Can you buy feeding gear secondhand?

Feeding bottles, teats, sterilisers… which of these are safe to buy second-hand, and what should you know before you do?


Bottles: what to look out for

A big problem with second-hand bottles is you may not know if it’s BPA-free plastic, unless it’s glass. But what’s the issue with BPA? Studies found that if plastic bottles are scratched or cracked, BPA, a chemical in the plastic, can leak into the milk. If you’re buying bottles second-hand, examine them carefully. While nothing compares to a reassuring BPA-free stamp on the packaging, see the panel below to tell what plastics are BPA-free and how they’ll look and feel.


Should you buy new teats?

The simple answer is yes, buy new. The silicone of bottle teats will weaken and deteriorate over time, so they should be checked regularly, especially once your baby’s teeth start coming through. Boiling water used to sterilise teats can make the silicone sticky and unusable, and a broken teat can also be a choking hazard.

What about sterilisers and breast pumps?

All baby feeding products that require mains powered electricity to work, such as sterilisers or electric breast pumps, need to comply with current European Standards and should display a BS1363 mark. You’ll find this either on the packaging or in the instructions booklet. There may also be a CE mark. This is a trading standards law and proves the item meets current safety conditions and can be moved and sold in the EU. However, both marks can only be taken at face value when a product is new so check carefully.

Second-hand electrical items safety checks

All electrical items need to be tested by a competent, qualified person to ensure they meet certain safety standards. You may have noticed that charity shops don’t usually sell electrical items because they don’t employ anyone to test them.

Second-hand retailers can only sell appliances fitted with an approved plug with sleeve pins and the correct fuse. Private sellers online, such as on eBay, can refuse to take responsibility for the quality of their goods .Electrical equipment that has been tested should have a sticker to say when it was tested, a test expiry date, and a tester’s signature. Instructions on how to operate the product are also required by law to be sold with the item. If you’re unsure whether the goods are safe and instructions are not included, don’t buy them.

What about recalled items?

When a product is recalled there are always some that will never make it back to the manufacturer, so be careful when buying used.Trading Standards has a list of recalled items ( and if it’s a big name brand, try looking on the company’s own website. If there’s a certain brand you’re looking for, you could also call the manufacturer’s customer care centre and ask about recent recalls.

Bottle types:

PC (polycarbonate) bottle

Contains BPA, transparent bottle, high scratch resistance.

Glass bottle

BPA-free, transparent bottle, high scratch resistance.

Silicone bottle

BPA-free, clear, scratch-resistant.

PP (polypropylene)  BPA-free bottle

Bottle looks slightly cloudy, low scratch resistance.


PES (polyethersulfone) BPA-free bottle

Transparent bottle with a honey-coloured tinge, high scratch resistance.

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