What Not to Buy Used for Your Baby

Lots of things that you can buy for your baby are just fine being purchased used. Clothes are perhaps the prime example. Babies outgrow them so fast that many baby clothes are barely used by the time they become handmedowns or hit the thrift or resale shops. They’re hardly worth buying new.

Some things should absolutely not be bought used for baby. Others should be bought used only with caution.

1. Car seats.

Did you know that car seats come with an expiration date? Generally this is after about 6 years. The plastic in them does get old!

This has actually lead my husband and I to look into new car seats for the baby coming soon. Perhaps not, as my sister has a newer one. But our old one was past its expiration date, and there’s just no compromising on safety.

The other problem is that you don’t know if someone is selling a car seat that has been in an accident. Even after a minor accident, car seats are supposed to be replaced and disposed of. And of course there’s the issue of recalls.

2. Breast pumps.

This especially goes for mechanical ones. Hand operated units are cheaper, and you could boil enough of the parts that I suppose they could be safe enough if bought used. But the financial savings may not be enough.

Consumer Reports has a post with people debating this one a little. The question comes down to whether or not you can sterilize enough parts for it to be safe. La Leche League International also has some good information on why you should not share a pump. The risks of cross contamination are quite small, but most do not find it worth the risk.

A good pump is a bit pricey, up to $400 or so, and vital for anyone working outside the home while trying to breastfeed. But the money it saves in avoiding formula is well worth the cost and trouble.

Rental units are presumably made to be completely sterilized before being rented to someone else.

3. Cribs.

Slightly used may be fine. Made before 2000, and it may not meet current safety standards. The CPSC offers a checklist for crib safety that you can consider if you decide to shop for a used crib.

4. Play yards.

Essentially, recalls and changing standards are the big reason for this one. Add these to issues with how play yards can be used or damaged in regular use, and an older one may just not be safe enough.

5. Slings and carriers.

Another case of recalls and aging issues. The materials can be damaged with normal use, and so a used sling may not be as safe as you think.

Of course, anything where recalls may be the issue you can do your research and see if any used item you’re considering has been recalled. That goes for toys and clothing as well as any of these items that are generally not recommended for buying used.

If there aren’t any recalls, look into what makes an item safe to use if you’re still shopping used. But be very, very sure of what you’re doing. Reusing is a great idea, so long as it doesn’t endanger anyone.