The baby items you should never buy used

Clothing is just fine. But when you start looking at car seats, cribs, and sleepers, there are real dangers.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Welcoming a new baby brings many joys—and many expenses! That’s why parents often turn to secondhand stores, consignment shops, and online exchanges devoted exclusively to used baby gear. But bargain hunters beware: You could be putting your baby’s life at risk. 

Consumer Reports has an important warning on the risks of buying secondhand.

“While it’s illegal to sell recalled products, including on the secondhand market, people might not be aware of the law, or may not realize the product they’re selling has been recalled,” said Emily Thomas, Consumer Reports. 

And it’s not uncommon to find recalled infant sleepers and other products. The Consumer Product Safety Commission recently sent a letter to Meta asking it to “strengthen … efforts to prevent the posting of banned and recalled consumer products for sale.”

Cribs with drop-down sides are another dangerous item to never buy. These have been linked to dozens of infant deaths and were banned in 2011. Even parents planning on using newer cribs still need to be careful.

“Sometimes a used crib may be passed on to you disassembled. You won’t know if there’s missing hardware unless you have the assembly instructions,” said Thomas. 

Used car seats are also problematic.

“Buying used car seats is not a good idea because there’s a lot you won’t reliably know about the seat. You won’t know about the seat’s crash history,” said Angela Lashbrook, Consumer Reports. 

And if the labels and instructions aren’t clear or available, you won’t be able to check for recalls or check the expiration date. You won’t even know if the seat is missing any parts.

If you’re still considering a used car seat that you know hasn’t been in a crash, you’ll want to check the seat’s expiration date, on the label and in the owner’s manual, as well as search for any open recalls on the model. You can find the model number on the seat’s manufacturer label.

Consumer Reports suggests that whenever you purchase a used item for your child, you check or the CPSC’s recall site first to make sure it hasn’t been recalled. We’ve put that link on our station’s website.