Image credit: Mark Turnauckas via Flickr (used under Creative Commons)
Update 5/15/14: This is from last year, and I’ve already seen more used car seats that I would like to see. Why, people?!??!?
One other disturbing trend I’ve found out about is that some kids’ consignment sales are claiming that the used car seats that they sell are “certified” to be safe. There is no such legitimate designation. PLEASE don’t think that those seats are a good choice. OK. So read on:
Now that the sun is out, the snow is mostly melted, temps are rising, it’s finally time for garage sale season. Garage sales are a great way to save money on items for you baby or child, for sure! There are some things you should keep in mind when out shopping to make sure that you’re saving money, not wasting it.
- Don’t buy car seats at garage sales- I don’t know what else to say. It’s pretty straightforward. This is the ONE absolutely, completely necessary baby item you’ll need, but also the most critical to your child’s life. Save money on everything else, but not this.
- Make sure the item you’re buying wasn’t recalled- When you are out and about, it’s impossible to keep in mind all of the strollers, high chairs, and other baby items that have been recalled over the years. There are a couple of ways to check on the status of an item if you have your smart phone with you. Recall.gov keeps track of every recall issued. They have a mobile app that you can download (though it looks like it’s only for Android phones), but they also have a mobile site that you can access easily on the go. Find more info on their website.
- Be realistic on your ability to properly clean a product- I’ve been a mom for almost 8 years, and some things are just really hard to clean. If it’s fabric, make sure that you can remove it completely, otherwise you’re just stuck spot-treating any dirt. And plastic seems like it would be easy to clean, but some things have too many corners to clean. If it’s totally grungy, just pass on it.
- Avoid drop-side cribs- Drop side cribs have (mostly) been illegal to sell or resell for a little while. If they have been repaired and the drop side is in a locked, fixed position, then they are fine (because the recall has been fixed). Again, check out the info above to make sure the recall has been repaired.
- Avoid stains- Is this obvious? Maybe. I’ve seen so many pins, been told so many things to try on stubborn stains, but the truth is, baby stains are hard to get out. There will be more onesies. Pass on stained clothes, no matter how cute.
- Make sure the cloth diapers will work- Before buying used cloth diapers, ask if they used diaper cream, what kind of detergent they used, and, perhaps most importantly, why they stopped using them. If their baby just grew out of them, that’s fine. But if they stopped using them because the diapers leaked, you might want to pass. You can try stripping the diapers, but that’s not guaranteed to work.
Happy spring and enjoy the garage sale hunt!