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Parents Be Aware: Buying used items that may be recalled

Recalled items can slip through cracks in resale
Posted at 9:46 AM, Jan 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-25 02:34:34-05

Secondhand shopping is now easier than ever thanks to the internet, but News5 Investigates found many times buyers are left in the dark over what's safe and what's not.

Buying used or second hand is a great option if you have kids or are set to become a new parent because you can score items for half the price of buying them new. The problem is if you aren't careful some of the items for sale have been recalled or flagged as a safety hazard.

"Obviously you need a lot when you are starting out and it helps to have some things that are maybe a little less expensive," said Tonya Jones the co-owner of Colorado Springs Mom Collective, a local blog that's become a resource for area parents with 30 local moms contributing content.

She warns, a lot of used items floating around on resale websites could be dangerous if parents don't do their research.

"They are just trying to clean out a storage room or their babies are growing so a lot of times the seller doesn't even consider that, but as a buyer you should always consider that," said Jones.

Jones is especially concerned when it comes to used car seats. The National Traffic Highway Safety Administration recommends car seats be replaced after a crash.

"Often times especially if you are looking at like a car seat and stroller combo and you think oh that's such a great deal, but you don't know if that's been in a car accident, you don't know where it's coming from. I always think if you are going to go the used route for a car seat maybe get it from a close family member that you know the history of that car seat," said Jones.

Experts say laws that require companies to pull recalled items from the shelf also make it illegal to resell those recalled items, but some slip through the cracks.

"So yes it is illegal, but people do illegal things every day," said University Misourri-Kansas City Law Professor Judy Popper.

For example, when searching online for the Fisher Price Rock n Play infant sleeper, the item that was recalled last year tied to more than 70 infant deaths, Consumer Reports found countless recalled sleepers *still* for sale online. Amazon and eBay made the decision to ban all infant inclined sleepers, even ones that haven't been recalled.

"Facebook marketplace is the new wild wild west to make a buck," said Brett Horn.

Horn and his wife founded the non profit Charlie's House 12 years ago after a 32-inch dresser tipped over on top of their son Charlie and took his life. While the product was not recalled at the time, Horn says it was not up to safety standards.

"Take it from me as a parent who has lost a child to a consumer product that was not built in a safe enough manner, I would do anything I could to take that opportunity to investigate that further," said Horn.

Jones says there's some easy steps parents can take to start that investigation into the safety of used items.

"Certainly model number is important because models can change. So it might be an older version maybe it has been updated and you really want that newer model instead. So ask a lot of those specific questions and even ask to see the item," said Jones.

While buying clothes and toys on resale websites or at the store can be a great way to save money. Jones says there are certain items that deserve more scrutiny.

"Anything that your baby is going to be in I think is super important and also furniture is really important. Dressers, bookshelves, things that might be in a baby room, or a play room are things that are really important as well," said Jones.

Some of the important questions to ask people selling used baby items are: When did you buy it? Do you have a serial number for the item? The experts say if the seller can't answer those basic questions and if you aren't able to see any packaging or user guides to help determine if a specific model has been recalled, you are buying at your own risk.

For the latest recalls and other consumer information that can help in your research:

Also if would like to read more from Tonya Jones and the contributors of Colorado Springs Mom Collective:
Instagram: @cospringsmoms