When Borrowing Baby Gear Is a Bad IdeaSure, getting things secondhand saves money -- and it’s good for the environment too -- but sometimes it’s just not safe. Get the scoop.
You might want to stay away from borrowing an old crib. For one thing, there was a change in federal safety standards made in June of last year. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) banned the sale or manufacture of drop-side rail cribs. So you shouldn't borrow or buy secondhand cribs of these types at all. The CPSC also made more requirements for safer hardware and stronger crib slats and mattress support, plus more safety testing.
More from The Bump: Top 10 cribs
Other hazards: The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) warns that peeling paint and any rough spots or splinters could be dangerous for baby, and the chance of those hazards increases with an older crib's wear and tear. Also, if you purchase a used crib, some parts might be missing that can't be replaced correctly with stuff you'd find at the hardware store. The AAP recommends using the original parts from the manufacturer. So with cribs, going used poses so many risks to baby's safety that it's just not worth it. Plus, think about it this way: Refurbishing an old crib to meet safety standards may end up costing you the same amount as buying a brand-new crib would.
Did you know that car seats have expiration dates? Most car seats expire within six years, but it depends on the manufacturer. So look closely at your model's manual. (Have a used seat with no manual? Definitely a bad idea). A used car seat may be unable to perform up to its original crash-safety standards. And because safety standards are always changing, it's important to get a car seat that meets all the standards.
More from The Bump: Quiz: which stroller is right for you?
The AAP also cautions parents against using a car seat that has been in a crash, has been recalled, has cracks in its frame or has missing parts. You should know the history of the car seat you're using -- if it's been in any accidents and how old it is -- and with used models, that's probably not possible. It's better to start with a new car seat that will keep baby snug and safe.
Those fancy breast pumps can get pricey, and you might not think it's worth it if you're only expecting to breastfeed for a few months. Even though it may be costly to buy a new one, you shouldn't borrow or purchase a previously owned breast pump, because of bacteria and certain viruses that could be transferred into the breast milk. According to Medela, you can safely use a rental pump if you're looking to save some cash. These ones are okay because they're designed to prevent cross-contamination -- you'll need to provide all the parts that actually connect with your boob and store your breast milk.
Most pumps made for purchase should not be shared or resold, because they have parts that can't be cleaned or replaced. You won't be able to fully sterilize a used breast pump, so your breast milk could be contaminated with bacteria. Plus, the motors on a breast pump may not work as well after time, which can make pumping ineffective.
Strollers don't have expiration dates, but you want to exercise a lot of caution when borrowing or purchasing a used stroller. First, check to see if it's been recalled (you can look for recalls at the CPSC website) and see if it still meets safety standards set by the CPSC. Strollers get a lot of wear and tear, so you'll want to be especially careful with inspecting it before you decide to use it. Make sure its wheels are working properly, the seat is safe and supportive, and that none of the parts are loose.
It's sweet when a family member offers to pass down a favorite stuffed animal or vintage toy to your child, but you need to be smart about what you give to baby and what you trash. Ali Wing, CEO and founder of giggle, says there's a risk of passing along bed bugs and bacteria through used stuffed animals and other fabric items. So stay away from buying a used stuffed animal. But if you want to give baby your favorite teddy bear from childhood that you know is A-OK, that's totally fine. Make sure you wash it thoroughly and inspect it for any choking hazards -- like it doesn't have eyes that could fall off or accessories that could be detached. As for vintage toys (like old building blocks or rattles), Wing says there are choking hazards and the potential that the toy could contain lead. She suggests saving those for decoration only.
parenting, education, activities and more
Our Research Institute scouted out the New York City Toy Fair and spotted a few standouts we predict will be topping wish lists shortly.
When we scoped out the New York City Toy Fair, we spotted everything from human-like robots to kid-friendly DIY projects.
Watch the video of Kristen Bell going head to head with paparazzi - it will make you angry
Every year, toy makers from around the world gather to show their latest creations at the Toy Fair in New York City. The high-tech models, gadgets and trinkets on display put those basic Legos we played with at kids to shame. Here are 10 new toys that we'd happily buy or children. Or, really, ourselves.
Find yourself wandering the aisles, suddenly needing an owl-shaped candle while drinking a $5 latte? You're not alone, moms...
Here's some parenting advice for whatever stage of separation or divorce you're in.
Whether you pop it in the mail or post it on social media, a creative photo is a surefire way to grab everyone’s attention and proudly say, “I’m pregnant!” Prepare for a lot of likes.
We could try to offer you carefully researched and crafted words of Dad-centric inspiration, intended to show you the path to being a better man and, in turn, a better father. But Tom Limbert took up the task for us in his new book 'Dad's Playbook: Wisdom for Fathers from the Greatest Coaches of All Time,' so we left it to him. Limbert -- a parent coach and the founder of the Studio Grow children's play space in Berkeley, California -- has collected pearls of wisdom from an elite crew of coaches who have not only experienced greatness themselves, but also found ways to consistently instill it in their teams. "It's monkey-see, monkey-do," Limbert told us, after we asked him to gather the best quotes on achieving one's goals. "If you want your child to follow, you have to lead." Click on to read the often simple-seeming words that have inspired countless others to follow through on the field, but that can also easily be translated to the school, work, fitness, and, of course, parenting arenas.
What parents need to know