Used Baby Gear – Let the Buyer Beware

I’ve been spending a lot of time on my local buy/sell Facebook group.  I haven’t been on the search for used baby gear or anything; we still have all of Norton’s baby gear from when he was tiny.  I’m not on to buy (generally).  I’m there mainly to sell.  I seem to have entered the nesting phase of pregnancy, so I’m going nuts getting rid of things.  But instead of donating like I have in the past, I’m out to make back some of the money that I spent.  Used baby gear is a popular category on the buy/sell group, though.

With Norton, I didn’t buy used baby gear.  My parents did buy some stuff used when I was pregnant with Andy, like our crib, but I felt like because I could “do better” for Norton, I wanted to.  I spent a lot of time trying to compensate for my shortcomings as a mom to Andy with Norton.  However, because I’m a.) a mom and I’m about to have another baby and b.) looking forward to selling off our own used baby gear as our last baby grows and no longer needs it, I pay attention to what’s going on in the used baby gear market.

The biggest thing I’ve found?  The buyer really, truly needs to beware.  I’ve seen things show up on the buy/sell group that are flat out illegal to sell in Canada.  The biggest offender?  Drop side cribs.  In Canada, it’s illegal to sell an unmodified drop side crib.  Unless the manufacturer has provided the seller with the parts to convert the drop side crib into a fixed crib, it’s a crime.  I think the rules are equally stringent in the United States.  When it comes to recalls, Health Canada and the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission are very often on the same page.  (The primary exception being that walkers are banned in Canada.  If you have it, fine, but it’s illegal to sell it or give it away, and also illegal to import it from the States where they are still sold.)

I’d like to think that the sellers are not bad people who are out to risk the lives of other people’s children with their stuff that no longer meets safety guidelines.  I’d like to think that they are selling their used baby gear without knowing that it was recalled or banned for one reason or other.  Fortunately, my local buy/sell group does have other parents that are willing to help act as watchdogs with notes like “you do realize that this product has been banned, and it’s illegal to sell it without the parts from the manufacturer, right?  Just contact the maker and they’ll send you the parts.”

Of course, that’s on Facebook.  When you’re buying on Craig’s List or Kijiji (eBay Classifieds for those in the States), you don’t have that community to help look out for you.  When you’re buying at consignment shops, thrift stores, yard sales, or flea markets, there’s no one else to give you or the seller those warnings where others will also see it.  So that means that it’s up to the buyer to beware when buying used baby gear.  The majority, I’m sure, is perfectly fine, but that one random thing that finds its way through is worth being educated about what you buy.  After all, it’s your kid’s safety.  That’s something that we all care about, regardless of finances.

About Suzi

Suzi is an American ex-pat living in British Columbia. She's a cloth diaper addict, wife, mom of three, and President of the Prince George chapter of Cloth for a Cause.


  1. Karen Hill says:

    Hi, just reading your article here and I just wanted to let you know some info you have in there that doesn’t seem to be 100% correct regarding the selling of used drop side cribs in Canada. I just yesterday called Health Canada to ask about this issue as I thought it was illegal to resell them and my mother didn’t think it was. Well, according to Health Canada is is NOT illegal to resell them as of yet. It IS illegal to do so in the states but in Canada is it NOT. This info was given to me June 14/12

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