Buying on a baby budget

10 items you should be buying second hand

Baby boutiques and their extensive product ranges can be extremely attractive for any new mom – but the reality is that nursery furniture and baby clothing gets outgrown very quickly. Used goods and home businesses can provide an attractive and cost effective alternative, but is it safe to buy secondhand items for your baby?

“Buying new items for your baby is often like shopping for a wedding – it’s exciting, but ultimately not very practical or eco-friendly in the long run. Buying secondhand can knock 50% off the retail price, and in most cases, the items found on online classifieds are in pristine condition,” says Claire Cobbledick, Head of Marketing, Gumtree South Africa. The site has over 10 000 items aimed at children of all ages. “Most parents know that their kids’ clothing and furniture will barely be used before they’ve outgrown it, which means that there is a great market of items that’s taking up space in someone else’s house and ready for a second life.”

But there is a definite list of do’s and don’ts parents should take into consideration when buying secondhand items. “Buying gently used clothing is fine, but avoid anything with zips, hoods, or drawstrings that could lose their elasticity quickly or start to unravel. Anything that gets really grubby – like diaper bags – should rather be purchased new,” says Cobbledick. “But baby shoes are usually hardly worn before they are discarded, which makes it a great secondhand buy. When buying furniture secondhand, be sure to check the item for flaking paint or splinters that could cause injury.”

There are ten items that are extremely popular on the site that can be bought secondhand at bargain prices if you have a baby budget:

·         Cribs and cots

“Most cribs and cots made over the last five years are perfectly safe to be purchased, but do your research to ensure that the product you are considering hasn’t been recalled by quality controllers,” Cobbledick advises. “Strong mattress support is important, so replace this if necessary. Also consider portable cots – they are not only less expensive, but take up less space and offer a great alternate.”

·         Strollers and joggers

“A stroller can be the most expensive item a parent invests in which makes it a great secondhand buy,” says Cobbledick. “Avoid any broken, loose or missing parts when looking at a used strollers. It’s perfectly fine to ask the owner if you can take it for a spin to make sure its sturdy and handles well. We also often have customers selling off demo models, that are almost half the retail price and unused.”

·         Bathtubs

Baby bathtubs are a good purchase, providing the owner has stored them correctly. “If the bathtub is clean and doesn’t smell of mildew or harsh chemicals, it’s fine. Bath seats, or inflatable tubs are not advisable secondhand purchases – if damaged, they could be dangerous.”

·         High chairscompactums and changing tables

“Classifieds are a great way of sourcing furniture because a lot of carpenters use the site to sell their handmade furniture – there are really innovative creations up for grabs, and many of the sellers are willing to customise the color and design according to your preferences,” says Cobbledick. “Just make sure that there are safeguards to ensure that your baby doesn’t fall out of the seat. High chairs with removable trays or arms that lift above the head can also be hazardous.”

·         Baby monitors and electronics

“There are tons of unwanted baby monitors and electronics that can be picked up online. Replace the batteries and it’s good to go.”

·         Baby shower goodies

You would be surprised at how many baby shower items can be bought online. “Classifieds can be a great way of sourcing items for a baby shower or party,” says Cobbledick. “You can search for different suppliers of birth announcement cakes, party favours and even entertainment, and source dozens of quotes in your neighbourhood on a single site. Most of the suppliers offer online photo portfolios or have their own sites that can be visited to get a clearer picture of what they provide.”

For more information, visit the Baby and Kids Section on Gumtree.co.za

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