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What you should and shouldn’t buy second hand for kids

Kids cost a f*ckload of money. Pop out a little one (or more), and you’re staring down the barrel of 20 or more years of schooling (which could be anything from preschool to college), medical bills, extracurricular activities, and ‘stuff’. My god, so much stuff. 

You’d think being kids, surely they don’t need that much. Think again. 

It starts when they’re a newborn and they hate the style of sleepsuit you’ve bought. So, you go and buy 10 different ones in the hope that they miraculously sleep for more than two hours at a time. Fast track to toddler land (aka hell). You’re buying toys as bargaining tools to get them to brush their teeth/go to sleep/try potty training. Then they’re a teenager and they “absolutely must have the new iPhone, mom”. Well, sh*t. 

Yes, the ROI is high (like, they’re cute as sh*t). But, the CPI is as well. The answer? Second-hand shopping. 

You can buy many things pre-loved: such as toys, clothes, furniture, and transportation. However, there are certain things that you should just bite the bullet and buy new.

Why?

Well, you want to ensure your kid is going to be safe while using the item. Plus there’s the occasional (terrifying) recall, and safety guidelines change over time. Love that for us.

So let’s start with this…

What should you almost definitely buy new?

Car seats

Car seats protect your kids. But to ensure they’re going to actually do so, it’s recommended that you know the seat’s full history (when it was made, its model number, if it’s been in a serious crash or is under recall, for example), otherwise avoid buying it. It can be really hard to get all that history when buying pre-owned. 

And what should you possibly buy new?

Cribs, beds, strollers, and playpens

The safety guidelines for these items change regularly. That drop-side crib your mom wants to pass on, for example? In some countries, it’s no longer considered safe. 

Mattresses

You don’t know where that thing has been (or what “liquids” it has been subjected to). Plus, for cribs, it’s recommended that the mattress is a nice tight fit, to prevent SIDS. So, if buying used, you’d need to make sure those measurements are spot on. 

But, if you do your research, you might be ok to buy these things pre-owned – I bought my crib and mattress second-hand, after obtaining extensive info from the seller and seeing them before buying them. 

You’ll need to get as much detail about the item as possible and have a good understanding of the product standard guidelines in your country. You should also investigate if there are any outstanding product recalls (more on this below).

And now for the fun bit…

What can I actually buy second-hand?

Things you can easily and safely (more on this below) buy pre-loved include:

  • Toys – rather than spending full price on that baby DJ desk that speaks three languages.
  • Clothes – the best way to get Baby Dior into your life.
  • Soft items – like towels, swaddles, and sleepsuits. Some people only use these briefly before selling (because kids grow so damn fast), or never use them at all if they receive surplus at their baby shower, for example. 
  • Transportation and certain seating – think bouncers and baby carriers. 
  • Bathing and changing items – like bathtubs, change mats, and change tables.
  • Furniture – high chairs, rocking chairs, and play tables, for example.
  • Outdoor gear – you can pick up trampolines, bikes, rollerblades, soccer balls and so much more.
  • Electronics – like the above-mentioned iPhone for your teen.

But, four important things to remember:

  • Test that f*cker out. Fully. Test the zips, the snaps, the front, the back. Check it works, that it’s stable, and that it’s not going to harm your kid. 
  • If the item is on the more “used” side of second-hand or is something your kid is going to be sucking on (e.g. toys), make sure you can clean it or sanitize it. 
  • Always *triple check* it’s not been recalled or there are no “this product is really f*cking dangerous for kids” warnings out there. If you’re in the States; you can check product recalls and safety advice here. You can check here if you’re in Australia, and here (for recalls) and here (for safety advice) if you’re in the UK. 
  • If you’re uncertain about it at all, don’t buy it.

You can see our guide to shopping on Facebook Marketplace here, including a range of hints and tips for buying used goods. 

Mamas, if you’ve shopped second-hand before, what’s been your best score? Tell us in the comments. Mine is an as new Danish designer change mat for 50% of the price (#winning). 

Motherhood is really hard, Mumli isn’t.

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