to be remembered about that saying is that it doesn’t apply to everything. Although use-by dates on food are often just a guideline – and an overcautious one at that – sometimes things do have a lifespan. Safety is a hugely important consideration in life in general. When you’re a mom, this is even more true. Risks you’d be happy to take with yourself are less acceptable for your little ones.
Every once in awhile, you will need to replace things that you bought for your baby. Not just when they outgrow them, either. Sometimes, items which were made for a purpose become obsolete, or just not safe, and it is something that you can’t be cavalier about. The following are examples of things that you should replace on a time limit. Don’t give them a chance to break; sometimes that can’t be fixed.
Your Baby Mattress: Avoid The Hidden Dangers
Hand-me-downs are part of our culture. Most of us when we were younger got used to wearing clothes our elder siblings had grown out of. The clothes were fine – they’d been made to last, they were just too small for the original owner. And we can be persuaded to use other items we bought for a first child, when another comes along. Sometimes this is fine, but reality needs to play into your thinking.
A bed you bought for your first child a few years ago may be structurally fine. The mattress may seem to be still as firm and intact as the day it was bought. But beware – most older mattresses were treated with chemicals to make them fire retardant. Although this worked, it isn’t great news for your baby. Those chemicals can be dangerous, when breathed.
Although that might be a minor risk – opinions differ – it becomes more of a risk the more that mattress is used. Statistics on crib death show that it is more likely to affect each child sequentially. A second child is more likely to suffer it than a first, a third more likely than a second and so on. Medical consensus is not there yet, but it is thought this is to do with how the mattress degrades and the transfer of body fluids. So replace the mattress, at least, for each new baby.
Your Baby Car Seat: Once Every Five Years (At Least)
Some parents say that the five year limit on car seats is unnecessarily cautious. It’s up to those parents what they want to do, but this is an issue in which you should err on the side of caution. Moving parts and the materials used to make car seats don’t improve with age. Though yours may be working fine right now, it’s advisable to make sure that it is replaced before it shows any flaws.
Let’s put it this way, while trying to avoid being emotive. A baby car seat is something you don’t want to fail while a car is moving. New models hit the market regularly, and are put through their paces by testers and consumers. Just a glance at BabySeats Reviews Twitter will help you separate the good from the bad – and there are plenty of other sources out there too.
Think about it for a moment – with every new model that is made, testing gets more rigorous and more safety features are added. While some things can be handed down from child to child, you can never have too much safety.
Your Baby’s Drinking Cup: Replace It Regularly
Kids form an attachment to items early on – you know all about the popularity of safety blankets, I presume? This is also why a lot of babies are so upset if you take away their pacifier. And the same can be true of their drinking cup. However, as much as they may grizzle if you take away a much-loved sippy cup, you need to be ready for it. In fact, once a month is considered to be the optimum time.
Part of the reason for this is that babies and toddlers can be quite rough with their possessions. They haven’t quite mastered motor skills and will pick things up and put them down roughly.
But What If I Can’t Afford This?
You might have read the above and acknowledged the points. However, it’s worth acknowledging that these things aren’t going to come for free. Parenting is an inherently expensive experience.
So how can you walk the line: ensure your child is safe, but not end up going deep into debt? The same techniques to any money saving apply. Look for coupons, wait for sales, compare prices wherever possible. You can even complete surveys online in exchange for gift cards, which you can use towards the purchase price. If you find a product at a good price, buy as many of them as possible. They only degrade with use, so storing sippy cups – for example – in a cool, dry area will keep them safe until needed.
The only option that you don’t have is to buy things secondhand. That, of course, is exchanging one problem for another. If necessary, tell friends and family you need supplies of these items. They might be able to club together or buy vouchers towards your next purchase. All you can do is do what you can and change these things as often as necessary, depending on your budget. Not being able to do so right on the dot of the perfect point doesn’t make you a bad parent, so don’t stress it too much.