Purchasing second-hand children's products
Whether you are buying goods from an ad in the newspaper or online, a leaving-the-island sale or from a neighbour, remember: caveat emptor! Buyer beware!
Buying second-hand children’s products is an affordable way to equip a nursery. But it can also be dangerous as some items can be out of date and no longer safe.
Do your research and choose carefully as safety is the most important issue to consider.
There are children’s products, especially cribs and bassinets that have caused deaths and have been the subject of numerous recalls. Check our website recall list before you purchase any children’s product second hand.
Before purchasing used children’s products consider the following:
- Check to ensure that the wheels are still rolling smoothly;
- Check to see if the frame is still sturdy;
- Test the stroller’s brakes;
- Look closely for any damage like sharp edges or uncovered springs;
- Verify that the stroller hasn’t been recalled by the manufacturer;
- Check the age. Strollers that are 10 years and older are not considered safe for use. The plastics used to make the stroller begin to deteriorate at this age and the model may not comply with the current safety standards or regulations such as lead testing.
Used cribs can host a variety of hidden hazards that most consumers may not detect. Thus, unless the crib can be fully assembled and operates correctly, contains all the original hardware and the instructions are included, do not buy it.
If you decide to buy a used crib, follow the checklist below.
Make sure the crib is not the subject of a recall;
Slats should be spaced no more than 2 3/8 inches apart;
Make sure there are no missing or loose slats;
Do not buy a crib with drop side (millions of cribs with drop sides have been recalled);
Make sure the crib has a properly-sized mattress. The mattress is too small if you can fit more than two fingers between the edge of the mattress and the side of the crib. An infant can get his head or body wedged in the extra space and suffocate;
Corner posts are no more than 1/16 inch high. They can be catch points for objects or clothing worn by a child and cause strangulation.
No missing, broken or loose hardware;
No decorative cutouts in the headboard or footboard. Cutouts can entrap a child’s head; and
No unsecured mattress support hangers that can be easily dislodged. Children can be entrapped and suffocate.
Check that there are no broken or wobbly bars;
All bolts and screws should be firmly in place and not protruding;
The corner posts should not stick up more than 5mm.
Make sure that the mattress fits the crib snugly and that there are no gaps which would allow a child to become trapped beneath it;
- Check that there are no broken or wobbly bars;
- All bolts and screws should be firmly in place and not protruding;
- The corner posts should not stick up more than 5mm.
- A wide base to stop the chair tipping;
- A five-point safety harness (shoulder straps as well as waist straps and a crotch strap) to stop the child climbing out;
- No sharp edges, or open tubes or gaps where fingers could get caught;
- The tray can be secured so the child can't remove it;
- There should be no splits in the chair's seat or back - a child could pick out or choke on pieces of foam padding;
- If the chair has wheels there should be brakes on at least the rear wheels.
- Used baby bathtubs are fine as long as the lining isn’t full of mould or mildew. However, if the tub has an odour of either of these, stay clear of it.
- Do not use second hand bath seats, bath rings, and inflatable tubs since they have been responsible for many deaths among babies.
- In addition to mould and mildew, look for scratches or other signs of wear and tear in the plastic. Old plastics are more apt to leak chemicals and the scratches can also harbour bacteria.
The Consumer Protection Act 1999 and the Sale of Goods Act 1978 (as amended 2002); have limited application to buying goods privately. If you do buy from a seller who was dishonest about the reason for selling the product, you may be entitled to a refund; however compensation will have to be decided by Magistrates’ Court.
- Inspect the Goods You Are Buying. Inquire as to the age and quality of the product and whether it is still covered by warranty. If the product is electrical, plug it in to see if it works. For mechanical or technical products, take someone with you who knows about the item, or make the sale conditional. In the case of a car, it is a good idea to ask for a day to have it checked by a mechanic so as to decide if it will cost more to have it licensed than it is worth;
- Sales are final once you exchange money and receive the item;
- Ask for a receipt which shows what you have bought with the date, name, address and telephone number of the seller, and any conditions of sale;
- If you pay a deposit, get a receipt and make note of the agreement you have with the seller regarding remainder of payment, collection of product and time frame. Make sure both parties sign the agreement.