Secondhand Baby Gift Shopping Tips

Here are some tips to use when shopping for a secondhand baby gift.  Most of these tips are also relevant for hand-me-down gifts.

  • Look for stains or other discolorations, such as faded areas or bleach spots.  Hold fabrics up to the light.  Stains that are faint are easier to see this way, especially on lighter items.
  • Check all zippers, buttons, snaps, and clasps to make sure they are fully in tact and function properly.
  • Check for recalls.  Visit our Recall Search page or Go to the Recalls and Product Safety News page of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission website, where you can check to see if the baby item has been recalled.
  • Learn about the return or exchange policy. Some sellers of secondhand goods allow time for trying out the purchase at home. Make sure you understand the time limits and whether returns are made for money back or store credit. If purchasing baby gifts online, make sure you know who will pay the shipping costs to return the item.
  • Get the user’s manual when applicable.  The user’s manual is integral in ensuring safe use of both new and used baby items.  It will include important information including assembly and use instructions, as well as warnings and limitations such as height, weight and developmental requirements (for example, “child must have head and neck control”).  If the manual is missing, check our Instructions/Manuals and Replacement Parts Index for links to view it online and print it to give as part of the gift.
  • Make sure that all parts are included by checking the user’s manual.  Missing parts may be available for order through the manufacturer, but this is not guaranteed.  For help locating replacement parts, go to our Instructions/Manuals and Replacement Parts Index.
  • Check for proper assembly.  If the baby gift you are purchasing is already assembled, use the manual to verify that the previous owner did it correctly.
  • Remember that “secondhand” doesn’t always mean “used.”  Just because a baby item had a previous owner doesn’t mean the item was ever actually used.  Many garage sales, thrift stores, and consignment stores have baby items that are still in their original packaging and clothes with the original sales tags still attached.