Safety Aspects to Consider When Buying Second-Hand Baby and Children’s Goods

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Safety Tips for Buying Second-Hand Baby and Children’s Goods 

When it comes to buying clothes, furniture and toys for babies and kids, the cost can definitely sky rocket.

For our family, living on one income has meant being very thrifty when it comes to buying for Elliott. There have been things that I’ve only bought brand new, things that I’ve been happy to  purchasing second hand and things that I bought second hand when I really should have bought them new (i.e. the car capsule that fit into the pram).

Getting a second hand item online or at a garage sale may be a bargain and sometimes it can be fun rescuing something that would have otherwise gone to the dump, but in the end, safety is much more important than money saved.
I’ve compiled some information on what to look out for when it comes to purchasing some of the big ticket baby and children’s items second hand either online or at a garage sale.  

Cot & Mattress

One of the first big ticket items we purchased was Elliott’s cot which we bought brand new.

Buying second-hand cot

I was very much aware that cots had to comply with mandatory standards which is one reason I felt uneasy about accepting a cot that was a family heirloom, one that my husband slept in as a baby 30 years ago. A cot of that age was most definitely not going to comply because mandatory standards started much later in 1998. states that cots that don’t meet standards can have hazards such as having gaps between bars that are too wide and can trap a child’s head or limb. They can pose a strangulation risk, such as through clothing catching on decorative knobs. Some old cots may even be coated in dangerous lead paint.

And whether or not you decide to buy a new or used cot, you should always buy a new mattress. Old mattresses could subject your little one to dust mites and droppings (yuk!) and cause asthma attacks or allergic reactions. Old mattresses also tend to have sagged and could increase the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).

You can find some great Cots & Mattresses for sale at Gumtree.
You can also find for more information on cot & mattress reviews, tests & standards here.

Car Seats & Restraints

When I come to think of this, we really should have had our baby capsule checked before we used it, a bit of a parenting fail on my behalf. A friend of mine was kind enough to gift us a second-hand pram which came with a baby car capsule component.  We didn’t use it for overly long and upgraded to a brand new Safe n’ Sound Car set.

Buying second hand baby car seat
As with cots, a car seat and child restraints should always be checked to see if they comply with mandatory standards.  The Choice website states that unless you know the whole history of a child seat, there isn’t any wear and tear, fraying or cracking, give a second hand baby seat a miss. All child restraints sold in Australia must meet stringent Australian Standard requirements, considered among the toughest in the world.

You can find some great Car Seats for sale at Gumtree.
You can also find more information on car restraint reviews, tests & standards
here .


I have bought some toys for Elliott second hand. I remember this toy I got for $50 online which I thought was a bargain, it was like brand new and I knew that a brand new one went for much more.

Buying toys second hand

When I went to pick up the play table, I made sure I did a few things before handing over the cash, it was common sense really:
  • I checked there were no loose parts or breaks
  • I checked that the batteries were properly secured by screws and couldn’t easily be taken out
  • I checked that there were no sharp edges or breaks

You can get heaps of great second-hand toys and save lots of money too and most of the time your child won’t even know that it’s not new. Just make sure you carry out these simple checks first.

You can find some great toys for sale on Gumtree.

Portable Cots

Mandatory Safety Requirements for Porta Cots took place in 2009 and so if you’re considering buying a cot older than this, you may want to reconsider.  Choicetesters run safety tests on the following and it’s not a bad idea that you do the same if you’re considering buying one second hand (or new for that matter):

  •          The folding mechanism is secure
  •          There are no gaps that could trap a child’s head
  •          The mattress is safe
  •          The cot has adequate warnings about safe use

You can find some great deals on Portable Cots for sale at Gumtree.
You can also find more information on porta cot reviews, tests & standards here.

High Chairs

Buying a second hand high chair

Our high chair was one of the things we purchased second-hand online and we made sure we followed these guidelines which Choicerecommends, to avoid injury: 

  • to be sturdy with a stable base
  • have no exposed gaps or traps
  • ideally have a five-point harness that goes over the baby’s shoulders, around their waist and between their legs
  • be set up at least 500mm from areas such as windows, doorways, stoves, appliance cords and curtain/blind cords as well as surfaces that the child could push against, tipping the chair over.

You can find some great deals on high chairs for sale at Gumtree.
You can also find more information on high chair reviews, tests & standards here.

Prams & Strollers

I’d have to say that my pram was one of my regrets on my big ticket list of items and another thing I didn’t really check all that well in terms of complying with the standard. Oops.

This truck of a pram put me through quite a lot of frustration when it wouldn’t collapse in the shopping centre car park while another car was waiting and I had a crying baby in the back of the car. I remember giving the driver a very stern look hoping he’d drive away to find another car park, couldn’t he see what was happening? I ended up not being able to collapse it properly and somehow in my frustration, stuffed it into the back of my car.
buying a pram second hand

Choice specifies that their testers check various aspects of pram and stroller safety based on the Australian standard, they look at the following (and it’s a good idea you do too).
  • harness straps are adjustable and of adequate length (so that the harness both fits correctly and is free from strangulation and other hazards
  • the child is securely restrained; no gaps they can slip through and the buckle is not too easy to undo
  • folding mechanisms are safe and secure, and
  • that there are no sharp edges or possible entrapment points for fingers or limbs (either for the child in the pram, or an adult folding/unfolding the pram).

You can find some great deals on prams & strollers for sale on Gumtree.
You can also find more information on pram and stroller reviews, tests and standards

Change Tables

I must admit, I didn’t check anything in terms of safety with our change table. It looked nice, it matched the cot and so I bought it.  

buying a change table second hand

There actually aren’t any Australian Standards for change tables, however, Choice’tester Matthew Tung uses the following tests to see if a change table is safe and although you may not be able to do some of these tests if buying online or physically, it gives you an idea of safety aspects to consider:

Stability: applying about 20kg of downward force to the edge of the table to see if it tilts or tips over.

Strength of construction: putting a 50kg mass in the centre of the changing surface for 60 seconds and checks for any damage to the table.

Roll-off protection:  testing whether the table will prevent a baby rolling or sliding from the change surface. The table is tilted sideways at 15° and a 15kg test cylinder is placed at the upper edge of the changing surface and released. If it rolls off the bottom edge, the table fails.

Sharp edges and protrusions: checking for any edges or points that could injure a child on the table are noted.

Finger and limb traps: checking for any gaps or holes that could trap a small finger or limb are tested with a set of special probes.

You can find some great deals on
change tables for sale on Gumtree.
You can also find more information on change table reviews and tests
Have you ever had a bad experience with a second-hand item you bought online that didn’t measure up?


All safety information and recommendations provided in this post were sourced from Choice. It is recommended that you seek further information and clarification on product reviews, tests and specific standards at

In all cases, when you’re shopping for second hand goods, always check that they comply with the mandatory standards. A full list of products subject to mandatory standards can be found on the ACCC website

This sponsored post was written in accordance to my disclosure policy.
Eva Lewis (The Multitasking Woman)

Eva Lewis (The Multitasking Woman)

Eva is the Editor and Owner of The Multitasking Woman. She always has her fingers in many different pies but wouldn't have it any other way. Eva is a freelance writer, a social media manager, a Mum to her six-year-old son, one-year-old daughter, six chickens and Benny the dog and wife to Mr G. They all live happily in their little worker's cottage in Ipswich, Queensland, Australia.
Eva Lewis (The Multitasking Woman)

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  1. July 11, 2014 / 2:32 pm

    We’ve definitely saved a heap getting second hand toys, change table and highchair. Fisher Price actually sell new parts. We bought a big toy door with lots of moving parts second hand and just bought a whole new set of stickers to refresh it as the original ones had faded a bit. It was as good as new:)

  2. Kaz @ MeltingMoments
    July 11, 2014 / 3:54 pm

    We bought our baby change table second hand but as you did, bought our cot and car seat new. I’m always stunned at how many people snatch up cheap car seats on those buy/sell pages. I don’t know their financial situation though, so maybe a 2nd hand car seat is better than none..? Excellent tips!

  3. July 12, 2014 / 4:16 pm

    What a lovely way to get to know you better Eva. You’ve certainly had quite a few different doors opening and closing, but it’s good to see how you’ve kept going and found unexpected joys along the way. It’s so important to keep an open mind for what the future holds, and to not regret the choices from the past. I think you’re doing a fantastic job!

  4. July 13, 2014 / 6:04 pm

    I used to buy lots of second hand baby gear and never thought about the safety aspect!! great tips, mind you I was like you – purchased a New Cot and New Mattress for the cots {we heard that a mattress should never ever be used more than once}

  5. July 14, 2014 / 8:02 am

    Thanks! Yes, there was just something about using an older second hand cot that worried me.

  6. July 14, 2014 / 8:02 am

    I think that as long as those people snatching up cheaper car seats online check their safety, it should be ok.

  7. July 14, 2014 / 8:03 am

    I didn’t know Fisher Price sold new parts, something to remember!

  8. January 4, 2016 / 2:02 pm

    I would understand how buying secondhand cribs and other furniture can be possible, but wouldn’t secondhand toys and clothes be too risky for a baby? I understand being thrifty and all, but the risk you take will have a higher price. Just my two cents, rest is spot on.. One of your best articles I’ve read so far Eva.

  9. June 26, 2016 / 5:20 pm

    Wenn man sich also nicht fit fühlt, sollte man auch auf seinen Körper
    hören und ihm eine Sportpause gönnen.