This is a must-read for new and expectant mom! What shouldn’t you buy used?
I am very active on Facebook and in groups; I admin several groups myself including a free group. I try to keep up with safety standards and protect my members as best as I can. I have been active in on local baby and toddler group and I have found that the admins of that group are rarely (if ever around to moderate) I have seen people selling expired car seats, drop down cribs, opened cans of formula and even WIC paid foods. I am very adamant about child safety and I absolutely HATE seeing recalled and expired items for sale so I decided to create this post to share what items you shouldn’t be buying used.
This post is for moms; moms to be and new moms who are looking to save money on expensive baby items. While saving money is a good option to do especially because babies are expensive! However, you should do your homework before buying a used baby item. I would highly suggest checking the CSPC for all product recalls on baby gear.
So what is something you should and shouldn’t buy? Below is my list of baby and children items that you should NOT buy for your baby or child.
Drop Side Cribs – This is one of the biggest nationwide “ban” on these items. Drop-side cribs pose a danger such as a side coming loose and the baby can become trapped in between the bar and the mattress, or risk having fingers or toes amputated. If you already have a crib that is a drop side I would highly suggest getting a stabilizer kit from the manufacturer to prevent these injuries. Remember when you’re done using these cribs please destroy them any way possible, as they are illegal to sell or donate. I know I have personally seen a few of these in groups and I kindly told the seller this recall and provided information about this including this CSPC link.
Baby Bath Seats – These seats have suction cups or attach to your tub or shower and used primarily for older babies and toddlers. These items are dangerous for young children because they post a drowning hazard should they baby wiggle their way out or trip the ring over. When bathing your child you should always give them your full attention and NEVER walk away (even for a second!) a lot can happen in that short period of time. Many manufacturers are offering a cashback or product replacement for owners of these recalled tub bathers. Read more about the recall here.
Car Seats – What makes a car seat so dangerous? You more than likely don’t know the person and you don’t know the full history of the car seat. NEVER purchase or re-use a car seat that’s been in an accident; replace immediately. All car seats are made of durable plastic that in an event of a car accident they will remain hold and sturdy protecting the child in the seat. However, after daily use and sitting in a hot (and/or cold car) all year long can deteriorate the plastic making it more likely to crack or break. The best rule of thumb is car seats expire 6 years after the manufacture date, for example, a car seat was manufactured on April 15, 2014, would have a manufacturer expiration date December 31, 2020, more than likely at the end of the last year. There are some exclusions to the 6-year rule as products like Britax and Diono are made from higher quality materials thus why they are $300 a pop these seats can last up to 8 years. I highly suggest replacing your car seat after a few years to prevent the further breakdown on the plastic.
Sleep Positioners – Sleep positioners are one baby item to be cautious in using. These items like many other can cause a suffocation hazard because the baby could roll and get stuck in between the two pillow like sides. While they aren’t especially recalled many officials warn against the use of these items. One item in especially NOT to use would be the Nap Nanny because of the suffocation hazard. Nap Nanny Recall at Toys R Us.
Bumpers, pillows, stuffed animals, and blankets – These items should be cautious in because used items can contain bed bugs and other bugs thus costing you hundreds of dollars in removal costs and not to mention healthcare visits. Also, these items should NEVER be in your child’s crib or bassinet because they pose a suffocation hazard. Dress your baby warmly at night, swaddle them or use an approved sleepsack. If you decide to use bumpers opt for breathe-able ones with mesh siding also these bumpers will collapse when attempting to stand are and secured with Velcro versus ties that can come off and suffocate your baby if they put them in their mouth (and they will…babies put EVERYTHING in their mouths!)
Formula, Baby Food, and Cereals – Formula should never be bought used or even opened this is a no-brainer and you shouldn’t buy them. Even if the item is new and not open I would suggest steering clear of this item; you just never know what would have happened it that item it could be tainted in some way plus the whole WIC fiasco would make me steer clear as well.
Breast Pumps – Yes, you can replace all the pieces but there’s no way to be certain it can be thoroughly cleaned. It may contain bacteria or contaminated milk.
Bottles and Sippy Cups – Many older bottles may contain BPA and those babies have been washed several times have a risk of bacteria or breakdown of the plastic.
Toys – Several toys have been recalled because of small pieces breaking/falling off, magnetic toys should never be given to a younger child. Inspect all toys prior to purchase and check against the CPSC.
Bath Toys – After a short while these babies start to harbor mold and bacteria so NEVER buy these and toss frequently!
Older and Vintage Items – If anything looks dated to you I would recommended staying away. With the advancement in technology, higher safety standards and lead paint older baby items carrier a higher risk of faulty use.
Mattresses & Changing Pads – Should be avoided because it isn’t something you can easily clean and still can harbor bacteria and bugs. Over time mattresses lose their shape, springs can come up and any unevenness to the mattress can pose a risk to infants. Not to imagine all the things baby’s can do on them; the three p’s pee, poop, and puke.
Soft Sided Slings – Baby Slings or carriers that are soft-sided or wrap should be checked carefully for rips, tears and recalls. (I personally had 3 slings and never felt fully safe using those things!)
Nursing Bras – These babies hold up your puppies! As with extended use with your regular bra, they deteriorate over time and straps can come loose, be missed labeled or just fit you incorrectly.
Other important things you should keep in mind when buying used items:
- Check expiration dates and ask when and where the item was purchased if applicable. Avoid items that have been used twice already.
- Request instruction manuals when purchasing complicated items such as furniture. Many manuals are available online in an easy downloadable printable PDF format.
- Check how the item operates; does it run on batteries or does it have an adapter? Also, check for split or frayed wires for electrical swings and gliders. Also, check the battery compartment for acid damage.
- Check sleepwear and blankets for flame retardant labels. These items will NOT burn in the event there is a fire in your home. Infants should avoid using blankets, pillows, stuffed animals, etc.
- Make sure all items purchased are up to date and have NO recalls on them. Do your homework before you buy; if you’re looking at an item online request additional information from the seller like model numbers and product names to check for recalls.
- Secure all furniture to the wall. Make sure if your purchasing used furniture it has all the pieces needed and ask for a wall anchor if not contact the company and request one. This will prevent a tragic accident for your child especially older children with younger siblings.
- Make sure any purchased strollers or play yards are up to current standards. Like every other baby item, safety standards change to check for recalls as well. Anything made past 2007 should be safe but double check in case! Also, check high chairs for 5 point harnesses.
- Be cautious of free items. They may be free but that doesn’t mean they’re safe and many people will take in the attempt to re-sell.
- One option instead of purchasing baby items is renting them from a company, a friend or family member. Rented equipment is more likely to be checked for recalls and defects. Should you choose to borrow from friends and family make sure all items are safe for use before using.
Having a baby can be expensive but that doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot doing so. If you’re lucky enough to be thrown a shower be extremely happy in receiving brand new baby items. The only way to almost completely avoid recalls is purchasing everything new which this can be costly, however, if shopped right it can be done. Items can still be recalled prior, during or after purchase. It is extremely important to make sure you register ALL products in case of a recall.
Did I miss any important items that should be added to this list? What items would you be reluctant to purchase used? Sound off in the comments below I love to hear what you have to say!