The Downside to Hand-Me-Downs

Your sister gave you the stroller and car seat that she used for her last child. He is almost four now and they aren’t having any more children so that works out. Your best friend gave you a crib, too? You are really striking it lucky here. Those are big-ticket items that you don’t have to buy now.

But, wait. Did you check for recalls?

Yes, even that product that was used daily for another child could be recalled for various reasons. And now it is in your home waiting for you to use it on your baby.

Now, this isn’t meant to be fear-mongering. But it is meant to make you take a second look at what you may be given from well-meaning friends and family members. Or, maybe what you bought from the garage sale last weekend. Or, maybe you knew that you were going to have a large family so you saved your baby stuff from your very first child. These are all good intentions, but they can be hazardous. I know that if I saved the items I used for my first-born, I would be using recalled items. Just about every single thing. The crib, the stroller, the car seat, and even some of his toys.

You see, I work in an industry that deals with baby gear and recalls all the time. I get an email once a recall is issued. Some are simple fixes, and are most commonly caused by user error. Take the Bumbo seat for example. If you have one without straps, it is considered recalled. Babies can arch their backs and push themselves out of the seat. If the seat is being used correctly, this isn’t such a problem as the babies only fall a few inches to the ground. However, many people use the seat incorrectly and place it on the table or other elevated surface causing the baby to fall a greater distance and sustain more injury. The fix? Contact the company. They will send you a set of straps for free.

Other recalls can be more serious. Reports of babies and children dying or getting seriously injured. Drop-side cribs are an example of this. If you are using a crib that was manufactured before 2011, I urge you to look at current federal safety standards and make sure that your crib meets the guidelines. Many strollers have been recalled due to entrapment and strangulation and fingertip lacerations/ amputation. No toy or piece of equipment is immune to potentially having a recall. Brand doesn’t matter either. Some of the most popular brands have recalls on multiple items. This is why it is important to stay current with guidelines and safety issues. The Consumer Product Safety Commission┬áis a wealth of information and resources regarding recalls and potential fixes.

As parents, our number one priority is the safety of our children. Let’s do our best to keep the gear they use safe. They will figure out plenty of other ways to get hurt, like riding down the stairs in a laundry basket. Hello six stitches in the forehead.