There are some things you should never buy second hand for the safety of your family. Some bargains, really aren’t worth the risk!
CHOICE reminds parents that many products for babies and kids such as prams and strollers, cots, portable cots, bike helmets, baby dummies and toys are subject to mandatory standards.
In addition, there are voluntary standards available for many of these and other products, which are regularly updated. When buying a second-hand version of any of these items, you’re taking the risk that you’re buying an old model that wasn’t subject to standards when it was first sold, or was not made to pass the latest and best version of the relevant standard. Even if the item is in good condition, it may be less safe than a newer model.
Baby gates and barriers are meant to stop toddlers falling down stairs but unfortunately this older-type gate, which opens criss-cross like an accordion, can trap a child’s head or clothes and is too easy to climb. Overseas they’ve caused major injuries and deaths.
Never buy a used helmet. Not only should the bike itself be in good condition, but you also need a bike helmet that fits properly. Helmets can slide off if they aren’t properly fitted, and they’re really only made to withstand only one big crash – but you can’t tell by looking if a helmet’s already been in that one major accident.
As bike helmets should be replaced every five years anyway, a second-hand helmet is a poor deal all round.
Pre-loved and stuffed toys
Pre-loved toys have often seen a lot of action in the hands of their young owners. Wear and tear can lead to breaks and small loose parts, which in turn may present choking hazards to babies and toddlers.
Check that toys are in good condition and suitable for your child; for kids under the age of three, it’s particularly important that there are no loose or accessible small parts (remember the film canister rule?). The toys should have no sharp edges or points, and no accessible batteries or strong magnets.
Stuffed toys are often hard to clean and can carry bacteria and germs.
Life jackets (more formally known as personal flotation devices or PFDs) do save lives, no question. The most comfy designs were the ones that didn’t keep your head above water, which is a big problem if you’re knocked unconscious in a boating accident. If you buy second-hand, you could be buying these problems.
Second-hand mattresses can be full of dust mites. Dust mite droppings contain allergens that can set off asthma, eczema and allergic rhinitis attacks and they could trigger an allergic reaction. Old mattresses are often also comparatively soft and saggy, which can mean they pose an increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), due to the increased chance of a child’s face being covered if they roll face first onto the mattress.
Second hand cots
Consumer Protection warn parents before using a cot to carry out simple safety checks. Older cots that do not meet these standards should not be used!
If you buy or receive a second-hand cot, it may not meet current Australian safety standards, increasing the risk of injury to any baby placed in that cot
Before using a cot it is important to check for the below –
- Inspect for stability
- Ensure rails are intact
- No sharp edges
- Make sure Nuts and bolts are tight and that all mechanisms are in working order
- Check that the bars, panels, mattress base and drop sides are firmly attached.
- Then check the recommended measurements of the cot.
- Check there is no risk a child can NEVER become trapped.
Child car restraints
Baby seats should never be re-used if they’ve been in a car crash. Car seats have improved over time, so older models may not comply with current standards, and manufacturers generally advise against using a seat that’s more than 6-10 years old.
So unless you know its complete history and there isn’t any wear, fraying or cracking, give any second-hand baby seat a miss.
Do you buy second hand items regularly? Tell us in the comments below.
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