If you have children, the “hand me down” chain can result in tons of free clothes and toys for your children. And the benefits go far deeper.
5 Rules for Handling Hand Me Downs
There’s no denying the fact that children are expensive. Many families work hard to decrease the expense that comes with having kids. One way to save lots of money is by searching out good deals on all of the items that are needed. This why we are also open to searching for the perfect Hand Me Downs.
When given the option of cutting costs by buying second-hand gear or taking hand me downs from friends and family members, most expecting parents leap at the opportunity.
While some items are perfectly safe to be used after a previous owner. There are some that should not be used and guidelines for how others should be handled in order to ensure that they’re up to snuff and safe for your little one.
What You Need To Know
Here are 5 Rules for Handling Hand Me Downs that you should take into consideration before you stock up on second-hand baby items.
Check Recall Information
The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (or CPSC) is the single most valuable resource for recalls and safety warnings that the modern parent has at their disposal. Their website is a wealth of information for both new and used baby items. Parents should make a habit of checking it regularly or signing up for their free email list in order to stay abreast of any developments regarding future recalls.
Be Sure That Older Furniture Meets Modern Safety Guidelines
Do not use cribs older than 10 years or broken or modified cribs. Safety regulations change frequently based on reported injuries and deaths. It is important that even if the crib is within 10 years newer to measure the space between slats. The slats should be no more than 2 3/8 inches apart. Also make sure to check that the new mattress fits snugly into the crib. Measuring to make sure it is no more than two-fingers width between the edge of the mattress and the sides of the crib.
Changing tables should feature a railing or raised edge. This railing or edge should measure at least six inches higher than the changing surface. Safety straps or harnesses are a must to keep wiggling babies in place. High chairs should be checked for stability and any broken or deteriorating pieces.
Skip the Second-Hand Car Seat
One thing that should not be purchased second-hand, or accepted as a hand me down donation, is a car seat. Due to the extreme concerns about their safety and functionality in the event of a car accident. Car seats should always be discarded and replaced after an accident. Even if they seem to be intact under close scrutiny. Often, inner workings and safety measures can be compromised after an accident, rendering them practically useless in a second crash. Unless you know the history of a car seat and are absolutely sure that it was never in a fender bender, it’s best to opt for a new model to ensure your new baby’s safety.
Give Items More Than a Once-Over
A quick glance is usually not enough to ensure that all parts of an item are in good working order and that nothing is missing, so take the time to carefully examine a second-hand item. Make sure that all screws and bolts are tight, that surfaces feel stable, and that nothing wobbles; toys should have all pieces intact and present no danger of breaking into smaller parts that could present a choking hazard, and strollers should have working breaks and be free of any rusting, sharp edges, or frayed seams.
Clean, Clean, Clean
No matter where a second-hand item came from, it is important that you clean them thoroughly. Making sure you are removing any mildew or mustiness due to the item languishing in a storage building. Remember that stains of indeterminate origin, bacteria, or foreign bodies should also be removed during cleaning. While you’re scrubbing look for corrosion from leaky batteries or expiration dates. Keep in mind, that some items are made from plastic that degrades over time and may no longer be suitable for use.
Clothes for newborns and young infants can often be purchased second-hand for far less than retail cost. They’re a great way to stretch your baby budge. Leaving you with more money for purchasing important items brand new, like car seats and crib mattresses. Breast pumps, bottles, nipples, and feeding items should also be purchased new. Though well-meaning friends and family members may gift you a slew of leftovers from their own new-parent days, there’s no rule stating that you have to use them all.
Whether you opt to graciously accept them and quietly discard them you should never use baby items that you feel are out of date or less than safe.
Bottom Line: Just because they were given to you by a loved one doesn’t mean you have to use it.