A white baby nursery with cot and nursing chair

Essential baby items: Is it ok to purchase second hand baby items?

If you're wondering about whether you should be buying second hand baby items, you're definitely not alone.

The thought of bringing home a used item that was once loved by another family can be daunting, especially when you're expecting your own bundle of joy.

We get it! But our answer is yes: it's totally fine to buy second hand baby stuff if you do your research.

Below we'll tell you why, and how to make sure your new purchase is as safe and healthy as possible for your newborn baby.

In our experience, it is safe to purchase second hand baby items if they have been cleaned, disinfected, have all of their parts and corresponding safety instructions.

For example, if you're thinking about buying a second-hand pram for your child, make sure that it has been professionally cleaned and comes with the manufacturer’s instructions for assembly and safety.

When purchasing second hand baby items, there are a few things to consider;

  • Check the Product Safety Australia website for recalled products (Australian products only). If a product is recalled, that means it's been found to have an unsafe design. You should avoid buying used products that have previously been recalled.

  • Avoid purchasing items that aren't working properly or have broken parts.

  • Any item that has permanent stains or markings on is worth being vigilant of. You don't really want your baby being exposed to residue that can’t be cleaned.

  • The same goes for pets - if previous owners had pets at home who were allowed access to the baby items in question, it’s probably worth giving these ones a miss, especially if you have a family history of allergies or sensitive skin.

There are many places that you can buy second hand baby items. The first place that comes to mind is second hand stores or opportunity shops. These stores can be a great resource and at times often have numerous baby items available for purchase at once.

Another great source (and probably the most trusted) is your friends and family, they may have items that they no longer need or want.

You can also try Facebook Marketplace, a great resource that is often filled with local second hand baby items. The great thing about Marketplace is that you can search for items that are in your neighbourhood, meaning that second hand items are never too far away. 

When purchasing second hand, it's important to ensure that the item is in good condition and safe for your child.

If you're buying a car seat or highchair, check that all labels and instructions are still attached and legible before making your purchase. If it's not clear how old the item is or if there are any safety concerns around its use, ask questions before deciding on whether to buy it.

Here are some great second hand items you can purchase when expecting a baby:

  • Stroller/pram -  Having a pram or stroller is a must when you've got little ones. It’s a great idea to do some research before purchasing a pram/stroller as often there are certain features that you might need depending on your individual circumstances. Ensure the stroller/pram has been thoroughly cleaned before purchase.

  • Toys – Most toys are easily cleaned, so saving a few dollars by purchasing second hand toys can be a great idea.

  • Highchair - Some safety standards require a highchair to have a three-point harness with crotch strap to prevent a child from climbing out. If these features are accounted for, a hand-me-down highchair is generally fine.

  • Clothes - Buying new baby clothes can be so much fun. Even more fun than shopping for yourself. Before you dive in headfirst and purchase every adorable baby outfit, just remember your little one grows rapidly, and they’ll likely only be in each size for a matter of months. If you can get hand-me-down clothes from a family member or friend, it’s a great option to save a few extra dollars.

  • Baby Bath - Baby baths are a great option to grab second hand. As long as you check there’s no mould and they can be easily cleaned, you’re good to go.

  • Change table - You can save money by purchasing a used changing table. Try to search for one that has a safety strap and be cautious of damage and missing parts.
From a health and safety perspective, it’s generally better if the following items can be purchased new;

  • Baby carrier – Baby carriers are often associated with product recalls so it’s best to try and buy new to ensure the carrier that is 100% complaint with safety regulations.

  • Breast pumps – Breast pumps can be incredibly expensive, so it may be tempting to purchase one second hand. Used breast pumps unfortunately have the potential for cross-contamination. If you do pick one up second hand, be sure it’s thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before use.

  • Car seats – Buying a new car seat is definitely money well spent if you can afford it. Car seat safety standards change frequently, and materials can degrade over time. Many new parents also don’t think to ask about the history of the car seat. A car seat that has previously been in an accident should never be re-used.

  • Mattresses -  Due to the nature of mattress and children it’s nice to be able to grab a new one if feasible. You may be lucky enough to find a great quality one that has had a mattress protector on it previously, so keep an eye out for these ones as they can save you a lot of money.

    In summary, buying second hand baby items can be a great way to save money and help the environment.

    If you have the required safety and compliance issues in check, then second hand items are a great option when purchasing items for your little one. 

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