I get that question a lot and, in fact, Kim Fraser of Montreal’s Kim Fraser Show on CJAD 800, a popular radio show in Canada, asked me that the other day when I was a guest on her show.
To answer, I used to say toys. But now that toys are held to a higher safety standard–the U.S. government banned three types of phthalates, a compound in plastics that may affect a child’s development and reproductive system, and lowered the safety threshold for lead as part of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008, I hesitate to say toys because many toys sold at thrift shops and tag sales might be older and therefore not up to current safety standards. So here goes, my “it’s okay to buy used” short list:
–a changing table (look for barriers on all four sides)
–a glider (preferably a locking glider or one with fabric underneath so that the gliding mechanism isn’t exposed, a trap for little fingers)
–a backpack carrier (but don’t buy it if it doesn’t come with an owner’s manual/instructions)
–an infant swing
–clothing–but make sure there are no loose threads, buttons, snaps, scratchy seams. “Used” baby and toddler clothing should either be new or look like new to you.
–a baby bathtub–but steer clear of baby bath seats; not recommended.
–a stationary activity center
With any used baby product, check www.recalls.gov before shopping so you which brands have been recalled. Don’t buy them, no matter how good a deal you’re getting!