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Don't buy cribs, car seats second hand at yard sales
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Yard sales are a wonderful and mutually beneficial thing, especially in these economic times. One party gets a needed item at a drastically reduced price, the other party gets to help their fellow man while making a little money that helps them out as well.

This being said, there are a couple of items that are never a good idea to get second hand, whether at yard or garage sales, or consignment stores: car seats and cribs.

It is possible for car seats to have been in an accident and have no visible damage, yet still have been compromised enough to allow injury to a child if it were in another accident. Also, car seats have expiration dates and are generally only good for five years after the manufacture date, due to the fact that plastic deteriorates over time.

Cribs may be missing parts that are not obvious, yet vital for safety, or may have been part of the numerous recalls of cribs over the past several years. It is now illegal to sell or resell any drop-side crib due to the numerous injuries and worse to infants and toddlers using them; many people may be unaware of this.

Older cribs may fail to satisfy other safety regulations such as that crib slats may not be more than 2 Ø inches apart; that lead paint may not be used; and that there be no decorative cutouts that babies may become trapped in.

Relatively inexpensive car seats may be found at retail stores, some of which have layaway, which might make it easier to purchase either a crib or car seat. A crib is an item that is not necessary till a baby is a few months old, if at all, though generally presented otherwise.

A baby up to three months old may use a bassinet, providing more time to save up for or pay off a crib on layaway. For those having trouble affording these items, there are organizations that can help. For car seat assistance, for example, there is SafeKids of Hall County (www.safekidsgainesville For crib assistance, United Way can offer referrals to agencies that help people get baby items.

There are many things that are OK and even a good idea to buy second hand, making things easier on ourselves and others in these difficult financial times. But car seats and cribs and items on which we depend to help protect our children, are not among them.

Jennifer Hall

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