I am a firm fan of saving money where possible when it comes to baby items; clothing and supplying endless amounts of entertainment to them is an expensive business!
Secondhand items have saved us a small fortune when it comes to clothing for Baby B. I regularly scour the Facebook marketplace for bundles of secondhand clothes as it just doesn’t make sense for us to spend a fortune every 3 months buying everything brand new. Then once she has outgrown them I sort through and put some bits into a bag to pass on to another in our position. The rest goes into storage in case we decide to have another little one.
There are some things though that I would seriously consider before buying secondhand.
- The age of the item – Regulations on safety have changed and been updated to try and ensure that our little ones are growing and exploring in the safest environments possible. This ranges from the measurements between slats on cots to the types of paint used on toys. They used to use lead based paint on toys over 20 years ago (which was fine at the time) but over time the protective enamel top layer which was used breaks down and then that paint becomes toxic. I’m currently having this battle with my in laws who have kept every single toy from my husband’s childhood and are insistent on getting them out when we visit. It is better to use items which are 10 years old or less to minimise any degrading, and if possible to check the guidelines regularly.
- How the item has been stored – For example, has it lived in the loft of a smoker? This would make a significant difference as to whether I would purchase as it would likely be infested with third hand smoke chemicals which can be harmful and increase the risk of SIDS. Likewise, if there are any signs of damp in the house where the items are I may not purchase, particularly if it is a fabric item as spores from mould could have transferred and not only would the item be unusable but I wouldn’t want to bring those into my home.
- Car seats – I would avoid these altogether as a secondhand item. You can never know the true history of a secondhand car seat and I wouldn’t trust that a stranger wouldn’t lie about whether the seat had ever been involved in a crash (even a minor bump) which would make it ineffective in protecting my child.
If it passes inspection then by all means, go for it!
There are some really good bargains out there on things such as high chairs or bouncer seats which may have only been used for a few months. Our moses basket for example, £10.00! And we got a good 6 months use from it before Baby B outgrew it and moved to her own room.