Ultimate guide to buying second-hand baby items

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When you’re welcoming a new baby into the world, the things you need to buy for your little one can quickly add up. Buying pre-loved baby items can be a great way to save some money (and save some items from going to landfill!) but some items are safer than others when it comes to second-hand baby items.

So if you’re trying to save some dough and looking to buy baby items second-hand, or lucky enough to have friends and family offering hand-me-downs, read on to see which items are perfect pre-loved possessions, and which baby items are best bought brand new.

Baby items you can (and should!) buy second-hand


Babies grow out of their clothing so quickly (especially in the first 12 months) so buying second-hand baby clothes is a great way to save some money. Op shops are often teeming with baby clothing, and because babies don’t wear them for very long, you can nab some great quality clean items that have barely been worn.

Look for clothing that’s clean and free of stains, tears and holes, and without adornments like buttons (especially on handmade items). Give everything a thorough wash before you use them.

Baby bath

If you’re opting to purchase a baby bath, you can find plenty of second-hand—especially baby baths that are just designed for newborns, so they won’t have been used for very long. Just avoid second-hand baths that seem mouldy or smell like mildew, or baths that have visible cracks in them (where mould can creep in).


Second-hand prams are a great place to save some money, as prams can take a chunk out of the baby budget. You can research prams online to check the specifications and features, and then narrow your second-hand search based on the type of pram you want.

To ensure the pram is safe, make sure you check the brakes and if there are any damaged or missing parts. Also make sure the fabric seat or coverings don’t have mould or damage (or a rogue banana squished under the seat. Babies are messy!)

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Prices accurate as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

Baby rockers

Another item that babies grow out of quite quickly, baby rockers can also be a second-hand bargain. Again, if you find an item you like second-hand, check the features and specs online and compare against the item. Look for broken parts or any damage before purchasing.


You always seem to need more towels than you think you do when you have a baby, so picking some terry towelling or bath towels second-hand can be a cheap way to stock up. Make sure you give them a thorough clean beforehand.

Baby feet poking through white towel. Photo by Fe Ngo on Unsplash

Sleep suits

When babies grow out of swaddles, sleep suits are often the next stage for parents, and like baby clothing, are a great second-hand buy as brand-new brand-name sleep suits can certainly rack up a tally. Make sure the zippers work and there’s no noticeable damage.


Once baby starts eating solids, bibs will become a necessary purchase, and like towels, you’ll probably need more than you think. Stock up on second-hand if you can. Give cloth bibs a good wash, and if choosing silicone bibs, make sure they’re free of mould with no visible cracks or tears.


Like towels, clothing and bibs, swaddles are a great item to purchase second-hand, too.

Baby monitors

Baby monitors are another great item where you can snag a second-hand bargain. With anything that plugs into a wall socket, always make sure there's no damage to the cords or device, and of course, test before you purchase to make sure it works. If it's been modified or repaired, avoid it.

Baby items you should buy brand new

While there are loads of baby items that can be safely bought second-hand, there’s also a few items that should be purchased brand new for safety reasons.

Car seat

While it’s possible to buy a second-hand car seat, it’s recommended to buy a new one. That’s because safety is paramount when it comes to baby car seats, and second-hand car seats that are old, damaged or an overseas model (and not compliant with Australian safety regulations) can compromise that safety. The NRMA says if you are looking at safe infant car seats, look that it has an Australian Standard AS/NZS 1754 sticker.

When purchasing new car seats, you know exactly how old they are and that there’s no damage.

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Prices are accurate as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

Bath toys

Bath toys are a haven for mould and mildew, so unless the bath toys are easy to clean and unable to trap any water, it’s safer to just buy bath toys new and avoid any bath toys that are hollow inside and trap water. This is how mould thrives.

Breast pumps

There are certain kinds of breast pumps that are okay to purchase second-hand, but open system pumps are not able to be used safely by more than one person. This is where breast milk travels down the tubing. You can’t sterilise the inside of the pump, so they’re not safe to use second-hand. A closed system pump has a barrier between milk and motor, but you’ll still need to replace certain parts of the breast pump kit to ensure it’s safe and hygienic.


It's important that if you do consider a second-hand cot, that it meets the Australian Standard when it comes to safety. It’s possible to buy a safe cot second-hand, but Red Nose Australia has  few tips when it comes to making a safe purchase of cots, bassinets or mattresses for your baby, including:

  • The item has full instructions for assembly and use
  • The product is sturdy and stable
  • There’s no tears or sharp points
  • No changes have been made that could make the item unsafe (like having the wrong sized mattress in a cot)
  • The paint is not lead based.
  • No damage

Products are also sometimes recalled, so it’s best to double check with the ACCC website before you make a purchase.

Baby items where you should proceed with caution

Very old items

Safety standards are updated constantly, so something that was considered safe twenty years ago may not be safe by today’s standards. So if you’re given some very old second-hand items, check that they are still considered safe.

Red Nose is a great resource in Australia when it comes to infant cot and sleep safety in particular.

Handmade items

Like older items, sometimes handmade items are made with the best of intentions, but aren’t always the safest for our littlest family members. Think toys with loosely fastened eyes or buttons, or woolskin rugs that are no longer considered safe for infants.

General tips for buying second-hand baby items

  • Give everything a good wash before you use it. For toys, disinfect them first.
  • Ensure the item is not damage and has no missing parts
  • Research the item online first to compare
  • Ask questions about the condition of the item
  • Check for mould, mildew and stains
  • Ensure there’s no sharp points or edges


It is - depending on what the items are. Clothing, toys, prams and baths are all fine to purchase second-hand (as long as you give them a good clean, of course, and they’re of good quality)  but things like car seats and medical items you’re better off buying new.

Clothing, baby baths, prams, baby rockers, towels, sleep suits, bibs, swaddles and baby monitors are all generally safe to get second hand, as long as they have been thoroughly cleaned and are in good condition.

For safety and hygiene reasons, it's best to buy the following items brand new:

  • Car seat
  • Bath toys
  • Breast pumps
  • Cots

Very old items and handmade items may also be unsuitable, so proceed with caution.

Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time of publish and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on the retailer’s website at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. SafeWise Australia utilises paid affiliate links.
Kate Reynolds
Written by
Kate Reynolds is a writer who's at her happiest when there's haloumi on the brunch menu and a dog to give pats to. She's worked as a travel writer, journalist, theatre reviewer, broadcaster and radio creative, and spends her weekends with as much of the aforementioned haloumi and dogs as possible. She writes on Cammeraygal and Wangal land.

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