I am all for thrifting and being frugal, especially when it comes to buying baby products second hand.
These are short term items that are outgrown quickly, but ones that still come with hefty price tags.
So why wouldn’t you buy all of your baby’s items as cheaply as possible?
Second hand isn’t always best when it comes to providing your child with all of their many, many needs, particularly when thinking about safety and hygiene.
Eight baby products to never buy second hand.
1. Car Seats
I would personally never buy a car seat second hand. You never know if it has been in a car that has been involved in an accident. This could even be third or even fourth hand and therefore simply not guaranteed as a safe travel seat for your child.
The only exception is if you are using a used car seat from a long-term friend or family member. You need to 100% trust it has NOT been in an accident and has been properly looked after. They need to have your family’s safety at the forefront of their mind.
Ensure they have all of the safety and instruction manuals to accompany the seat.
2. Dummies / Pacifiers
Luckily these aren’t that expensive to buy new because these are something you should not buy used.
My son tends to bite his dummies so I regularly check the silicone for holes and any tearing from the base.
Although they can be cleaned and sterilised, the plastic teat would be vulnerable to wear and tear and could create a choking hazard for your baby.
Any sign of damage means that the pacifier should be disposed of immediately.
3. Bottle Teats
As above, with teats constant variation in temperatures during sterilisations and cooling means it would be vulnerable to the silicone weakening and deteriorating. Not to mention that if the plastic is broken it could become a choking hazard.
It would be difficult to know if the plastic would be BPA free and from a trusted brand, so my advice would be to always buy new.
4. Infant Formula
When buying formula for your baby always buy a new and sealed tub.
Infant Formula is one of the largest expenses over time for your baby, at least for the first year. At around £12 per tub, I often spent over £50 per month on just milk for my children.
I often see opened and used tubs of formula for sale on online selling sites, followed by comments from prospective buyers.
There’s some questions you need to ask before you consider this:
- How old is the formula?
- Has it been stored correctly to avoid the degrading of nutrients?
- Is it tainted?
Unfortunately, you really never know how trustworthy people are these days. I would not like to put my baby at risk to save a few bucks.
5. Crib Mattress
The Lullaby Trust has a great guide to buying the perfect mattress for your baby’s cot. It recommends to avoid using a second hand mattress. This is true even if given to you by friends and family or if you’re using from a older sibling of the baby.
Used mattresses can pose a higher risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), due to the wear on the mattress. They recommend using a new mattress for every new child in your family. Specifically, one that is firm and has a waterproof lining.
6. Perfect Prep Instant Formula Machine
Let’s set the scene. You have been tempted by one of those fancy Perfect Prep machines that makes formula in about 30 seconds at the optimal temperature.
It will make those moments when baby is screaming bloody murder for their bottle so much easier to deal with and take the stress out of bottle prep.
They’re a little pricey, but it will be worth it. Maybe there is a cheaper machine used on eBay?
I too had been tempted by such a machine, until my midwife warned me not to purchase one.
Last year, reports emerged of parents opening up their machine to find the tubes that carry the water to the bottles full of black mould.
Second hand machines may also carry the same hazards. Because the machine isn’t heating the water to the recommended boiling point to kill this bacteria, you may be doing more harm to your baby just by wanting to save a few minutes on preparing a bottle.
The point is, you don’t need a big fancy machine to make this easier. Have a routine in place to get the baby bottle conveyor belt going.
I had around 6-8 bottles total and would sanitise around five at a time. Try to have no fewer than 3 bottles in the fridge ready with cooled boiled water for the next feeds. (storing no longer for 24 hours)
Disclaimer: This post contains referral links on which I make a very small commission if you decide to make a purchase. This is at no extra cost to you and I would only recommend products that I would buy, or have bought, myself.
7. Vintage Baby Toys
I love the idea of using vintage toys for your kids, passed down through generations within your family. Giving your favourite childhood toys a new lease of life to bring joy to your own child is a special feeling.
There are some concerns about using vintage toys. One being if they have been heavily used and damaged during intense play sessions. Broken edges or loose pieces may pose a safety threat for your child.
Also, these toys were made in a different era. They simply do not have the most relevant safety testing or requirements.
Toy Safety regulations only started in 1988, so any older toys may contain toxic plastics and materials that could cause harm to your child over time.
Read this article from the NHS if you are concerned about letting your children play with vintage toys.
It’s also important in Europe that toys have the CE marking, which meet the requirements of the European Toy Safety Directive.
Fisher Price have reinvented their most iconic Pre-School Toys. If you fancy a dose of nostalgia, take a look at the retro Fisher Price toys like this classic listed on Amazon.
8. Rubber Duck Toys
If you have had rubber ducks at any point you will know that eventually, water that gets trapped inside may cause mould to grow inside.
It’s important that bath toys are cleaned regularly, but still mould and other bacteria can still begin to build up on the inside of toys that aren’t accessible.
If you buy these second hand, who knows how much nasty stuff may be built up inside the toy.
Babies like to put these toys in their mouth when playing in the bath. The thought of them taking in any of this is pretty gross.
I personally avoid these all together, new or used.
I hope my post hasn’t come across as scaremongering, but it’s some food for thought particularly if you are a new parent.