Everything You Need to Know About Used Baby Gear
Used Baby Gear: Everything You Need to Know
March 30, 2020

Used Baby Gear: Everything You Need to Know

Used Baby Gear: Everything You Need to Know .
Used Baby Gear: Everything You Need to Know

Baby gear is expensive, so buying used is always a budget-friendly strategy–but especially now during these rapidly changing times.

Before you start shopping, though, you’ll want to educate yourself on secondhand gear. In this article, we’ll cover:

  • How to add used baby gear to your Babylist registry.
  • The best places to shop for secondhand gear.
  • What gear is safe to buy used–and what isn’t.

Registering for Used Baby Gear

Babylist offers several options for adding secondhand baby gear to your registry.

  • The Wild Card Blank Coupon is the perfect way to give gift-givers the heads up that you’re open to secondhand baby gear. It’s completely customizable; just update it with a photo and a description of whatever item you’re hoping to receive and add it to your Babylist registry.
  • You’re also able to add coupons for Preloved Baby Clothes and Preloved Baby Books. Both are things you’ll use a ton and that seasoned parents are always happy to pass along.
  • Would you rather shop on your own? Add a general Cash Fund to your registry so you’ll have the option to buy what you want when you need it. When someone decides to contribute, we’ll let them know how to get the funds to you either electronically or via check or cash.

Where to Shop for Secondhand Baby Gear

If you’re on the hunt for secondhand baby gear, you’re in luck–there is no shortage of groups and businesses dedicated to exactly that. These are some of our favorites:

  • Facebook is one of the best and easiest ways to track down used baby gear. There are two ways to go: swap groups and Facebook Marketplace. Swap groups, which are usually local to your area, are often run by other parents and are an excellent place to snag gently used gear and clothing at a huge discount. It’s worth spending some time searching them out on your own or asking other parents in your area which ones they like best so they can invite you in. Facebook Marketplace is also a great resource; it’s the same premise as a local swap group, but is set up a bit more formally and covers a larger geographic area.
  • If you’re not on Facebook, there are other online marketplaces you can access. Weepea is a buy/sell platform that’s dedicated exclusively to children’s gear and clothing. You can filter by location and shop (and sell) within your community and pay via credit card or Apple Pay. OfferUp is another option, and although it’s not child-specific, there are lots of baby and kid items to shop.
  • ThredUp is a consignment and thrift site that focuses exclusively on clothing, including shoes and accessories. There’s a dedicated kids’ section where you can find clothing for babies all the way up through toddlers and big kids.
  • Ebay is another popular site for secondhand baby gear, and has everything from pricier items like furniture, strollers and highchairs to smaller things like toys and diaper bags. There’s a dedicated baby section where you can shop products by category.

What to Buy Used–What’s Safe and What’s Not

It’s possible to shop secondhand across almost all categories of baby gear–but there are certain safety measures you’ll want to be aware of and tips to keep in mind as you start stocking up. A few tips before you start shopping:

  • Recalls.gov is the best online resource for recalled products, baby gear included. Be sure to check any used product through this website to see if any recalls have been issued.
  • Washable items should go directly into your washing machine after you bring them home.
  • Anything with a hard surface can be cleaned thoroughly with soap and water or with a bleach-based cleaning spray or wipe. (If you’re concerned about chemical residue, let the bleach-based solution dry for the required amount of time and then follow up with a wipe-down with a rag dipped in water.)
  • Car seats have very specific cleaning requirements; you can find them here.

Here are the products we recommend buying secondhand (and what we don’t) and what to look for in used gear.

Gear & On-the-Go

  • Strollers can be expensive, and a gently used option is a great solution if you have your eye on a luxury brand but don’t want to pay full price. Before you buy:
    • Check to make sure the stroller was made in 2015 or after. That’s the year when new stroller standards were put into place by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission that required strollers to meet new federal requirements around overall stroller safety.
    • Take the stroller for a test drive and make sure all features (brakes, recline, clasps and buckles, canopy, etc.) are in working order.
  • It’s not generally recommended to purchase a used car seat; that’s because you don’t know the seat’s history and if its safety has been compromised. If you are considering buying a used seat, we recommend only doing so through someone you trust to be honest with you about the seat’s history. This is a great resource to consult if you’re considering a used seat. Here’s what else to keep in mind:
    • Has the seat ever been involved in a crash? (Even a minor one?) Has the seat ever been dropped, or checked during a flight (not protected in its original packaging)? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then skip.
    • Check the seat’s expiration date. (The label is often toward the bottom of the seat, either underneath or on the side.) Most car seats expire 6-8 years from the date they were manufactured.
    • Make sure all parts of the seat are in working order. Check for cracks, fraying or other damage. You’ll also want to check for any recalls.
  • Baby carriers make ideal secondhand baby gear purchases. Just ensure any buckles or Velcro still work, and wash them first according to the manufacturer’s directions.

  • A playard can be expensive, and it’s totally fine to pick up one that’s been gently used.
    • Be sure it folds and unfolds properly and the mattress is snug. Also check for tears or holes on the sides.
    • You’ll also need to make sure it was manufactured in 2013 or after as that’s when new federal safety standards were enacted.
  • Swings, bouncers and other large, bulky items like activity centers and infant seats often end up for sale on marketplaces and swap groups. (Great news for you, since they’re often pretty pricey.) These items are crucial in the moment but are outgrown quickly–and parents often want to get rid of them to free up precious space in their homes. Look for models that were manufactured in the last few years so you’re certain they meet safety standards.

Nursery

  • Nursery furniture can really add up, so shopping for used items is a good way to keep your budget in check. We especially love scoring a used glider, dresser or changing table; just be sure to check for any recalls and make sure everything is in good condition.
    • We don’t recommend buying a used crib or a used crib mattress. Both are held to very high (and constantly evolving) safety standards. Cribs also tend to weaken over time, especially after consistent use by an older kiddo, so the only way to ensure the structural integrity is to buy new.
  • Bedding, blankets and room decor can all be purchased secondhand as long as they are gently used and in decent condition. Wash any bedding and blankets before using, of course.

Clothing

  • One of the most popular categories to buy used, baby clothes are ideal for recycling since little ones often outgrow clothing before it gets much wear and tear. Seasonal items like buntings and winter coats as well as rain and snow boots are ideal to pick up used–they’re expensive to buy new and don’t usually get a ton of use. Be sure to check all snaps, buttons and zippers before you buy.

Toys & Books

  • Buying toys used helps your wallet and the environment. Just be sure to check for any loose parts, anything small that may pose a choking hazard or any peeling or chipping paint.
  • Secondhand books are perfect for building your little one’s library and great for passing along again once your child has outgrown them.

Other Categories

  • A baby bath tub is completely safe to buy used, assuming there are no recalls in place. You’ll want to clean it thoroughly before using it with your little one, and make sure there’s no mildew or other residue.
  • You can purchase a high chair secondhand, but you’ll need to be cautious. Be sure the seat’s still extremely stable and structurally sound. Check on any recalls that may have been issued, and be sure all of the seat’s straps and buckles are working well.
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