Parents are willing to buy highchairs, car seats and other safety items secondhand.
A recent C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll shows that the majority of parents feel that since child health and safety equipment (i.e., highchairs, strollers, car seats, and other items) is used for such a short period of time, it is too expensive to buy everything new, which results in higher use of pre-owned equipment. Some parents buy new equipment while others use borrowed equipment, equipment that’s purchased at resale shops or yard sales, and items that been passed down in the family.
Eighty-two percent of the surveyed parents agreed that buying new equipment was too expensive, and 78% agreed that it was too wasteful. Fifty-one percent didn’t have issues with using pre-owned equipment from family and close friends, while 48% find fault with using equipment purchased at yard sales and resale shops. Only 4% argued against using pre-owned equipment.
The poll also found that 53% of the parents had used pre-owned equipment and 28% of those who did used cribs, 24% used highchairs, 18% used outdoor play structures, 17% used strollers, 15% used playpens, 13% used bath sets, 7% used car seats, and 8% used booster seats. All these items are some of the most commonly required health and safety equipment, in general, and also the most reused.
Seventy-four percent of parents who have used pre-owned equipment said they would prefer to buy new equipment. However, income is a significant factor affecting whether parents use new or pre-owned items. Fifty-eight percent of parents with an income of less than $100,000 said that they had used pre-owned equipment as opposed to 48% of those with an income of more than $100,000.
The report noted that it was important for parents to take steps to ensure the safety of their child. Steps should be taken in the assembly and installation of equipment and in inspecting it if it’s preowned. The equipment should be inspected for previous damage, and the potential for malfunction. Parents should also search information online or on the manufacturer’s website on the proper installation and use of pre-used equipment. Equally important, parents should search for information on product recalls from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission website.
Concerningly, 63% of the parents in the study find it difficult to tell whether the equipment is safe even though 90% are likely to inspect pre-owned equipment for signs of damage and 88% will sanitize it prior to reuse. Fifty-five percent of the parents said they would surf the internet for instructions on how to set up the equipment, if need be, while 49% would search for product recall information on pre-owned items.
The report also indicated that giving away child health and safety equipment was common among parents with 74% selling or donating to family members, 52% selling or donating to charitable organizations, 35% setting up garage sales, and 33% selling it to resale shops. The researchers noted that it was important for parents to check that what they’re selling is safe for buyers. Additionally, information on the correct installation and use of the equipment should be attached, if possible.
That said, the report also noted that it was important for parents to keep up with ever-changing safety standards for child health and safety equipment. For instance, cribs should not have a drop-side rail, and car seat safety considerations vary based on age, height, and weight. Other items are quickly taken off the market due to reports of defects and other safety concerns, and just because they may have been used without issue doesn’t mean they should be resold once this happens.