The true cost of buying second-hand

By Pregnancy Babies & Children's Expo

Thinking secondhand? Maybe think a second time.

We all know that having a baby can put a strain on the finances, especially with so many items to buy: cots, change tables, prams, car seats … just to name a few. It can be tempting to pick up a secondhand bargain for some items, but before you do it’s important to consider what you’re actually buying.

Why buy new?

Most new products have to meet stringent safety standards, which are continually updated to ensure they are as safe for your baby as possible. A product which was thought to be safe two or three years ago may now be considered a danger. New products that comply with these standards are clearly labeled, giving you peace of mind when you make your purchase.

If there is a fault, you know manufacturers have to fix it or refund your money. Under Australian Consumer law, product safety is regulated and your rights as a consumer are protected. Buying a product secondhand does not give you this same protection.

It can also be daunting when you use some nursery products for the first time and the great thing about new products is that they come with a full list of instructions on how to use them correctly and safely. Anyone who’s tried to assemble a cot or a pram knows they can be quite difficult to set up, and also to adjust or maintain. Always read the instructions and follow them closely to make sure your baby is safe and that the product is being used as intended. With a new product, you don’t have to worry about its history or whether it’s worn, torn or damaged. You also know it doesn’t have any faulty repairs, and safety is more important than saving a few dollars.

Products worth buying new every time

Car seats, booster seats and child restraints are just like car designs in that they improve their safety requirements over the years. All new car restraints must, by law, meet current Australian Safety Standards, generally agreed by experts to be the best in the world. With a secondhand product you’ll be unaware of its history and if it’s been in an accident, it might no longer be safe. It only takes a small collision to damage or stress a harness or seat shell, and the damage is usually not obvious. With a new product, you know the plastics and materials have not degraded. Buying a new restraint means you can be totally sure it’s safe.

Don’t forget to ensure your seat is fitted correctly, new car restraints have full fitting instructions that you must follow to the letter, these are often missing from secondhand products.

Product developments ensure prams, strollers and joggers meet the ever changing needs of consumers who often use prams and accessories to improve their lifestyle. There should be two separate locking devices to prevent it from collapsing accidentally and new prams are designed with high-quality mechanisms to ensure your child’s fingers, arm, legs, head and body won’t be trapped.

Locks on secondhand products might not work properly. It is also important that the wheel bearings are not worn, as this can cause “wheel-wobble” and even make brakes ineffective. While bearings can be replaced, the cost can make the secondhand purchase not such a bargain after all.

Cots are one of the only mainstream products that are designed to be used without adult supervision and your baby will spend a lot of unsupervised time in their cot. For this reason, it’s vital that the cot is safe for them. Design standards for cots have dramatically improved in recent years. Standards are constantly reviewed to ensure the latest designs minimise any risks. Older style cots designs are considered unsafe and do not meet safety standards unfortunately.

Take the time to consider your options, research all the new products in the marketplace and perhaps most importantly, buy what you can afford so you can enjoy this time with the peace of mind that new products can provide.
You can also visit our Expos to chat with the safety experts from Kidsafe and with the hundreds of Exhibitors who can help guide you.

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Note: The views and advice expressed on this blog post are those of the author and are not representative of the Pregnancy Babies & Children's Expo.

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