Buying baby and child equipment
DoneDeal guide to baby and child equipment
Buying second-hand baby or child equipment and toys can be a great way to save yourself some money and keep the little ones happy at the same time.
You will find everything from strollers to garden swings on DoneDeal but, as always, and particularly when buying items for children, make sure you consider issues of safety before you part with your money.
If buying a toy or any kind of play equipment, make sure it carries the CE mark. This certifies that the product complies with EU safety directives, for example, that it contains non-toxic materials. It may also carry the EN71 mark, which serves a similar function. If you don’t see these, simply don’t buy it.
It is worth noting that childcare equipment such as buggies do not require this mark but any equipment that includes a toy element (such as most walkers, for example) should have it.
Ensure that the item includes the name and address of the manufacturer or importer.
Ideally, even when buying second-hand, the toy or play equipment should come with its original instruction booklet or packaging. This allows you to see any specific assembly or safety instructions, hazard warnings, age guidelines, etc.
Watch out for missing parts, which could leave rough edges exposed, or parts that have come loose due to wear and tear – these could come off and pose a choking hazard.
Check what the age guidelines are for the toy/equipment, and remember that you might have a younger child in the house who would also have access to it.
Check labels to make sure the item is not made from easily flammable material.
If it is a ‘sit and ride’ toy, make sure it is has not become unstable through overuse.
It is fine to purchase a second-hand car seat as long as you are confident that it has never been involved in a crash (which may have compromised its safety features).
However, the Road Safety Authority does not recommend purchasing a second-hand car seat if you are unsure of its history. Ask questions about when and where it was bought, how much use it has had.
Always ask for the installation instructions, as car seats can differ in terms of how they are fitted – and obviously they must be fitted correctly in order to be secure.
Be particularly careful when purchasing electrical toys second-hand. While most will be perfectly safe, you need to make sure that the item is properly insulated and that there’s no risk of contact with a live wire.
If buying an item that needs batteries, make sure the battery compartment is well secured and not accessible by a child.
Manufacturers will usually require proof of purchase to honour a warranty, so ask for this if you buy second-hand.
Before you buy a toy or piece of equipment, check whether it has been the subject of a recall from the manufacturer.
You may find this information by doing a simple web search or you can log onto the National Consumer Agency (NCA) website and search for the product you are interested in. The NCA features many product recalls on its site. You can also ring its information line (1890 433 432) if you are concerned about the safety of any product.