Kid Toys For A Bargain?
The same is true for toddler toys and sports equipment for older kids.
As prices rise, garage sales and thrift stores become more and more attractive.
Are Garage Sales and Thrift Stores a Bargain? At first blush, one would think so.
Prices are certainly cheaper, aren't they? But consider this: Short of throwing out absolute junk, no one reviews the quality of things sold in a garage or yard sale.
At thrift stores, only those items that are broken or otherwise severely damaged will be sent to the garbage heap.
A few thrift stores are slowly trying to set some standards for what will be offered for sale, removing some toxics and any dangerous goods (e.
, weapons, ammunition, powered tools and equipment.
Even so, there isn't always someone trained to check for broken straps on highchairs and strollers, damaged slats in a crib, or torn netting in a playpen.
So, that shifts total responsibility to the parent or caregiver.
If you're going to buy safely for a reduced price, then it's imperative that you inspect items carefully.
What To Look For Before You Buy For details on standards for various pieces of baby and toddler equipment, or bicycles and helmets, please check other articles on our blog and the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC).
Meanwhile, here are a few points to remember: 1.
Straps on child seats, baby carriers, strollers and highchairs should be sound and not torn or worn.
Ask to have a crib or playpen actually assembled before buying it.
Otherwise, it is too easy to have a broken crib slat, torn side mesh on a playpen, or parts that don't work right or at all.
You can't afford to compromise on these issues.
Don't accept bedding and mattresses unless they have been thoroughly washed and fumigated (in the case of mattresses).
Ask for a certificate or letter documenting this latter process (Obviously, a homeowner won't be able to provide a sanitized mattress so you may want to consider purchasing a mattress from a retailer).
Of course, look for any broken, worn or damaged parts on everything.
Look for corroded metal parts that may not work properly or fail altogether.
Look for the Junior Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) seal on all products, especially cribs, strollers, car seats, playpens and related goods.
If the previous owner has been kind enough to save the owner's manuals, that is a great source of parts lists, setup instructions and safety guidance.
This will save hours of time if you need to replace a part.
If you're buying toys, be sure they are undamaged and age-appropriate.
Clothes you are considering for small children, toddlers and babies must meet U.
standards for flammability (a label should tell you that).
Avoid old chemistry sets and the like for older kids.
Chemicals deteriorate over time and could produce unexpected and unwanted results.
Metal objects (especially toys and jewelry) made in China or other underdeveloped countries should be checked for lead or avoided altogether.
Lead affects major organs and intelligence/developmental issues in children six years of age and under.
Inspect toys, furniture (especially antique pieced) and any other painted items for lead-based paint.
Paints manufactured before 1978 often contain lead-based paints.
If a child ingests any lead dust or scrapings, they can develop severe health problems.
So, while thrift stores and yard sales look like a great deal, they may not always be.
Check for lead-based paints and metal objects, flame-retardant clothes, broken or damaged pieces, and baby equipment marked with the JPMA seal.