Buying secondhand baby and kids goods. Is it safe?
Children have been kitted out with hand-me-downs for years without coming to any serious harm and there are serious savings to be made if you choose to buy preloved kids clothes and equipment.
You could kit out a nursery for a new baby at 30- 50% of the high street equivalent prices and often end up with a better brand than you would have bought new.
With the cost of buying children's equipment running to thousands of pounds it is no surprise more and more parents are preferring to buy secondhand.
But how can you be sure it is safe?
In the UK there are laws relating to the safety of goods intended for children which apply to prams, pushchairs, children's nightwear and toys (see below). These apply to secondhand business sellers
But before you trawl through pages of legalese, the good news is that any product purchased new in the UK in the last 10 years or so would have had to comply with these standards when new. This makes your job much easier when hunting out a nearly new bargain.
Buying secondhand baby and kids stuff: Buying tips
- Look for items that are clean and not heavily worn. There is a good chance they have been well looked after.
- Hopefully the seller will have the instruction book for any large purchases like pushchairs or cots. If not,these can often be downloaded from the manufacturers website.
- Ask the seller for a demo- and don’t be shy to have a go yourself! Collapsing and assembling pushchairs often requires a nack and there is no substitute for being talked through it by a mum that knows the tricks.
Secondhand safety standards- What to look for for reassurance
Secondhand Prams and Pushchairs
Quality brands of pushchairs and prams are a great nearly new bargain
New and used prams and pushchairs must comply with British Standard 7409:1996 or BS EN 1888:2003. This applies to second hand as well as new pushchairs. A label to this effect should be on the frame or seating cover. All upholstered prams and pushchairs must also comply with flammability requirements- there should be a ‘CARELESSNESS CAUSES FIRE’ permanent label
A pushchair, whether new or used is a big purchase. You should check a used pushchair carefully before you buy.
Here are some things to consider:
- Ensure the safety harness is in good condition.
- Check the parking brake works
- Test the stability.
- Check there are no sharp edges.
By purchasing second hand you can save a great deal of money on moses baskets and carrycots- especially as they are generally not used for very long.
Check the item is clean with no damage. If it has a stand make sure it is stable on the floor and always buy a new mattress.
Second hand Toys
Safety marks: All secondhand toys should have the CE mark and toys approved by the British Toy and Hobby Association also carry the Lion Mark.
Age appropriate: You should also check that the toy is suitable for the age of your child whether it is secondhand or not. A toy suitable for a 3 year old might be a danger for a 3 month old.
There are some fantastic bargains to be had with second hand clothing as the vast majority of baby clothes have very little wear before they are outgrown.
Check the labels on nightwear to see if they say 'keep away from fire' or 'low flammability to BS 5722'. If not the chances are that they do not meet the basic safety standard requirements.
Avoid clothing that has drawstrings around the neck area.
Used Car Seats
It is recommended that you don’t purchase a secondhand car seat/infant carrier as you can never be sure that is hasn't been involved in a crash. A seat that has been involved in even the most minor accident and displays no visible damage may not function properly. The same applies to safety/ cycle helmets.
Cots are a great nearly new bargain but you should still fork out for a new mattress as there is a link between an increased risk of cot death and second hand mattresses. Travel cot mattresses are considered okay
Secondhand Electrical Items
If you are thinking of buying a secondhand electrical item such as a steam steriliser, mains powered bottle warmer or breast pump then safety experts recommend that second hand electrical items should be tested properly by a competent person before being sold and should include the manufacturer's instruction manual.