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Used Baby Gear: Everything You Need to Know
Updated on
January 30, 2024

Used Baby Gear: Everything You Need to Know

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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 and since babies grow so quickly, you’ll usually be able to find a lot of gently used items. Before you start shopping, though, there are a few things to know about buying secondhand baby gear.

Registering for Used Baby Items

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

Wild Card Blank Coupon: This is the perfect way to give gift-givers the heads up that you’re open to secondhand baby gear. This coupon is 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 can also add coupons for preloved baby clothes and preloved baby books to your registry. Both are things you’ll use a ton and that seasoned parents are always happy to pass along.

Cash Fund: 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 Used Baby Items

If you’re on the hunt for secondhand baby gear, you’re in luck–there is no shortage of groups and businesses that offer exactly that. These are some of our favorite places to find used baby gear.

Facebook: This is one of the best and easiest ways to track down used baby gear and 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. Shipping may also be available for some smaller items, so you’re not just limited to shopping local listings.

Weepea: 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.

GoodBuy Gear: This is a resale marketplace for high-quality baby gear. You can shop online and get your items shipped to you just like you would at other major retailers. GoodBuy Gear also thoroughly checks each item so you can be sure you’re getting a good deal.

OfferUp: Another online option, OfferUp is not child-specific but there are lots of baby and kid items available.

ThredUp: This consignment and thrift site 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: Another popular site for secondhand baby gear, Ebay 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.

Used Baby Items: 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.

Here are a few tips before you start shopping:

  • Check for recalls. 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.
  • Clean everything before you use it. This is probably obvious but be sure to clean everything according to the manufacturer’s recommendations when you bring it home. Throw any washable items in your washing machine and wipe everything down with soap and water or 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. It’s important to note, car seats have very specific cleaning requirements.

Baby gear you shouldn’t buy used

Car seats: It’s generally not 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.

The Car Seat Lady’s guide 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.

Cribs and mattresses: 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.

So, what baby gear should you purchase second hand? Here are the products we recommend buying used and what to look out for.

Used Baby Gear

Strollers: One of the first baby gear items parents decide on, 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.

Baby carriers: These make ideal secondhand baby gear purchases. Just ensure any buckles or velcro still work, and that there are no rips or holes in the fabric. Also, be sure to wash them first according to the manufacturer’s directions.

Playards: 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. Make sure it was manufactured in 2013 or after as that’s when new federal safety standards were enacted.

Swings and Bouncers: Large, bulky items like swings, bouncers and activity centers 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.

Used Nursery Furniture

Furniture: 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.

Textiles: Bedding, blankets and room decor can all be purchased second hand as long as they are gently used and in decent condition. Wash any bedding and blankets before using, of course.

Used Baby 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.

Used Baby 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 Baby Gear

A baby bathtub 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 also 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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