I have a fab guest post today for you, all about second hand items to avoid, so if you’re partial to hunting out bargains at the car boot, read this now!
Many of us are happy to give a home to a variety of pre-loved products, from hand-me-down kids’ coats to charity shop books and toys. If it can save you money, provide a donation to a worthy cause and keep a perfectly good item from cluttering up a landfill, what’s not to love?
For the most part, this mend-and-make-do attitude is all for the good. But there are a few things that parents really shouldn’t accept for cheap or even free.
1.) It’s commonly accepted that using a secondhand infant or booster car seat is a bad idea, in case it’s been through even a minor fender-bender but isn’t showing signs of wear and tear. But the same is true for cycle and riding helmets, which can contain miniscule cracks that damage their overall integrity. Perhaps nothing that costs so relatively little is worth investing in so much!
2.) If you’re lucky enough to score a big-ticket item such as a cot bed for free or at a reduced rate, it shouldn’t be a problem: check, of course, there aren’t any safety issues associated with the product model, by doing a search online. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) also has helpful information about buying secondhand, including a recommendation against used furniture and furnishings, which may not have the fire label that tells whether the item complies with U.K. fire safety regulations.
I’ve always scoffed at these labels, but here’s a sobering thought: according to the ROSPA, “in 2011/12, there were 979 house fires in which upholstered furniture was mainly responsible for the development of the fire and a further 928 blazes in which mattresses or beds were primarily responsible for fire development – leading to 71 deaths between them.”
Not to mention the gross factors – bedbugs, sickness and potty accidents, other people’s pets, cigarette smoke – that could compromise the cleanliness of the bed, or even the entire bedroom and the rest of your house. The bottom line is: don’t you want your child to have a safe, comfortable and healthy mattress?
3.) Anyone who drives knows the stomach-churning feeling of seeing or feeling a tyre go flat, not least because of the expense of buying and getting a new one fit. But don’t be tempted to go on the cheap by purchasing a used tyre. Like helmets and car seats, used tyres can hide previous damage and be unsafe even if the tread looks sturdy.
4.) It’s a big investment to buy computer hardware, such as smartphones, tablets and laptops, but experts warn it’s worth buying new. For one thing, the item could be storing the kind of data you don’t want to be associated with or it might have damage that’s not easy to detect. More likely it’s not legitimate, either because it’s been stolen or has been tampered with to replace the high-cost processors or other equipment you think you’re paying for, with lower-quality replacements.
5.) Likewise, computer software should be bought new from a reputable source, as most of it must be licensed and therefore can’t be used again. Don’t let someone pass you the latest Microsoft Office or antivirus protection, for instance, and expect to get anything from it.
This is a collaborative post
Now you know I love a second-hand bargain!
But I have to agree with you, especially on the safety aspect. When I managed a charity shop we had to comply with very strict guidelines and trading standards law and document ever check we’d made on certain items before selling them.
We’d never sell car seats or helmets though for the reasons you mention.
Most second-hand stores adhere to this, it’s the private sellers you need to be more careful of in my view.
Great post. x
Very good point Liz. x
Thanks for the comment, Liz. You make a good point about charity shops, and it’s worth bearing in mind that they can’t take those items (car seats, etc.)as donations, either. It’s a shame that such big, bulky things aren’t really recyclable, but better to be on the safe side! Cheers.
Very sensible advvice. What do you do with this stuff I always want to know, we have some old mattresses and car seats in the cupboard, I guess the tip will sort out what to do with them.
Boo Roo and Tigger Too
I can see why some would want to buy these items second hand to save money but some things are just worth their weight in gold. Car seats and helmets are new must have, the same with mattresses.
Yes, i totally agree. x
Mum of One
Eeep, I don’t like the thought of a second hand mattress at all. Good point about the computer software though. It could be tempting as so expensive but I guess you really have no idea what you might be installing.
Great post mostly it boils down to safety and you really can’t put a price on that. Our car seats haven’t been in an accident but Dh still would rather we didn’t pass them on to anyone.