Your first buggy is a big investment and one that you want to get right. But with the cost of some must-have models reaching several hundred pounds, it makes sense to consider buying one secondhand. However, before you start your search it’s worth knowing what to look out for and when to say no.
How do you know if the buggy is safe?
Bagging a secondhand bargain can save you money but the saving isn’t worthwhile if it puts your child’s safety at risk.
In the UK, buggies must comply with British Standard BS7409 and must have a permanent sticker showing this number. You’ll usually find it attached to the frame or the seat covering. This applies to new and secondhand buggies and ensures that the model has been subject to certain safety tests.
Buggies manufactured for the European market don’t have to meet this British Standard but do have to meet BSEN1888, although they do not need to say that they do.
Both new and secondhand buggies must also comply with the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire)(Safety) Regulations 1988. This means that the fabric has been treated with a flame retardant. Look for a label with the words “carelessness causes fire” and if you can’t find one, assume that it doesn’t comply. Again, this is a British safety ruling and the same strict rules might not apply to buggies bought in other European countries.
What about recalled buggies?
Many baby items, including buggies, are recalled for safety reasons every year. Trading Standards has a list of product recalls with explanations of why the product may not be safe. If you’re in any doubt, check this list before you buy. Other sites that can help are Recalled Products and UKRecallNotice.
There have been cases where buggies have been recalled in one country but the same product has remained for sale in other countries. In this situation it’s probably best to err on the side of caution and avoid buying the buggy.
What else should you check?
The age of your baby will influence the type of buggy that you buy. For example, some buggies are not suitable for newborns. Most manufacturers have product specifications on their websites and you can check this to be sure. If you’re in a situation where you can’t check, like at a secondhand sale, ask the vendor. If they don’t know, move on.
Any buggy that’s transported a baby for a few months will have signs of wear and tear. However, there are certain features that must be present and working properly. For example, to conform to current safety standards, all buggies must have a 5-point (rather than 3-point) harness. Other things to check are:
- The folding system. Make sure that it works smoothly and that once open, the buggy stays open – all buggies must have two locking devices that hold them open so that if one releases it won’t collapse with your baby on board.
- The brake. Make sure that it’s easy to apply and that when it’s on, it secures the buggy. The brake should hold the buggy still, on a 9-degree slope.
- The wheels. Do they appear loose? Taking the buggy for a test drive is the best way of making sure the wheels are aligned and in working order.
- The frame. Look over the frame (or chassis) thoroughly. If the seat unit detaches, take it off and check for dents, rust, flaking paint and bends in the chassis.
- The fabric. Give the fabric and the seat a once over. Check for tears and holes especially at the points where it attaches to the chassis.
Also, see what features you should look for to find a buggy that suits your lifestyle and find out if you need a buggy with a lie-flat seat.
Where should you look for a secondhand buggy?
Auction sites are a good source of secondhand buggies, as are notice boards on national and local parenting sites. The disadvantage of buying this way, though, is that you rarely get to inspect the buggy and try before you buy. And if you’re bidding against other shoppers, the price may be higher than you expect.
You’ll find rock bottom prices at secondhand sales and car boot sales and you’ll be able to see what you’re buying. Friends and family may offer you their hand-me-downs at knock down prices but the same checks should apply.
How much should you pay for a secondhand buggy?
This all depends on the age and condition of what you’re buying and where you’re buying it from. Some buggy brands hold their value more than others, especially must-have models. As a general rule of thumb, you should expect to pay around a third of the original price.