In fact, here’s a recent Mom.me piece, “Baby Gear 101: New or Used?” that I contributed to that talks about this very topic. For today, let’s focus on play yards, those modern versions of the play pen. Play yards cost $45 to $300 new, so buying a cheapie used one at a yard sale or a consignment shop can be tempting. Should you? I say no, not unless the play yard you’re buying used is manufactured after February 28, 2013.
As of February 28, 2013, testing for play yards got more aggressive. Play yards sold on or after that date, for example, must meet new safety standards. They must have:
- Side rails that resist forming a sharp V when folded to prevent strangulation.
- Stronger corner brackets to prevent sharp-edged cracks and side rail collapse.
- Sturdier mattress attachments to the play yard floor to prevent entrapments and injuries.
Play yards sold before February 28, 2013 don’t have to meet these new, more rigorous mandatory safety standards. If you’re buying a used play yard today, there’s a chance it was manufactured before February 28, 2013. You can check by inspecting the play yard or the box. Play yards must have tracking labels that contain certain basic information, including the name of the manufacturer, the location and date of production of the product.
Bottom-line: With play yards, play it safe. To ensure that you’re buying the latest, most up-to-date and safest play yard, buy this product new unless you’re sure it was manufactured after 2/28/2013.
To spend less on this product, buy a no-frills model. Extras like a removable, vibrating rocking seat up the price. On the other hand, if you want a deluxe model, list it on your baby registry and let others buy it for you.