Keep Your Baby Safe in the First Two Months – Part 3: Second-Hand Baby Products Safety

September is Baby Safety Month, an awareness event sponsored by the Juvenile Products Manufacturing Association (JPMA), the industry organization for quality and safety in baby and children’s products. Baby and children’s products with the JPMA Certification Seal means that they have been sample tested at an independent laboratory and meet the highest standards for quality, safety, performance, and functionality. Baby Safety Month is a time when JPMA and supporting organizations work extra hard to educate families and caregivers on selecting safe products for their children. 

When most people hear “baby safety,” they think of childproofing a house with outlet covers and cabinet latches. But baby safety encompasses all the ways in which parents and caregivers must work to keep a baby safe, including safe sleeping, feeding, car seat safety, and baby gear/products safety. In this three-part post, we want will introduce you to the safety priorities for your baby’s first two months of life, provide tips, and share resources to learn more. Today, we’re talking about safety of second-hand baby gear and products.  

Second-Hand Baby Gear Safety Tips

Buying second-hand gear for your new baby is a smart move. Not only does it save money (new baby gear is expensive!), but it helps extend the life of items that might otherwise be headed to landfills. And of course, some second-hand items hold special sentimental value, like family heirlooms that are passed down. When you buying and receive second-hand baby items, it’s critical to take additional steps to ensure their safety, before and during use. 

General second-hand tips:

  • Check for recalls before using 
  • Check to see that the item is structurally intact — if there are loose or missing pieces, do not use it. Check also for loose strings, holes and tears. 
  • When possible, choose items with the manufacturer’s information (sticker, label, plaque) still intact on the item and/or the instruction manual, which will help you search for recalls, order any missing parts, and check to see if it’s assembled correctly
  • Check to see that the item meets current safety standards (this is especially important for older and heirloom items). Many older cribs and bassinets do not meet these standards. 
  • Clean and/or disinfect all items before using with your baby
  • Continue to monitor the item’s safety while using with your baby

Items that are generally always safe to purchase/use second hand:

  • Baby/child clothes 
  • Books
  • Basic/simple toys that are “like new” and can be easily cleaned

Items that should not be purchased/used second hand:

  • Car seats – there are too many safety concerns (including not being able to verify if it’s been in a crash) with second-hand car seats, especially considering how vital this equipment is for your baby’s safety in the car
  • Cribs, including crib mattresses – many older cribs do not meet current safety standards. Newer second-hand cribs are often missing parts due to being disassembled and reassembled several times. Used crib mattresses can present health risks from issues like including mold and smoke contamination, and loss of firmness/structure. 
  • Breast pump accessories – breast pump tubing can harbor bacteria and mold that is impossible to disinfect and sanitize

According to the JMPA, “new products meeting current safety standards are the safest option.” That said, second-hand products can be used more safely, when following the guidelines above. For more information about using second-hand baby products and other safety tips, check out the JPMA site. 


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