Top 10 Thrift Store Dangers
Raising kids means buying stuff—and lots of it. If you're a budget-savvy parent who looks to thrift stores, garage sales, classifieds, or even eBay to make household product purchases, use these safety tips as a guide.
They’re a nursery staple, but a leading secondhand-purchase danger. And while putting your baby to bed in the same crib you used as an infant may sound appealing, it’s just not safe. Why not?
Crib Safety Pointers
Playpens and Play Yards
You love your portable play space because it’s collapsable, but that’s a top reason so many are recalled each year. (Baby can get trapped inside if a play yard accidentally folds down or snaps shut.) Before you buy a playpen secondhand, check to see it
Play Yard Safety Pointers
The CPSC advises that playpens and portable cribs should have warning labels saying the sides should never be left in the down position. If a mesh-sided playpen has a hinge in the center, it should automatically lock when the rails are lifted. See more safety tips.
It’s just too easy for your squirmy baby or active toddler to get caught on the playground slide or at home on a drawer knob when wearing clothes with drawstrings. If a waistband or any other drawstring is more than 3 inches long, remove it or discard the item.
Car Seat Carriers
You know the importance of using a car seat, but be careful when picking one out secondhand. According to the CPSC, car seat carrier handle locks on recalled models can unexpectedly release when used as a carrier outside of a car, which may mean a dangerous fall for Baby.
Accordion-Style Safety Gates
Until 1985, baby gates had spaces so large that a child’s limbs or head could nearly pass through. Yikes! Look for gates with tiny openings and a pressure bar or other fastener straight across the top that can resist the forces exerted by a small child.
When transitioning to a big-kid bed, a bunk bed may sound enticing. But unsafe spacing between railings can be cause for strangulation concerns. Additionally, toddlers can become wedged between the bed and a wall and suffocate if the bed’s structure isn’t secure.
Bunk Bed Safety Pointers
The CPSC advises that before purchasing, parents should insure the following about each part of the bed. For their safety list, see Time for a Big Kid Bed?
Toy Basketball Nets
Toy basketball nets are consistently on CPSC recall lists. Children can strangle on loops or openings in these basketball nets if the nets come unhooked from the rim or have knots that slide. If children put their heads into these openings, the nets can get tangled around their necks.
When buying a hair dryer for yourself, look for the certification mark of a recognized testing laboratory, such as UL or ETL. These protect you (and your child) from accidental electrocution if the hair dryer is accidentally dropped in the sink or bathtub.
Bean Bag Chairs
Don’t buy bean bag chairs that can be opened, and doublecheck that the seams are secured on those bean bags that are sewn shut. The CPSC says that the pellets inside the chairs can clog kids’ mouths and noses, causing suffocation.
Halogen Floor Lamps
Beware of halogen lighting in the nursery. These bulbs can heat up to nearly 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, and flammable material that contacts the bulb—pretty curtains, ceiling mobiles—may catch fire.
Photo Credit: Wire safety guard image courtesy of the CPSC
Halogen Floor Lamp Safety Pointers
Before buying a halogen floor lamp, be sure it has a wire or glass guard over the glass bulb shield in the bowl at the top of the lamp. And the tubular halogen light bulb should not be over 300 watts. Also be sure that it has a polarized (one blade wider than the other).
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