Apr 02 , 2020

Used Baby Items: What To Buy And What To Avoid

It just isn’t possible to keep buying expensive brand-name goods every few months. Buying second-hand baby items is much more practical when you need to save up for your baby’s next birthday or doctor’s appointment.

Although there are a lot of safe and durable items that can withstand all kinds of wear and tear, it’s also important to remember that not everything is meant to last forever. Stuff that might appear strong and useful at first can degrade over time and become quite unsafe. Here’s a brief list of second-hand stuff that you should try, as well as second-hand stuff that shouldn’t be in your home.

What To Buy

Durable Clothes

Clothes aren’t meant to be used once then thrown away right after. Before fast fashion came along, clothes were a prized possession built to last and be passed down from generation to generation. Second-hand clothing that’s been carefully chosen and prepared can no doubt be quite useful and comfortable for your baby, so don’t be afraid to use clothes that your friends or family are willing to give away.

When buying second-hand clothing, it’s important to remember that they might not be as clean or fresh as something off the rack. Some clothes can also contain chemicals from mothballs or other household items that are harmful to your baby’s skin. Before you put that pretty dress on your little girl, do wash it (twice, if it’s particularly old or dusty) with a generous helping of soap or detergent.

Like most second-hand items, clothes can also show signs of wear-and-tear. It’s best to avoid clothes with potential choking hazards, such as strings or loose buttons, as they can enter your child’s mouth when you aren’t looking. If you’ve got good sewing skills, you can fix up old pieces of clothing so that they aren’t as dangerous for your child.


Growing babies need a new pair of shoes every now and then. You can buy a good second-hand pair to save on money and help out other parents who need to clear their closet. Second-hand booties and soft shoes are perfectly fine to use since they can easily fit into most babies’ feet without causing any discomfort. On the other hand, second-hand leather shoes should be avoided as they aren’t really meant to be shared.


Although many kids and babies can find toys to treasure forever, they can also end up ignoring a toy once it becomes a little too boring for them to play with. A bright and shiny toy might seem like a great investment at first, but it can also become a waste if your baby just doesn’t find it that fun or interesting.

Buying second-hand toys isn’t as expensive or risky as buying an expensive brand-name item. Who knows, your baby might even feel more affection for something cheap and pre-loved than something pricey and new. When picking a toy for your little one though, you should check to see whether it has any small or loose choking hazards. You should also carefully inspect a toy for any sharp or jagged edges, as well as any other signs of danger before bringing it home. It’s also important to first research whether or not this toy has been recalled in the past. After all, dangerous mass-produced toys are more common than you think.

Used Playpens

Playpens can serve as a fun and safe space where your kids can stay while you work or clean the house. Since they’re made with mesh, you can easily see what your kids are up without having to walk up to one over and over again. Used playpens aren’t as risky to buy as second-hand cribs, so do consider buying one if those at the department store aren’t friendly for your wallet.

It’s also important to properly inspect a used playpen before bringing one home, though. Used playpens that were made before 2012 or 2013 might not be good to use as they aren’t designed to adhere to updated safety standards. The mesh should also have holes that aren’t bigger than ¼-inches. You should also check to see if there aren’t any gaps between the playpen and mattress and if there aren’t any loose or dangling items inside.

High Chairs

Once your baby is at least 6 months old, they can eat a little baby cereal while sitting comfortably in a high chair. Second-hand high chairs are a good budget saver that you can use at home, though it is also important to check whether or not they’re still safe for use.

Before buying a used high chair, do inspect how the locks and catches work first. If they look like they’re ready to fall apart the minute you fold or unfold the chair, better find another one instead. Missing parts on a used high chair are also a huge red flag to steer clear of if you don’t want your baby to suffer any unfortunate accidents during breakfast. Removable trays and arms should also be avoided since they are a huge injury-risk.

Good quality high chairs are built with a 5-point harness that can secure your baby while they sit and eat. If any of the straps on a high chair seem loose or worn, you should avoid it or try replacing the straps yourself. Babies like to move a lot even when they’re supposed to be seated, so you’ll need straps that will ensure the chair doesn’t tip over every time your baby tries to stand or lean forward and back.  

What To Avoid

Car Seats

Car seats usually expire 6 to 9 years after they were first manufactured. This is because the materials used in their construction can become weaker over time and because older models no longer adhere to updated safety standards. Second-hand car seats can also turn hazardous right away if they’ve ever been in a crash. You’re much better off buying a newer and safer car seat for your child than buying an old and dangerous one.


Second-hand cribs are also a risky item that you better avoid as they’re not guaranteed to follow prescribed safety standards or be made with safe and sanitary materials. Since federal regulations for crib production were only changed in 2011, many older cribs can pose a significant risk for your child.

Cribs that were built in the 1970s are a HUGE no-no as not only are they too old to be durable, but they can also contain lead—an unhealthy substance that’s been proven to lead to health and developmental problems.

Other safety hazards found in used cribs include mattresses that have become too worn and dirty for use, as well as aged and fragile construction. A newly built crib can start out strong and safe but soon degrade and become hazardous after years of use. The same can also be said for mattresses that have been exposed to bodily fluids and harmful substances like dust and mold.

Breast Pumps

Most breast pumps are considered by the FDA to be single-use only. Unless a breast pump is specifically designed to be shared, it shouldn’t ever be used by multiple women. Infectious particles can be passed down into your child’s milk and cause serious illness. Even if you try your best to clean or disinfect the pump, it just isn’t possible to completely eliminate harmful substances that have stuck to the motor.