VIDEO: Second Hand = Second Best?

As the parent of twins, the thought of purchasing everything new makes me break into a cold sweat. Let’s face it, kids aren’t cheap, and it only gets better as they get older. We all know that the new stuff – clothes, toys, furnishings – are more likely to be requested when the kids are cognizant of their surroundings. That’s why at this stage, while they’re young, I choose to buy some of their items new, and some second hand.

Alarmingly, there has been a trend towards product recalls, from strollers to cribs to car seats and beyond. Definitely disturbing for all of us parents who believe that our second-hand items are as good as new. Clearly that’s not always the case.

I was interviewed by our local TV station on this topic, which also addressed the need for parents to be more aware of the items that they use for their children. Perhaps a cautionary tale of sorts, and definitely something to keep in mind the next time someone offers you a hand-me-down, even if it is out of the goodness of their heart.

Canadian readers: You can always check the status of a product or recall notices here:

American readers: Here are a couple of sites that list the latest recalls:

My question this week: Do you accept hand-me-downs for your kids, or purchase items second hand? If so, how often do you check the status of the items to see if they are on a product recall list?

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  1. Holly Ann says

    I've gotten a lot of second-hand items from my mothers of multiples group. Especially clothes, which I think are generally safe. However, I have to admit I rarely check on recall updates. Shame on me…

  2. Samantha says

    @Holly Ann
    Hi Holly,
    I think that most of us don't check – myself included – but now that I'm more aware, will definitely take a look at the sites before I take on second-hand items again!
    Thanks for your comment.

  3. Jen says

    Hi Sam,
    First of all, how cool that you were interviewed! With my first child (my daughter) I received so much hand-me-down gear that I didn't have to buy a crib, a stroller or a baby carrier/carseat. We did have the carseat checked by the hospital staff before we left though to make sure it was still acceptable. With my second baby (my boy), I wanted to buy all new gear because he's the last baby 🙁 So we splurged on a new carseat and a double stroller. I think second-hand deals are great for most things, but old cribs and carseats are questionable. And I've never been good at looking up product recalls, unless they make the evening news!

  4. Samantha says

    Hi Jen,
    I think that most of us aren't up to speed checking out the latest recalls. I mean, after all, when you're running after kids, the last thing you want to do is start researching stuff online. But I guess it would be the prudent thing to do in light of all of the recent recalls and problems with not only older items, but newer products as well.
    Thanks for your comment!

  5. Grumpy Grateful Mom says

    So fun to see your interview. I have some second hand items, thankfully not car seats. Honestly, I haven't been the most diligent at checking for recalls. This was a good reminder to me that I should!

  6. Samantha says

    @Grumpy Grateful Mom
    It's a wake-up call for all of us, isn't it? I never check in advance of purchasing items for the kids, whether they're used or not. Now I know to do some research before committing to buying something that may not be the most safe at the least, or downright dangerous at the most.
    Thanks for commenting!