Tips for Selling Your Baby & Toddler Gear

September 19, 2012 — By

As your children outgrow their gear, selling it at a consignment sale or in an online marketplace is a great way to reduce waste, promote reuse and make some extra money to help pay for that next batch of “stuff” they will need. But not everything is suitable to be passed along. Before putting your baby’s items up for sale, be sure to first check that they are safe for continued use. In addition to keeping children safe from unnecessary risk of injury, there are laws against selling certain secondhand products.

Here are some tips to help you make sure the items that you and your baby once loved are safe for a new home.

Tip 1: Check for Recalls

The first thing you should do is check that the item has not been recalled. The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) of 2008 made it illegal for anyone to sell recalled products, even in yard sales or thrift shops. WeMakeItSafer has a Recalled Product Search tool that makes checking for recalls easy.  It is available as a mobile web-app just by visiting on your mobile phone.

If you are planning to sell many items, try using Simply Check, a tool that checks items for past recalls, then keeps monitoring daily for new ones. Simply Check also provide a special WeMakeItSafer Seal number that you can write on your tags so that the sale event organizer or consignment store owner knows you checked. Some consignment locations are beginning to either require or provide incentives to sellers who include WeMakeItSafer Seal numbers as proof that an item has been checked for recalls, so be sure to ask.

Tip 2: If Recalled, Get it Fixed

Recalled products usually can be remediated, most often with a free repair or replacement offered by the manufacturer.  Typically, once a recalled product is fixed per the manufacturer’s instructions, it is legal to sell (ie, it is no longer the recalled version); however, there are exceptions to this. (See Tip 3)  If, for some reason, there is no remedy available, then it is best to dismantle the item and recycle as much as you can before disposing of the rest.  Although rare, this can happen if the company is no longer in business, for example.

Tip 3: Avoid Selling Troublesome Products

In addition to recalled products, there are some items that most often should not be sold secondhand for a variety of reasons, including tricky safety laws. Here are some of the baby gear and other items that require special consideration before selling:

Cribs have special rules! If your crib is more than two years old (manufactured before June 28, 2011), it is unlikely to meet all the new safety standards and if it doesn’t, it is illegal to sell, regardless of whether or not it was ever recalled. Dropside cribs, even those that have been fitted with immobilizers, are also illegal to sell.

Car Seats
Did you know that car seats expire? Because the Styrofoam and other materials used in car seats to cushion and absorb force on impact break down over time, car seats are not structurally sound forever. Sunlight and heat, like that often found in parked cars, can speed up the degradation process as well. Check the labels on your car seat carefully to locate the expiration date before giving it away or selling it.

Also, do not sell your car seat if it has ever been in an accident or shows any visible signs of wear and tear such as cracks or dents in the foam or plastic.

If you determine your car seat is in good condition and saleable, be sure to include all the parts and the instruction manual.

Children’s Metal Jewelry
Although most secondhand items have been excepted from new lead limits, jewelry is one item that still cannot be sold (or given away) by anyone if it contains lead over the legal limits. The amount of lead that is acceptable in children’s products dropped to its lowest level, 100 ppm, in August 2011.

Because it is almost impossible for a product-owner to tell whether or not an item contains lead without special testing, it is best to not sell any children’s jewelry with metal on it that was manufactured before September 2011 unless you can identify a Certificate of Compliance on the manufacturer’s website that specifies your version of the product complies with safety standards.

Play Yards and Playpens
New safety standards for play yards, also known as travel yards or playpens, were passed on February 28, 2013. Although it is not automatically illegal to sell older model play yards, there are some things to watch out for to make sure yours is safe to sell.  Please see  ”New Play Yard Safety Standards – What Does it Mean?“ for more information.

Soft Plastic Child-care Articles for Children Under 3 and Soft Plastic Toys for all Children
Beginning in 2009, certain phthalates were banned in the US for use in child-care articles (e.g, pacifiers, teethers, etc.) and toys because of health risks to children. It is illegal to sell products that contain these phthalates, even if they were manufactured before 2009. Although manufacturers and importers have been required to obey the new laws since 2009, they were not required to do third-party testing for phthalates on many children’s products until 2012.

Like lead, it is almost impossible for a product-owner to tell whether or not an item contains phthalates. It is best to not sell any soft plastic items for infants and toddlers, or soft plastic toys for children of any age, unless you are sure it was manufactured after 2009, or you can identify a Certificate of Compliance on the manufacturer’s website that specifies your version of the product complies with safety standards.

What are phthalates? Phthalates are chemical plasticizers used in the production of plastics to make them soft and pliable. They can also be found in certain inks, and other products.

Store owner shows a WeMakeItSafer seal on a carseat

Shawnte Cavanaugh, owner of WeeCycle children’s resale, uses WeMakeItSafer seals to show customers that items have been checked for recalls.

Tip 4: Let Shoppers Know it is Safe

Once you are confident your product has not been recalled and is otherwise safe to sell, be sure to tell potential buyers. Parents hear about recalls all the time. They will be especially concerned if they previously heard about a product recall on a product similar to the one you are selling. Put their minds at ease by marking the tag or online description with helpful information that says, “This item has been checked for recalls.” Include a WeMakeItSafer Seal, available through Simply Check, or paste a link to the relevant recalled-product category so that they can see for themselves.

If the item has been recalled and properly remediated per the manufacturer’s instructions, link to the recall information page so that buyers can see the remedy information and compare it to your product.

WeMakeItSafer Check for Safety Recalls SealAs noted above, if you have several items to sell, Simply Check makes this process even easier for you and potential buyers by giving you a WeMakeItSafer Seal to print onto stickers or embed in your listings. The seal’s Item Number links to a certificate that shows shoppers that you checked for recalls. WeMakeItSafer Seals are easily recognized by shoppers and bring immediate peace of mind.

Tip 5: Choose a Reputable Sale Event or Store

When choosing where to sell your items, select a store, sale event or marketplace that is committed to safety. You can find a list in our Resource Center.  Not only will this help you protect your own reputation, but organizations that make safety a priority attract more buyers and buyers who are willing to pay more for quality.

Safer Resale PledgeIn particular, if you choose a seasonal sale event, look for one that has taken the Safer Resale Safety Pledge. This badge means that the sale event owner requires its consignors to check for recalls. Since you will have already done this, being a part of a quality network of sellers can only improve your success.

If selling at a resale store, look for WeMakeItSafer Seals on products or a decal on the door – this shows that either the store-owner requires consignors to check for recalls, or store staff checks for recalls on items before placing them in the store.

When choosing to sell online, it can be a bit trickier to find a reputable marketplace. Some websites do not even have stated policies against selling recalled products; therefore, unless sellers are well-informed about the laws, the site is more likely to have recalled products listed and is probably not the type of establishment you want to be associated with. Do your homework, look for WeMakeItSafer Seals and be sure to mark your listings with information, seals or links that lets shoppers know that you checked! (See Tip 4)

Happy selling!

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