6 things you should never buy used

One parent feeds a baby in a high chair while the other works on a laptop on the sofa.

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Second-hand seekers and garage sale enthusiasts, beware.


Key points

  • Buying some used items can be a great way to save on your daily expenses.
  • However, not everything is safe to buy used.
  • Children’s furniture and car seats, non-stick cookware and vacuum cleaners are all things to avoid buying used.

We’re all looking for ways to save money, and one of the best techniques is to buy used items. Your costs will be lower, it’s good for the planet, and there are a lot of things that don’t need to be new to work well. Used books, for example, read just as well as new, and the price difference between new and used can be absolutely staggering.

You can also buy more expensive items used, of course; Buying a used car can often be a great way to save money, especially since new cars now cost their owners an average of $702 per month. While books and cars can usually be bought used, there are other purchases you should think twice about. Here are some items to buy new, for your safety and peace of mind.

1. Children’s furniture

Most parents would do anything to keep their children safe, and while you can’t control everything your child comes into contact with, you can make your own home safer by avoiding cribs, high chairs and other used children’s furniture. When you buy new, you know you’re getting furniture that’s been made to the latest safety standards, and you won’t have to worry about things like peeling paint or small pieces that can come off. and be swallowed. According to the non-profit organization Kids In Danger (KID), children’s products are recalled with high frequency, with more than 100 recalls each year. If you buy used, not only could you receive an unsafe item, but it is more likely that it has been recalled.

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2. Car seats

Child car seats and other vehicle safety devices have their own mention on this list because the danger to children in a car accident is serious. I get it – even though I’m not a parent, I’ve been browsing the baby aisle in department stores and seeing the prices for new car seats. But you’re paying for your child’s safety and your peace of mind, two things that should be invaluable. A used car seat may have broken components, missing parts (including an installation manual), and it may even have been in an accident, meaning it can no longer be used. If you get a car seat from a family member or close friend and trust them when they say it has only been used lightly and has never been accident, you could take the risk. But again, and as a non-parent — I wouldn’t.

3. Safety equipment

Next up on our list of things not to buy used is any kind of safety gear. Bicycle helmets are a good example; they could have been in an accident, and they cannot be expected to absorb such a heavy impact more than once. I know people whose lives have been saved by bicycle helmets, and although the helmet took a good beating when they hit a curb, a tree or an automobile, their heads were fine. Don’t take chances with used safety equipment of any kind.

4. Non-stick cookware

While the first three items on this list might present larger dangers, the last three present smaller and more insidious potential problems. Nonstick cookware is coated with chemicals that produce this nonstick effect, and most of the time, this type of cookware is not dangerous. The problem arises when used for cooking at higher temperatures, which can break down the chemical and release it into the food. When non-stick cookware is scratched, it is also no longer safe. Since you don’t know how the previous owner treated this 10-inch omelet pan, it’s best to buy it new.

5. Vacuum cleaners

I actually had a used vacuum for years, but it got pretty little use and was given to me by a trusted family member. I would never buy a used vacuum cleaner from a garage sale or thrift store. Buying a used vacuum can mean bringing dust and mold spores from someone else into your home, or even other allergens. If you are allergic to dogs and the previous owner used the vacuum to pick up dog hair, you could be exposing yourself to dog dander when using this vacuum. It could also come with electrical issues, if you need another reason to stay away.

6. Plastic bottles

The last item on our list may seem innocent enough. Reusable water bottles can help reduce your impact on the environment by reducing the need to buy bottled water, and plastic baby bottles are lightweight and easy to use. But unless you can really clean these items, you should avoid buying them used. You could also be exposing yourself to BPA (bisphenol A), an industrial chemical used in some plastics since the 1950s and linked to serious health problems. It’s best to buy new in this case (and buy BPA-free items), and when it comes to adult water bottles, consider buying a stainless steel one rather than a plastic one. – they are more robust, easier to clean and can contain hot and cold liquids.

If you’re always looking for ways to cut costs, buying used can be a great way to do it. But avoid these six items, because your health and safety (and that of your children) is more important than trying to save money.

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