When you’re buying baby gear, youcan buy new or secondhand. There are pros and cons for each option. One of thebig pros of buying secondhand baby gear is of course that the price is lower.With babies changing so quickly and outgrowing different types of gear sorapidly, that can be very appealing.
While some items are fine to buysecondhand, there can be safety issues with others. For example, there are alot of limitations on when baby walkers should be used and how, to the pointthat many recommend not using them at all. Even with the potential risks, 2,000children per year continue to seek emergency treatment for injuries related tobaby walkers.
Due to the risks of this type ofbaby equipment, not only is there a recommendation against using them but somecall for a complete ban and action to be taken from state legislators.
So what are the risks of buyingsecondhand baby gear, and when is it okay versus not?
Why Can Secondhand Baby Gear Be Risky?
Baby gear is made to adhereto strict safety standards. However, those standards can change quickly,and something that may have been seen as safe just a few years ago might notmeet the necessary standards anymore.
When you buy secondhand, you may not be assured you’regetting the safest type of equipment.
There’s also the fact that manufacturers may issue recallsfor different defects or issues with baby equipment. If you buy secondhand, youmay not be aware of these recalls, and you may purchase and use somethingdefective.
Another reason that you might want to rethinkbuying at least some things secondhand is that you don’t know whatsubstances were used in the home where it originated from. For example, maybesomething was exposed to smoke in a previous home, and that could then exposeyour baby to what’s called thirdhand smoke.
You have to consider these risks with not just buyingsecondhand but also taking items that a friend or family member wants to handdown to you.
What Not to Buy Secondhand
The following are things you should not buy secondhand foryour baby:
- Crib mattress: Buying a second-hand cribmattress might not necessarily be as dangerous as buying something like a carseat secondhand, but still if possible, it’s better to buy this new. Crib mattressescan hang on to secondhand smoke as well as things like bacteria and mold.
- Car seats: Baby car seats aren’t sold atsecondhand stores, and if you come across one elsewhere, don’t buy it. Carseats are the most important piece of safety equipment you’ll buy for your newbaby, and the safety regulations and standards can change quickly. Car seatsalso have an expiration date that’s usually anywhere from six to nine yearsafter their manufacture date.
- Cribs: A crib can be a pricey investment, but italso needs to meet the most updated safety standards. Like car seats, you’renot going to find a secondhand crib in a store, although you may see onesomewhere else such as a yard sale or online. Certain styles of cribs arealtogether banned, such as the drop-side crib, and if you get one from a friendor family member it might not only be unsafe by today’s standards but possiblymissing important pieces impacting the structural integrity.
- Breast pumps: Again, unfortunately, breast pumpsare a pricey baby item, but buying one secondhand could expose your baby toillnesses. Rather than buying a secondhand pump, you can contact your localhospital or healthcare supplier and see about renting one.
What Can You Buy Secondhand?
While some of the more expensive items, unfortunately,should be purchased new, there aresome baby items that you can buy secondhand.
One example is clothes. This is good because babies outgrowclothes quickly, and you can easily wash them and make sure they’re clean onyour own. You can reasonably buy a secondhand changing table, and the same goesfor a high chair as long as it has a three-point harness and a restraintbetween the legs.
You might be able to find a good deal on a used stroller,and if you can get one that was made after 2015, even better because that’swhen new standards went into place for stroller manufacturers.
Whenyou buy anything for your baby, check to see if there have been anymanufacturer recalls because this can happen with even new products. If youregister your items with the manufacturer, then they can alert you if there aresafety issues or recalls.