Parenting is a full-time job that involves a lot of responsibility. Caring for your little one is not just laborious but an expensive affair as well. However, one cute smile from your baby and you feel like everything is worth it. With little planning and wise decisions, you can bring smile on your baby's face a little too often. Besides, you too can be relieved of financial burden to some extent. So, what are these intelligent ideas to keep off unnecessary baby expenses? Well, for one, you can largely rely on 'hand-me-downs' and used stuff, which can greatly cut the cost of numerous baby items. However, checking out the safety quotient of used items is of utmost importance to secure your baby's health. Besides, it is not recommended to get anything and everything from the consignment shops as some things are best bought new.
Used Baby Items that are Absolutely Safe
If you are expecting a baby, you will get hand-me-downs from numerous friends and relatives. Some of these items can be extremely useful and save a lot of money. However, certain items may not be entirely safe for your baby and must be discarded without a second thought. Such items are listed at the end of this article. But before that, let us discuss baby essentials that are okay to buy as used or secondhand items.
Babies need a change of clothes at least 5 - 6 times a day. Besides, babies grow out of their old clothes pretty quickly. As a result, you have to keep buying clothes every month. You can imagine the amount of money wasted on clothes, that your baby will be wearing only for a short time. Hence, it is absolutely a great idea to ask your friends and family for hand-me-downs or buy them from consignment shops. Buying used clothes online is also a good and safe option. No matter where you buy used clothes from, just make sure that the clothes are in good condition and without drawstrings or other fancy accessories.
Socks and Shoes
Infants do not need shoes as much as toddlers do. You will be dressing your baby in shoes only once a while. Hence, it makes no sense to buy brand new shoes for your little one. Besides, she'll be outgrowing them sooner than you think. Thus, it makes perfect sense to get a pair or two of secondhand shoes. However, you will need quite a number of sock pairs to keep your baby's feet warm. Hence, investing in used socks is also a good idea.
Hats and Sweaters
Unless you live in a hot, arid desert, you will need to wrap your little bundle in warm clothes, especially, during chilly evenings. Again, your baby will outgrow all the coats and sweaters in no time. So, you might as well get them from secondhand stores.
Used toys are safe to buy only if they are in extremely good condition. Look for chips and peeled paint (especially, if it exposes hazardous parts) as well as missing hardware. Also consider choking hazards that may result from loose parts. Buying used toys is a good option considering the fact that babies quickly lose interest in their toys and look for something new. Thus, no point in buying expensive brand new toys.
Baby strollers can be safely bought secondhand if they are manufactured after 2007. Those manufactured before 2007 do not adhere to revised standards for safety. While buying, make sure it is sturdy, stable and without any damage. Do not a buy stroller unless you can personally assess its condition. Thus, buying online may not be a good option.
Used Baby Items that Should be Bought with Caution
While some items can be bought secondhand without thinking much, there are certain baby items that are safe only when they meet certain specifications. Some of these items include:
Owing to a large number of crib accidents and several manufacturers recalling their products, buying baby crib has become a difficult task. Crib safety standards were revised in June 2011, hence cribs produced before this date can be considered unsafe. If you must buy a secondhand crib, you need to conduct a thorough examination, so that you end up with only the best crib for your baby. Check, if the crib is sturdy and its posts are secured in place. Avoid drop-side cribs at all costs, no matter how lucrative the deal. Also make sure the posts are high enough to prevent the baby from climbing out of it, as well as closely spaced, to avoid incidences of suffocation.
Baby furniture like high chair, play-pens can be bought used, only if it is gently used and in brand new condition. The high chair should have five-point harness and a crotch post for your child's safety. Avoid buying furniture that has been re-painted.
Car seats are an essential item to secure your baby's safety during car journeys. You must not compromise with the quality of the car seat at any cost. Secondhand car seats may have been damaged in crashes even though they may not show signs of it. This renders them useless for another such event. Hence, avoid buying car seats from unknown owners. If you must, buy them from friends and family or other reliable sources, so that you can be assured of your child's safety. Considering the low cost of car seats, you might even think of buying a brand new one.
Getting used baby bathtubs is a good idea as they are expensive and required only for a short while. However, secondhand bathtubs may raise certain hygiene issues, if you are not careful enough while buying. Avoid tubs that show signs of mold, mildew growth or other damages.
Baby Items that You Should Never Buy Secondhand
We have seen items that can be bought safely as well as ones that need caution while buying. However, there are certain baby items that you should never reuse for your baby, even if you are getting them for free. The list of such items is as follows:
- Breast pumps
- Baby bottles
- Crib mattress
- Blankets and bedding
- Baby slings