Babies are very expensive, so at a time when your income is about to be reduced as your outgoings increase, you need to save as much money as possible. Local newspapers and many websites are full of second hand baby equipment, and friends and family will see your new arrival as a great opportunity to clear out the attic.
Here are some tips on what not to buy - and what you can safely get second-hand.
A cot can be bought second hand, most will only need a clean up or a coat of paint or varnish (check paint is child friendly and allow several weeks for all solvents to disperse before using the cot). However you should always buy a new mattress, you don't know how many times the previous occupant vomited or had a nappy leak.
Baby baths will only be used for a few weeks, so get them second hand too. They should only need a clean up as well.
Second-hand car seats, however, should only be used if you know their full history. This is because you should never use a car seat which has been in an accident, and if you don't know the seller you cannot be sure of this.
Good playpens are expensive and if you can find a used one you could save a lot of money. A safety note; Many items are sold as travel cot/playpens. These are flimsy and usually on legs which could make them unstable once a child can stand. Go for the heavier, metal ones which are flat to the floor.
Pushchairs and Prams will get a lot of use and do need to be robust. Only buy a second-hand one if it is almost new. In my experience the more worn out they are, the harder they are to steer. Don't buy very cheap ones; they wear out quickly, are hard to steer, and the handles are shorter, which means you will stoop and this will make your back ache especially if you are tall.
Do not buy a babywalker. 4000 children a year are injured in babywalker accidents. Shall we read that again? 4000 children a year are injured in babywalker accidents.
DO NOT BUY ONE. DO NOT LET ANYONE BUY ONE FOR YOUR CHILD. DO NOT LET YOUR CHILD USE ONE AT A FRIENDS HOUSE OR AT A TODDLER GROUP. THEY ARE VERY DANGEROUS.
Accept any offers of baby clothes, you cannot have too many, but always wash them in non-biological powder before use, as babies skin is very sensitive. Only buy second-hand soft toys if they can go in the washing machine before your baby plays with them. I always wash second-hand plastic toys in disinfectant if I'm not sure of their origin.
Do not buy baby changing tables, a child can easily roll off one. Always change your baby's nappy on the floor, after all you don't know when they will decide today is the day to roll over by themselves!
These suggestions should save you quite a bit of money at what is always a very expensive time!
About the Author: Jacqui O'Brien is the Editor of eParenting.
About eParenting: eParenting was started by Jacqui O'Brien in 2004. At the time her kids were 1 and 4 and kept her nice and busy. Now they are teenagers and still keeping her pretty busy!