Guide to buying secondhand nursery equipment

Baby monitors, swing chairs, rockers, nightlights, safety gates – we’ve got all the vital info and safety advice you need to know when buying them secondhand.

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Buying secondhand baby equipment can be an excellent way to limit your expenses and make your budget go further. Babies are not babies for long, so a lot of nursery equipment doesn’t actually get used that much, so picking up items that are hardly used and in good condition is easier than you might think. Here’s what to look out for when buying pre-loved baby monitors, swing chairs, rockers, nightlights and safety gates.

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Does this secondhand nursery equipment guide not have what you’re after? Try our guides to:

How to avoid recalled items

It’s not always easy to know if an item has been recalled because of safety concerns. For newer products, it’s reasonably simple to do an online search to check they’re still on sale. The Trading Standards website also has safety warnings.Other sites that can help are Recalled Products and UKRecallNotice. If it’s a big name brand, also try their website.

What should you know about buying secondhand electrical items?

Anyone who sells secondhand electrical equipment is obliged to ensure the item is safe for sale, and the current laws advise getting the items checked by a qualified electrician. If you are buying pre-loved electrical items, ask the following:

  • Does it have the CE mark, the BEAB mark or BS safety mark?
  • What checks were carried out before it was offered for sale?
  • Did a qualified electrician carry out the checks?
  • Does the plug with British Standard BS 1363?
  • Do the original safety instructions come with the item?

Also read the Electrical Safety Council’s Safe Shoppers Guide.

Do you need the manufacturers’ instructions?

Electrical items should by law come supplied with these. It’s very useful to have these, but if they’re missing, head to the manufacturer’s website. Unless the item you’re after is very old, you can usually download a copy of the instructions there.

What should you check when buying a secondhand baby monitor?

Decide whether you want a digital or analogue monitor. Older monitors will probably be analogue, which tends to produce a less clear sound and more ‘hiss’. Digital monitors are more expensive but have a greater quality of sound, and you may get a good deal buying secondhand. Our buyer’s guide to baby monitors has more on the pros and cons of analogue and digital monitors.

If the monitor has been modified or repaired don’t buy it. You can’t be sure that it’s safe or working properly.

You also should look it over for wear and tear, keeping an eye out for loose wires and plastic parts that may come off easily. Check there are no missing parts, and measure the cord length. To comply with safety standards and reduce the risk of accidents, the cord should be no more than 20cm long.

What should you check when buying a secondhand swing chair?

Swing chairs are either mains or battery-operated, so keep in mind the considerations mentioned above about buying secondhand electrical equipment.

Swing chairs swing (clue’s in the name!), so check wear and tear on hinges and moving parts. The stand needs to be sturdy, no signs of wear, and no cracked or splitting connectors.

Any upholstery must adhere to safety regulations – primarily, it has to be fire resistant. It must have a permanent label stating “Carelessness Causes Fire”.

What should you check when buying a secondhand rocker?

Nursery furniture must adhere to safety regulations to ensure any upholstery is fire resistant.Look for labels that say “All filling materials meet the 1988 safety regulations” or “Filling materials and covering fabrics meet the requirements for resistance of cigarette and match ignition in the 1988 safety regulations”.

What should you check when buying a secondhand nightlight?

A nightlight is a piece of electrical equipment, so make sure you follow the advice above. By law, if it’s mains operated, the nightlight should have been checked by a qualified person to ensure it’s safe.You need to check the cord for any wear and tear. Also measure the length of the cord – baby monitors standards state it should be no longer than 20cm to avoid choking hazards.Check that there are no loose or small parts that could fall off or be pulled off.

What should you check when buying a secondhand safety gate?

Take your tape measure when buying safety gates! To comply with safety regulations, the bars on a safety gate should be 6.5cm or 2.5in apart or less.

Look out for damage or wear, and steer clear of gates with splintered wood, bent bars, plastic parts that are coming part or sharp edges.

Check to see if the gate has been painted or varnished after it’s come from the shop. Avoid this, as you have no way of knowing if the finish is child-safe. If the gate looks a bit shabby and you’re thinking of painting or varnishing it, check with the manufacturers that the paint or varnish is safe for small children. Also been mindful of flaky paint.

Make sure you check the locks work and are not loose, and that the hinges are secure. If these don’t work, then it won’t be able to do its job.

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Finally, our step-by-step buyer’s guide to safety gates also has key info to help you buy a safe option that suits your needs.

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