The first year of a baby’s life will set you back around £11,500. Maternity pay and reduced work hours means most families are living on less when baby comes along. If you want to recoup some cost, then why not consider buying second hand baby items. We’ve created this guide to help you know where to save and where to spend.
This article is in depth, so if you want to skip to the part you need we’ll discuss:
- What to Buy Second Hand
- What Not To Buy Second Hand
- Where to Buy Second Hand Baby Items
- Benefits of Buying Second Hand Baby Items
- Tips for Buying Second Hand Baby Items
- Second Hand Baby Items Safety
Second Hand Baby Items: Ultimate Parents Guide
What to Get Second Hand
Before you accept or buy any second hand baby items you may want to know what’s safe for baby. Gently used or nearly new items are your best bet for safety and long life. Let’s discover where you can save those pennies.
Most parents like to buy a new pushchair for baby; however, they are extremely expensive. If you are on a tight budget and have a particular model in mind buying second hand can help you afford what you want. If possible give it a good road test. This include making sure the frame is stable and the brakes are in working order.
Crib or Cot
Wooden crib and cots are ideal to buy second hand. Wood is very easy to clean down before using for your baby. Make use the crib has all the screw in place with no chips or splits, which can hurt baby. Any fabric-covered cribs should only be used if the material can be removed and washed, and the frame scrubbed clean. Read our advice below regarding second hand mattresses.
This is an item you’ll use a lot for around 6 months then won’t need. Therefore, there is no point in investing too much into buying new. Baby bath tubs can be cleaned easily and are super cheap to buy second hand. They are bulky to ship so your best to buy somewhere where you can collect it in person.
Sterilisers are designed to keep other equipment clean, so they are pretty much self-cleaning. Before you buy second hand make sure the steriliser is large enough to fit your bottle or breast pump parts. Microwave steam and cold-water sterilisers are the best options as you don’t need to worry about the electrics breaking.
You’ll probably get bombarded with baby clothes for your newborn. Your baby will grow quickly so they will be out of most of it in a few weeks. Most babies require seasonal items fairly soon after they are born. Buying second hand summer or winter clothes for your baby can save a fortune. Make sure you wash them before you put them on baby.
If you want to save money using cloth nappies, you can save even more with second hand nappies. There is a huge market for these, as cloth nappies are a big upfront investment. Always ask how the nappies have been washed and how many children they have been used on. This information will give you a good idea of how much use you’ll get out of the nappies.
For a used stair gate to be a bargain, it needs to be safe, easy to install and convenient for you to use. Basic metal stair gates are generally affordable enough to buy new. Second hand is a great way to get a bargain on a decorative or specialist stair gate.
New digital baby monitors can be very pricey, especially if they have both audio and video output. We don’t normally recommend buying second hand electric items; however, baby monitors are easy to test. Check there are no loose part or modifications to the system.
Most slings are perfectly safe to buy second hand. Beware of counterfeit baby slings, which are regularly seen on sites like Ebay. If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is. If you are unsure always pay using a system like PayPal for buyer protection.
What Not To Buy Second Hand
For safety reasons, there are a few baby items you should not buy second hand. Check out our advice and why you should buy new.
If you do choose a second-hand breast pump make sure it is at least a closed system. This means there is a barrier between the suction and the machine. The risk with breast pumps is that milk can be trapped in the system. This can put your baby’s health at risk especially if you don’t know the health of the previous user. Ultimately, we don’t see this risk worth the savings of buying second hand.
Unless you know the history of the car seat then don’t risk buying second hand. Don’t just go on the seller’s word. Even if you inspect and there appears to be no external damage it doesn’t mean there is no internal damage. If your car is in an accident, it can put your baby at deadly risk.
You should always buy a new mattress for any baby gear requiring one. Mattresses can be the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and are impossible to deep clean. The Lullaby Trust report that there is an increased risk of SIDS when second-hand mattresses are used for babies. If you do opt for second-hand, make sure the mattress is firm, flat, waterproof and with no areas of damage.
Traditional moses baskets made from fixed fabric or wicker are impossible to thoroughly clean. The fabric and nooks can harbour dirt and bacteria. Unless you get a new style moses basket which can be machine washed or wiped clean, your best to buy unused.
Avoid a used high chair without a removable seat pad. High chairs get dirty really quickly and can harbour small pieces of foods in the folds of the chair. Straps are also a hot spot for dirt which can leave your baby exposed to bacteria, which will make them unwell. Unless you can vouch that it’s spotless, then we recommend buying new.
Where to buy second hand baby items
We highly recommend reading online reviews of top baby items and then looking out for them second-hand. There are lots of different places you can shop for second hand baby items.
Friends and Family – You’ll have plenty of offers of hand me downs. Most items will be given for free, and you’ll know the history and condition of items. The hardest part is declining offers without offending people.
Charity Shop – The good items tend to go quickly so it’s difficult to get a true bargain. Charity shops are best for stockpiling on items like spare baby clothes.
Car Boot Sales – These are great for finding bargains. You’ll find some sellers are having a huge clear out of old baby things. As with most car boots the early birds get the worms. However, shopping later in the day can get you a great bargain if the seller is close to packing up.
Nearly New Baby Fair – These are ideal for those new to second hand buying. They are targeted at baby items onl, so you won’t need to wade through other household items. They sell only new of lightly used items so you know items have a lot of use left in them. Popular markets include:
- Jack and Jill (Scotland only)
- Mum 2 Mum Market
- Cheeki Monkeys
- Baby and Children’s Market
- Little Pickles
Free Sites – A site like Freecycle is perfect for picking up great freebies for baby. Membership is free, and the listings are close to you. You usually need to pick up any items yourself.
Ebay – You can search through thousands of listing in the comfort of your own home. You’ll find a huge range of conditions between items. Remember, you’ll probably need to pay for delivery on top of the item price, unless they offer collection in your area.
Online Ads – Classified ad sites such as Preloved, Gumtree and Facebook groups are ideal for large items. You find lots of offers for cot, pushchairs and nursery furniture. You can usually negotiate an offer price or include drop-off in the sale price.
7 Benefits of Second Hand Baby Items
There are lots of benefits to buying new baby gear. However, if you’re trying to cut cost a new price tag can add unnecessary costs to your budget. Here are 7 more benefits of buying used baby items over new.
1. Money Goes Further
With second hand you’ll get more for your money without sacrificing quality. A pushchair may cost £200 new; however, a second hand may cost half that price. You’ll find that a lot of new-born baby gear is lightly used as they get around 4-6 months use before outgrowing things.
2. Bargain Buzz
If you are a bargain hunter, you can get your teeth into looking for great deals. Once you know what items you’re after, you’ll need patience and hard work. Sign up to online alerts to keep your eye on the bargains. Getting a high-quality item for a low price will leave your mum friends in awe, and maybe encourage them to buy second hand too.
3. Eco Friendly
Buying second hand means you are recycling and adding less waste to landfills. Constant manufacturing of new items uses up land resources, or adds new plastic to the environment. With less manufacturing comes less pollution, energy used and fuel for transportation.
4. Helping Families
Second hand sellers are often families, like yours, trying to recoup a little of the money baby has caused them. Just think that buying second hand can go straight toward helping a family rather than to a millionaire CEOs pocket. Buying second hand from other parents gives a sense of community spirit.
5. Discontinued Items
Brands often discontinue poplar items for various reasons. If they have a previous model you liked you may not be able to get it new. Be vigilant and you may be able to find it second hand. You might want to check our advice below regarding recalled items, in case this is the reason the item was discontinued.
6. Less Packaging
Buying a second hand item means you don’t have to deal with new packaging. That includes plastics or even cardboard packaging. For smaller items that not a big issue; however, larger packaging can be a pain. You may even need to take an extra trip to the recycling centre or pay your local council to remove the packaging.
If you’re the crafty type, you can buy second hand and dabble with upcycling. This is a great idea for some unique baby furniture in the nursery. Check out Pinterest for inspiration and it can develop into a fun project to keep you busy before baby arrives.
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Tips for Buying Second Hand Baby Items
Ask lots of questions
You want to know the history of your item. How old is it? Has it been used for more than one baby? How has it been maintained? Does the seller have the instructions and any accessories? If you are buying online message the seller with any questions not answered by the listing.
Try before you buy
If you have a specific item in mind, go check it out in the shops. When you know how it looks or handles brand new, you can compare a used version. Use our safety tips below to give it a good through check over before committing to buy.
Shipping or collection
Regardless of where you buy the item from you’ll need to get it to your home. Courier costs for large items can really eat up any second hand saving, especially when retailers offer free shipping. If you need to collect, will it cost you a lot in fuel and do you have the space in your vehicle to carry it securely.
The completed listing search on eBay is great to get an idea of what you’ll pay for an item second hand. Even if you are not buying from Ebay, you’ll know whether the price is reasonable at a fair, or if you can haggle over a better price. Items which are collection only, give a more realistic estimate as buyers don’t need to factor in shipping costs.
If you are buying anything online its best to pay by PayPal. This will give you buyers’ protection in case the sale goes sour. It also means you aren’t going to meet strangers with large sums of money.
Your baby’s safety is the most important thing to consider before any type of bargain. The money you save isn’t worth it if the item you’re buying will put their health at risk. You should always consider the following issues with every second hand item you buy for baby.
Items should be thoroughly inspected for any damage or malfunction, which can be harmful to baby. This includes cleanliness, stability, brakes, fastenings, safety features and modifications.
By law, any second hand electrical item should be tested by a professional before sale. The sale should also include the full instructions.
Items you are buying should comply with current British safety standards for that item. If tags have been cut off the item, avoid buying it, especially if it seems like a great deal. The item may be a counterfeit or a model lacking in safety features such as fire-safe fabrics.
Parents are often unaware of product recalls. This is why we recommend buying items currently for sale. If you are concerned about an item you can check the following sites:
With items which require adjustment or assembly, it’s important you get instructions. This will help you to use the item to manufacturer’s instruction and contains safety warnings you may otherwise be unaware of. If the seller does not have instruction, check the manufacturer’s website as they usually have instruction manuals for their products.
Ask the seller if they are aware of any warranty on the item. You may want to check the conditions as you may need the original purchase receipt. Some warranties are invalidated when the item is used by more than one person, e.g. breast pumps.