KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — We see them a lot this time of year, we’re talking about yard sales and moving sales in your neighborhood. While these sales serve as a great chance to get some expensive items for less, experts say there are some children’s items you may want to avoid skimping on.
The Injury Prevention Coordinator at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital said she knows new and expecting families might be trying to save some money when shopping for certain items, but warns there are some risks that come with secondhand use.
Shenaiah Thomas started by talking about used car seats. She said the first thing people will want to look for when looking at a used car seat is the manufacturing label. The label will give you the expiration date for the seat or a manufacturing date, from that manufacturing date the seat is good for six years.
Thomas also explained another risk when buying secondhand is that buyers do not know the history of the car seat or item being purchased. She discussed the impacts just one car crash can have on a car seat or stroller being stored in a trunk.
“You could be buying a car seat that was potentially in a wreck and wrecks that occur at 35 mph has significant damage to car seats and strollers,” said Thomas. “Most families tow that stroller in their trunk and so if that car was involved in a car accident then that stroller is also damaged.”
Thomas said while a car seat may look good visually, there is no way to test the safety system inside of it.
She said it is best to buy a new car seat, adding all car seats on the market go through the same federally regulated test. She said there are safe, affordable options. She said what people are paying for are the added bells and whistles.
“You’re not paying for the safety; you’re just paying for the additional features that offer convenience,” said Thomas.
Other items Thomas warned about buying secondhand include high chairs, cribs and swings. She says for any infant or children’s items you may not know the recall history.
“A lot of our cribs, a lot of our highchairs, things like that, they do come with recalls,” she began. “When you’re buying those products secondhand you are not provided the recall information and you can’t re-register for recalls either once it’s already been purchased and registered.”
She also said safety standards may have changed if a used item being sold is too old, describing this being the case with many cribs and swings.
“There’s been a lot of recent safety adjustments made, for example, in cribs the bars are now closer together versus being further apart,” said Thomas. “In swings, they have certain inclining and also safety mechanisms that keep the child in the swing safely that newer models have, but the older models do not.”
Thomas says it’s important shoppers understand the risk they are assuming if they take this route.