It's no secret that raising a child is expensive: Annual costs run roughly $13,000 per child on average, including housing, food, and education, according to the latest figures from the USDA. And many child-related expenses only increase as kids get older.
With the coronavirus pandemic still very much a factor and many young parents reconfiguring financial priorities, now might be an especially strenuous time to take on the extra expenses of a new baby. But buying and selling gently used baby items can be a smart way to save money, and to earn a little extra, too. Here are a few tips.
Remember to consider safety, though, and make sure the items you're looking for are safe to buy secondhand. As of June 2011, for example, the Consumer Production Safety Commission issued new standards for how cribs should be made, addressing "deadly hazards" observed with older models, according to its website. A used crib might not meet those safety standards, making it important to invest in a new one.
Here, too, remember to consider the safety of others: Don't try to sell anything that's expired, was subject to a recall, or that may no longer meet current safety standards.
The potential danger of contracting the coronavirus can make buying or selling secondhand items seem more fraught. Still, there are ways to mitigate risk. "During the pandemic, you want to focus more on those [sites] that you're sending through the mail versus the ones that you're meeting in person," says Bodge.
If you choose to conduct an in-person transaction using a site like letgo or Facebook Marketplace, make sure to abide by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's social distancing guidelines including wearing a mask and keeping a six-foot distance from your seller or buyer, and use electronic payment methods.
The chance of contacting the virus from shipping and receiving boxes is lower, experts say. The longer an item takes to get to you or your buyer, the less likely it is for whatever virus particles might be on it to survive. To be extra cautious when you've ordered an item, put the unopened box somewhere out of the way for a day or two before opening it.
If you've bought toys, make sure to wipe them down with a disinfectant. When it comes to clothing, it's good practice to wash it in the hottest temperature water that's safe for the fabric before your baby wears it.
"And put it in the dryer," Carolyn Forte, director of the Home Care & Cleaning Products Lab and the Textiles, Paper and Plastics Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute, told Grow. "Washing and drying should kill anything that's on there."
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