Second-hand Baby Gear: What to Buy Used & What to Splurge On

A close up of a brown-eyed baby smiling at the camera

Everyone knows that babies can be expensive. It makes sense to be as thrifty as possible when it comes to getting items for your baby, but you always want to keep safety in mind first. We’ve compiled a list of second-hand baby gear dos and don’ts to make shopping for your new child as simple and inexpensive as possible.

Baby Clothes & Shoes

Babies grow out of their clothing at impressive speeds. Buying baby clothes gently used is a great way to save a fortune. Getting all new clothes for your baby can be a real waste of money when there are plenty of great second-hand baby items available. Take advantage of a great deal and shop consignment for your baby’s fashion needs.

Be sure you’re getting high-quality hand-me-downs, of course. You’ll want to make sure the clothing is in good condition, meaning no rips, tears, or unraveling. As is true of any textiles bought second hand, make sure you wash your thrift baby clothing with a skin sensitive detergent that the clothes won’t irritate your baby’s skin afterward.

Shoes are another perfect example of second-hand baby gear to take advantage of. Similar to clothing, babies grow out of footwear in just a few months. When your child is in the first few months of life, they won’t be walking yet anyway, so buying shoes that they’ll quickly outgrow can be a waste of money.

Baby Toys

A blue-eyed baby chews on a block

Buying baby toys second-hand is an excellent way to save some green, but do your research on the toys you choose to buy! Thrift stores and yard sales are often full of gently used, second-hand baby gear like toys. It’s important to make sure the toys you’re buying for your baby are age-appropriate and don’t include choking hazards or anything else dangerous.

Some toys, especially old ones, are made with lead paint that you’ll want to steer clear of— a quick Google search is helpful prior to purchase to ensure your child’s safety. As always, make sure you’re sanitizing any toys you purchase second-hand before letting your baby play with them. Many toys can be cleaned relatively easily. Most plastic and rubber baby toys can simply be washed on the top rack of the dishwasher, and stuffed animals can be cleaned in your washer and dryer.

Car Seats

Unfortunately, second-hand car seats fall into the “do not buy” category of baby gear. The problem with buying a used car seat, even if it appears as though it’s in good condition, is that you don’t know the history of it. The car seat may have been involved in a crash, which could have damaged it slightly, and that’s not something you want to leave up to chance. We recommend splurging on your baby’s car seat or borrowing one from a trustworthy friend or family member.


Strollers are another second-hand baby item that should be bought new. They can be a bit expensive, but because newer strollers tend to have important, up-to-date safety features built in, we recommend getting recent models. After all, your baby’s safety should be the priority.

A baby wearing a knit hat tucked in bed with a teddy bear

As you can see, there are certainly some good ways to save money when you opt for second-hand baby gear, just be sure to make intelligent safety choices when it comes to shopping for your little one!