The expense of preparing for a new baby can leave many new parents feeling anxious. Buying pre-loved items is one way that prospective parents can save big. It’s also friendlier to the environment! However, there are important rules to keep in mind to ensure your new-to-you items are safe for your baby.
Want to know even more ways to save money while preparing for your baby? Read our 26 Ways To Save Money When You Have A Baby.
Your baby will outgrow clothes so quickly during their first year that it can quickly become a financial burden to renew their wardrobe every time they move up a size. Family and friends who have babies may have boxes of clothing at home just waiting to go to a new home, so don’t be afraid to ask. Some items may be brand new or only worn once as babies outgrow their clothes so quickly.
You can also get baby clothes at car boot sales or online listing sites. Every item may not be your own style, but there’s bound to be something you like. Whatever you don’t want you can just pass along to the next family. Just remember to wash clothing before use as they may have been stored away for a while.
It’s perfectly safe to use a secondhand buggy or pram once you have checked these important features are in perfect condition:
- Brakes should hold firmly and should be easy to apply and release
- The folding mechanism should be secure and all locking points should be working correctly. If it doesn’t lock correctly it could fold with your baby in it.
- Wheels are in good working order, not too worn (which would affect grip and manoeuvrability) and are attached securely to the frame.
- The frame should not have rust, dents or bends. Check that the seat unit attaches securely.
- The fabric should not be ripped, especially at points where it attaches to the frame. Check for mould, odours or insects. Always choose secondhand items from a non-smoking household.
- Recalls: Google the make and model to ensure that it has never been recalled or been subject to bad press.
Tip: expect to pay around one-third of the price of the travel system brand new. Some especially popular brands will usually be more.
Baby slings or carriers can be expensive so buying secondhand can be a good idea. Check for any damage to the fabric. Don’t buy a sling with any damage as this could lead to rips. If you want to try babywearing before committing to making a purchase you can visit a local sling library. This is a resource for parents which allows you to rent a sling for a small fee so you can make sure it fits your baby and lifestyle before making a purchase.
It’s not recommended to buy breast pumps secondhand. Most breast pumps available in shops are designed to be used by just one mother. Used breast pump parts can contain harmful bacteria which can make your baby sick.
It is tricky to safely buy a secondhand car seat. Car seats are no longer safe once they have been involved in an accident – even a minor accident. When buying a car seat secondhand you have no idea about its history and therefore its safety.
It’s best to only use a secondhand seat from someone you know personally so you can be sure of its history. Always check the expiry date on the car seat as they are not safe to use after this date. Also Google the make and model to make sure it has never been recalled.
Cots and beds
Buying a secondhand cot/cotbed is safe once you check these essential features:
- Bars are between 45mm and 65mm apart
- Bars feel secure and sturdy
- The distance between the top of the mattress and the top of the bars is no more than 50cm
- The paint is not chipping and does not contain lead (lead was common in paint until the 1960s)
- There are no splinters or broken parts
- If there is a brand/model name check for recalls
It’s not advised to buy mattresses for cots or Moses baskets secondhand. Mattresses for babies are specifically designed to be breathable, firm, and hold their shape. This is to minimise the risk of SIDS or suffocation. Secondhand mattresses can also be unhygienic after being peed, pooped or puked on.
It’s recommended that every baby gets their own brand new mattresses.
Remember, there are usually no returns with secondhand items, so do your research and take your time!