10 Baby Hand-Me-Downs to Avoid

Pregnant woman prepares a nursery by folding baby clothes

As you’re preparing for the arrival of your baby, you may have noticed that children are expensive. You need baby clothes, diapers, toys, a stroller, and much, much more. It all starts to add up fairly quickly. According to a study from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it costs almost $13,000 each year for a middle-income family to have a child. Therefore, you may be looking for some ways to cut costs. You’re probably weighing the pros and cons of hand-me-downs vs. buying new, and your friends and family members may even be reaching out to help you. While many hand-me-down items (like bedding and certain clothing and toy types) are complete lifesavers for young families. There are some baby hand-me-downs to avoid. Additionally, each year there are usually baby items that are recalled, so you’ll want to pay attention to that too.

1. Car Seats

Car seats can be fairly expensive. When someone offers you one for free, you may be jumping at the opportunity. But, unless you 100% know the exact history of the car seat, you should probably pass on it. If the seat has been in a crash at some point, there are minimum safety standards it should meet before you can reuse it. The crash protection could be compromised. If you get into an accident yourself, your child’s life could be on the line. You don’t want to jeopardize your child’s safety. Depending on where you live, you may be in the car a lot with your baby, especially if you have older children that you take to school, friends’ houses, sporting events, and other activities. Also, car seats do come with an expiration date. They typically last around six years after being manufactured.

2. Cribs

Certain cribs have a lot of pieces to them. To keep your little one safe, you need your crib to be fully intact. If it’s an old drop-side rail crib from June of 2011 or earlier, the Consumer Product Safety Commission may have recalled it. In addition, it may be best to get a new crib mattress for sanitary reasons. An old mattress could have mold and bacteria from the prior user’s pee, poop, or spit-up.

3. High Chairs and Strollers

Old high chairs and strollers may not meet the current standards. A high chair needs to have a fixed crotch post, a proper safety restraint system, and wheels that fully lock in place. Meanwhile, a stroller’s wheels and rolling mechanism could come out of alignment or get worn down, and you need to have a secure seat belt. So, strollers and high chairs are two more hand-me-downs to avoid under most circumstances.

4. Pacifiers and Bottle Nipples

Pacifiers aren’t that expensive. If someone hands you a box of used pacifiers that are discolored and worn down, you can probably pass on that baby hand-me-down. There could be germs and bacteria hidden on pacifiers after several uses. It’s the same situation when you’re looking at old bottle nipples. If they have even a tiny tear, there could be germs and other nasty microbes trapped in there.

5. Stuffed Animals

A number of small stuffed animal toys are not machine washable. Meanwhile, some children will chew on them, take them everywhere they go, and drag the toy right through the dirt. Who knows where the toy has been? It’s probably best to pass on stuffed animal hand-me-downs.

6. Bath Toys

These toys can be a lot of fun for children, but they can also trap in water, moisture, mildew, and mold. Even when the toy appears clean, you don’t know what’s trapped inside of it. You’ll probably want to avoid any used toys that collect moisture. Plus, these types of toys usually aren’t that expensive.

7. Clothing that has Drawstrings

A lot of clothes and accessories are perfectly fine for reusing. Although, you’ll want to avoid any outerwear that has drawstrings on it. The Consumer Product Safety Commission says that this type of clothing is a strangulation hazard for children. You may have noticed that modern kids clothing no longer has drawstrings on it. This is why. On the other hand, you may be able to just snip the drawstrings off of a jacket and use it.

8. Ugly and Stained Clothes

There’s no harm in ugly clothing. But if you have a shirt that you hate, how likely is it that you’ll actually put it on your child? It’s most likely just going to take up precious drawer space, so ugly clothes are another hand-me-down to turn down. And baby stains can be tough to get out. If there’s any chance that the stain would come out, the other mom probably would have already gotten it out.

9. Compression Garments

While compression garments can help moms who are pregnant or are recovering from childbirth, they should be measured by a doctor to achieve their full effectiveness. You need to have just the right fit for them to work right and provide the support you need.

10. Breast Pumps

A breast pump is another hand-me-down to say no to. Some of the top-model breast pumps can be on the expensive side. But, if it’s an open system breast pump, you’ll definitely want to get your hands on a new one. In an open system, milk comes in contact with all of the various parts of the pump. Thus, moisture, bacteria, and mold can get trapped in it. If you need help getting a free breast pump with your insurance, reach out to our team at The Breastfeeding Shop. With our years of experience, we can make this process much easier for you. You can get a free breast pump without worrying about it having germs and viruses that can harm your child.

How to Say No Thank You to Hand-Me-Downs

You may be wondering how to decline hand me downs. Sure, this can be an awkward situation, but you can’t just accept every offer for hand-me-downs and used products. One of the best things you can do is just be honest. Even if your baby is still on the way, your house may already be getting cluttered with baby supplies. The hand-me-down giver has good intentions in mind. So, show that your gracious, but politely decline the offer for baby hand-me-downs to avoid.

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