Car boot sales – the dos and don’ts of buying baby gear

If you're lucky, you can pick up some real baby bargains at car boot sales but it's worth going prepared

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DO

Learn to haggle People selling at car boot sales expect you to haggle, so they always ask for more than they want, knowing you’ll bargain them down. Don’t feel embarrassed though. Everyone does it, and it’s the best way to get a bargain.

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Check things thoroughly. There is no comeback, so you must make sure you’re completely happy with everything you buy before you pay for it.

Get there early. Just like the NCT sales, getting there for first pickings is essential if you want the best choice. This will mean a very early start – the hardcore car booters often arrive before sunrise – but if you’re pre baby it’s good practice.

Take plenty of cash. Car boot sales are one of the few places where the card isn’t currency. Cash is king here and if you don’t take enough, you might just miss out on the bargain of the century.

DON’T

Buy electrical equipment such as baby monitors. You never know what you’re getting, and it’s essential they comply to certain safety standards.

Buy mattresses or used car seats These are the two items you should never buy second hand. Second hand mattresses have been linked to SIDS (cot death) and you should never buy a used car seat, unless you know its history –  if it’s been in a crash its safety is severely compromised. That’s why the NCT don’t allow you to sell either of these things at their sales.

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Assume all sellers are honest. Most are of course, but there are always some unscrupulous onds who’ll make you pay over the odds for shoddy goods. Just keep your wits about you. Having an idea of what something is worth, and what you are prepared to pay before you make an offer is good practice.

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