To buy or borrow: The do’s and don’ts of used baby goods


A universal truth about babies is that they come with a lot of baggage. From clothing and bedding to toys and strollers, the amount of stuff your little one requires is enough to send your wallet into a tailspin. As you count down the days of your pregnancy and begin to build your registry, give some thought to what items you can buy used. Shopping the secondary market can save you money as you stock up on baby supplies. But a word of caution, it’s not always the right move. Here’s when it’s smart and safe to buy second hand—and when it’s necessary to buy new.

DO buy used baby clothes

As tempting as it may be to scoop up brand new baby clothes by the armful, know this: On average, your little one is set to gain one pound and lengthen by one inch each month. The clothes she’s in today might be headed to your giveaway bin tomorrow. So save money by shopping resale, browsing garage sales or picking up a pal’s hand-me-downs. Just be sure to check for loose buttons, ties, or zippers before dressing your little one.

DO buy used toys

The reality of parenthood is that it’s impossible to predict what your baby will enjoy. What this little one finds fascinating, the next finds over​-stimulating. Go easy on your wallet by testing the waters with secondhand goods. Be on the lookout for loose hardware or chipping paint. Those are deal breakers.

DO buy used diapers

Cloth diapers, that is. Cringing at the thought of wrapping your little one is someone else’s duds? Well, don’t. If you go the reusable route, buying old inserts and diaper covers is not only super affordable, it can be hygienic and safe too. A few washes on a hot cycle, a splash of bleach, or even a special treatment will sanitize and strip the cloth of any build-up. One of the reasons cloth diapers are so budget-friendly is that they have a good resale value when you’re through with them. A quick Google search will lead you to an impressive community of moms and moms-to-be, all on the hunt to buy, sell or trade.

DON’T buy used bottle nipples or pacifiers

Lucky for you, these items cost no more than a few dollars and can be purchased separately. Never share old bottle nipples or pacifiers with a friend. Through normal wear and tear, not to mention frequent washings and sterilizing, these plastics can deteriorate and pose a health and safety risk to your little one.

DON’T buy a used breast pump

One look at online trading sites and you’ll see secondhand breast pumps are a dime a dozen. But just because you see them for sale doesn’t make them safe. Consumer-grade pumps have the potential for cross contamination which is why everyone from La Leche League to the Food and Drug Administration cautions women about sharing. We know you’ll agree, risking exposing your newborn to something harmful isn’t worth a few dollars saved.

DON’T buy a used car seat

While a car seat can certainly cost a pretty penny, this is an item you’ll definitely want to buy new. Safety standards change frequently, the materials degrade over time, and a seat’s past history can prevent it from protecting your child in an accident. Play it safe and buy this one brand new.

DON’T buy a used crib

Federal regulations changed in 2011 prohibiting manufacturers from turning out cribs with drop sides. Under these new guidelines, baby’s first bed is safer and more durable, making for a better night’s sleep for baby, and mom and dad too. If you must buy secondhand, make certain you’ve found a model made after 2011—and be sure you have the owner’s manual and all the hardware.

Are you stocking up for your little one? Tell us, which items will you consider buying used?

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