Hand me downs or second hand?

This first appeared on The Standard on 04 December 2016

Babies are expensive. Almost everything they use is highly commercialized and designed to make parents spend more money with the ‘latest’ design. Unfortunately (or fortunately in this case) children outgrow their things so fast that the money spent on it does not equate with the time spent using it. As a parent you want to spend money on your child and give them the best of everything but that is not always economical. The good news is that there is a way out…hand me downs or second hand.  You can get almost every baby essential at a second hand market or some family members or friends might be willing to hand down things they used for their children. But not everything is reusable for babies. Here are some tips to keep in mind while acquiring baby second hand items: follow.

  • Sterilize, sterilize, sterilize! – Clothes and toys are the most common things your child will need but will outgrow fast. They also get in touch with your child’s sensitive body. Chemicals are usually applied on second hand clothes to preserve the fabric as it is.
  • Use your eyes – inspect the item thoroughly for damages or repaired  parts. Do not rush into buying. If the price seems too good to be true then it might be so. If buying an item online, ask, if possible, for a video of the item on top of the picture. This gives you more details before committing.
  • Check for expiry dates – did you know that car seats have expiry dates? Most materials used to make baby  products have expirations dates and it is advisable to confirm before purchase keeping in mind intended duration of use.
  • Check for instruction manuals –  things like bouncy seats, high chairs and strollers will need the instruction manuals to disassemble or fold  when you are on the go.
  • Get the history – Ask for the details.  When was it bought? For how long was it used?  A crib that has gone under maintenance or a car seat that was in an accident will not be a good thing to invest on. The harness might be damaged or irreplaceable exposing your child to danger.

Sometimes, used baby items might have a price tag that is close to the new one. Research well before doing any purchases. Buying second hand does not mean you are getting discarded items; it means you are getting a pre-loved baby item that another child outgrew.

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