From clothing to diapers, strollers, and car seats; the number of things you'll buy your baby in the first two years of life can add up pretty quickly. A NerdWallet study found that parents across the board dramatically underestimate the cost of having a baby. Thankfully, there are plenty of baby items you can buy used. There are apps and marketplaces on your phone, thrift shops, and hand-me-downs from friends and family.
But can you buy just any baby item second hand?
The answer is no. While you will find just about everything in those thrift shops and marketplaces, and most items are perfectly safe, some are not recommended. Car seats, for example, have expiration dates. Used crib mattresses might be fine if they've been very lightly used.
If you are looking to save some cash or like the idea of being sustainable, here are 5 baby items you should buy used.
1. Clothes and shoes
Few things are as fun as picking out cute new clothes for a baby. But before you raid the racks and fill your house with admittedly adorable baby clothes, remember that your baby will grow in length and gain weight by the week. Many of those cute clothes won't get worn before your baby outgrows them.
That is why you should buy second hand baby clothes. The majority of used clothes for babies are practically new, and I've even seen some with tags still on them. Again, because babies grow so fast, they don't have time to wear them out. So join the slow fashion movement and shop second hand for baby's wardrobe.
Where can you buy used baby clothes?
Try any local thrift store or online shops like Kidizen or TOYCYCLE - yes they sell baby and kids clothing for ages NB to 12. Not only can you buy new-to-you stuff, one of these may also be the best place to sell baby items online.
Another recurring expenditure with kids is toys. They move from one developmental phase to the next every few months. So you have to keep restocking that toy room, and that can get expensive fast.
Luckily for you, toys are among the recommended things you should buy used. Most wooden, and even many plastic toys, can stand the test of time. Like clothes, you can clean and disinfect toys to ensure they are safe for use.
However, make sure the toy is in stellar condition with no cracks, missing or loose parts, and no chipping paint. Check the toy inside as well to ensure it has no mold or things that your child can swallow. Buy from a local consignment or thrift shop, or from an online store that has a quality assurance program.
Strollers are high-ticket items that can put you back hundreds, even thousands of dollars if you've got your eye on the best-rated ones. Thankfully, you can find the same stroller used at a significant discount off the original price. Used strollers are often also in great condition. They may not have gotten much use. And babies only use strollers for a year or two and then become too big for them.
What you need to do when buying a used stroller is to check the parts to ensure they are all working perfectly. Check for any broken, missing, or loose parts and push it around a bit to feel if it's safe and sturdy. You also need to inquire about the stroller's age and how long it has been used. Safety standards for strollers haven't been changed since 2015 but you don't want a unit that has been passed down from one family to another over the years.
One baby item with zero contention on whether you can buy used or not is a baby bathtub. Again, babies outgrow tubs faster than you might imagine. A quick check will ensure the tub is clean and functional. You will also use it for a very short time and pass it on quickly.
Last but not least, you should consider buying used furniture for the baby's room. These are really pricey items when new, and you often won't even notice the difference when you buy second hand. What are we talking about here?
A new crib will cost you between $100 and $3,000 and only get at most three years of use if it converts to a toddler bed. While there are some warnings about buying a second-hand crib because of recalls, you can easily check the government recalls site to see if that particular crib was recalled. Also, avoid drop-side cribs or cribs that are clearly vintage.
- Changing table
All a changing table needs is a smooth top and stability. Find one that is well taken care of and sanitize it before use.
Dressers or chests of drawers can be quite costly. Save yourself some money by finding a good used one with no sharp edges, chipping paint or loose hardware.
- Rocking Chair or Glider
Rocking chairs are easy to find in second-hand stores, and you can get a great deal on them. Again, test to feel the stability and check that everything is in working order.
When you buy any of these used baby items, take precautions before using them. For example, you might like to clean and disinfect them. Use warm soapy water to wipe clean anything that can't be washed, and then go over with a disinfectant wipe or spray to sanitize.
To conclude, bringing home a baby doesn't have to break the bank. As you can see, there are plenty of baby items you can buy used. Be strategic with your purchases and buy used wherever you can. It's great for your wallet and happens to also be great for the environment. That's a win, win any way you look at it.