Expecting a new baby is an exciting time, yet it’s also a very expensive period. There are so many baby things to buy! New parents are often shocked at how much all the newborn baby essentials cost before the little one even arrives. While thrifty new parents might be tempted to buy essential items secondhand, there are some things you should never buy used.
Baby Car Seats
A car seat is one of the most important items you buy for your baby. It’s essential for protecting your child in an accident, and every state requires infants and children to ride in one when they’re in the car. New car seats are very expensive, and when you see used car seats for a fraction of the price, you might find the secondhand option very appealing.
However, keep in mind that car seats expire, typically six to nine years after their manufacture date. Additionally, you should never buy a used car seat unless you know it has never been in a crash.
Crib for your Newborn
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Along with car seats, cribs are also essential baby items that you should never buy secondhand. While a decent crib can cost a few hundred dollars, you have peace of mind knowing it meets today’s stringent safety standards. A few years ago, many children sustained injuries in cribs that have drop-down sides. This style is now banned because of those safety issues. You won’t find them in any stores, but you sometimes see them sold online by individuals.
In addition to safety concerns, you don’t know the care a used crib received for before it was sold. It could have been in storage with heavy boxes exceeding the recommended weight limit placed on top, compromising its structural integrity. It could also be missing important pieces that you don’t know about. In the end, it’s better to spend the money on a new crib so everyone sleeps better at night.
Baby Crib Mattress
Just like the crib, you shouldn’t buy a used crib mattress. Many parents sell the crib mattress after their child transitions to a regular bed. However, that means the mattress has been slept on for at least two or three years. This leads to plenty of wear and tear, including rips and creases where mold and bacteria can grow. Instead of risking your baby’s health to save some money, it’s better to get a new mattress when you buy the crib.
Second Hand Breast Pumps
For some mothers, a breast pump is part of their brand new baby items list. While you can rent a hospital grade pump designed for more than one user, you should never buy a breast pump that’s already been used. Moisture and milk can travel through the tubes and get into the pump’s motor. This can then enter the milk you’re pumping, which could make your baby sick. If you’re looking to save money on a breast pump, contact your health insurance company. Many plans cover breastfeeding supplies, so they may pick up the cost of the pump itself.
At around $20 a can, infant formula is one of the most expensive products on your baby items list. A quick search on websites that sell secondhand items reveals plenty of people selling infant formula. While the obvious risk of buying infant formula in this way is that it could be tainted, but there are other issues that even well-meaning people might not realize.
You have to store infant formula in a cool, dry area that’s between 55 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. If someone accidentally left the formula in a freezing car overnight or stored it on a shelf next to the oven, the formula degrades and loses nutrients.
However, it is possible to save money on infant formula safely. The FDA strictly regulates the ingredients that go into formula, so you can buy store brands as low as half the price of name-brand formulas, and your baby still gets the same quality and nutritional benefits.
Use Baby Toys
With so many brand new baby products to buy, toys might not even cross your mind at first. Many grandparents stick favorite childhood toys in storage units for the day another baby enters the family and can play with them. While seeing your baby play with vintage toys is fun and nostalgic, it’s also dangerous. Older toys don’t always meet the safety standards we have today, and they might have small pieces or sharp edges that can hurt babies. Additionally, some older toys contain lead paint, a known health hazard.
You have plenty on your baby items list as you prepare for your little one. However, you don’t want to put your baby’s health and safety at risk by getting these items used. Instead, spend the extra money and buy them new.