Car seats and capsules
These are some of the most stringently-regulated items in the baby marketplace. Australian product safety laws outline with extensive detail the types and varieties of compliant car restraints for babies and children.
Cars seats and capsules are, like bicycle helmets, designed to protect against one impact only. If a car restraint has been involved in an accident, or has been dropped or hit, no matter how minor the impact, it could be compromised.
Second-hand cots that are sold must adhere to these guidelines too (with only a few minor exceptions).
If you do buy a cot second-hand, make sure it comes with safe usage and assembly instructions and that its parts are all in good, sturdy working order. The retailer should also be able to inform you about using a correctly-fitting mattress to ensure your baby’s safety.
By their very nature, prams introduce a range of environmental hazards to a baby. Uneven surfaces, speed, impacts and falls can all cause injuries to a baby in a pram. Australian product safety laws for prams outline some of the features that they must have, including: parking (braking) devices, tethers that connect an adult to the pram, head barriers and crotch or waist harnesses. If any of these are compromised, then so too could a baby’s safety.
Feeding equipment – like breast pumps and bottles – are not covered by mandatory safety standards (although they must still comply with Australian Consumer Law). The concern with purchasing these second-hand, however, is with the hygiene of the equipment.
Breast pumps and bottles must be rigorously washed between uses to avoid the build-up of germs. It’s difficult to know how thoroughly and well-looked after these items are if you receive them second-hand. If poorly looked-after, material and milk residue can build up in the corners and in between parts of pumps and bottles.
Rigorous labelling and manufacturing standards apply to babies’ and children’s nightwear. It is illegal for suppliers to sell any nightwear (and some daytime wear) that doesn’t comply with Australian mandatory standards.
The problem with buying second hand clothing for babies is that often the labels have faded or been cut off. This means it can be impossible to tell if the item was compliant in the first place, while removing any safety instructions or warnings for its use.