Keep It or Ditch It? What You Can & Can’t Reuse for Baby Number Two

white baby girl in car seat with siblings behind her iStock

Holding on to baby gear for your next child is a smart move, saving you both money and time. Unless these items pose a risk to your child’s health or safety. So pack up the baby clothes, books and toys and then read on to find out how to safely reuse baby gear for your next child.


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A word of caution: For anything you keep, check to make sure there have not been any recalls, that no pieces are missing, and that everything is intact and in good working order before you sacrifice storage space to it.

What to Ditch

toddler girl with two pacifiers in her mouth - should you reuse baby gear
iStock

Mattresses
There is some evidence that used crib mattresses pose an increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome. While the risk is higher from mattresses from a different home, there is still a slightly increased risk of SIDS when a mattress is reused by a sibling. Additionally, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies sleep on a firm, flat surface. Many mattresses become soft and develop divots with use. This means used mattresses may be unsafe.

Nipples
Nipples for baby bottles are usually made from silicone or rubber, and both substances break down over time. They can also degrade after exposure to heat from repeated washings. For this reason, you should replace nipples for baby number two.

Pacifiers
Like nipples, pacifiers are normally made from materials that do not stand the test of time. There is also a risk that older pacifiers may break off of their base, posing a choking hazard. Given how inexpensive pacifiers are, it makes sense to replace them all. 

Think Before You Keep

white baby girl in car seat with siblings behind her
iStock

Car Seats
It’s never a good idea to buy a used car seat, since there is no way to be sure its safety wasn’t compromised in an accident. However, if you want to reuse an older sibling’s car seat, it might be safe to do so. The most important thing to check is that the car seat has not expired. If the car seat is past its use-by date, or if it has ever been in an accident, get rid of it. Otherwise, it’s usually safe to use a car seat for a younger sibling as long as all parts are intact. Keep in mind that car seat technology is constantly evolving, so even if your old car seat is still in good shape it might be a good idea to invest in a new car seat with better safety features. 

Breast Pump
It’s perfectly safe for many mothers to reuse their own breast pumps for a second child. All parts should be sterilized and checked for signs of mold before use. Most parts can be sterilized by placing them in boiling water for 5 minutes or using a specially designed microwavable pouch. It is not safe to use a breast pump that has previously been used by another woman, with the exception of hospital-grade pumps. There is a risk of contamination from bacterial or viral particles that can make a baby sick. Many insurance companies cover a new breast pump for each pregnancy, so check your coverage before making a decision.

Keep It

white baby smiling with hat on and stroller, hiking with family -- reuse baby gear
iStock

And now for the good news about how to reuse baby gear the safe way.

Crib
Most cribs are sturdy and can safely be used for multiple children, as long as the mattress is replaced. Make sure your old crib meets current safety standards and check for recalls. If there are features now considered unsafe, such as drop sides or large spaces between slats, it’s time for a new crib. Otherwise, reusing a crib can save you a bundle. 

High Chair 
High chairs may get dirty, but most are built to take a beating. As long as your high chair has no broken parts, remains stable and there is no risk of baby sliding out, it’s likely safe for you to reuse this essential item. 

Stroller 
Strollers are one of the most reused items for second babies for good reason! Well-made strollers last a long time and remain functional even if the fabric fades. Unlike car seats, safety features have not changed much over time. If you don’t need to upgrade to a double stroller once a new bambino appears on the scene, chances are good it’s perfectly safe to use your stroller for another child.  

Bottles
Most baby bottles can be cleaned and sterilized easily. That means it’s safe to use them for multiple babies. But make sure to replace those nipples.

Slings and Carriers
Baby slings, wraps and carriers generally hold up over time. As long as there are no broken buckles and straps remain taut, it’s likely safe to reuse your favorite carrier.

Playmat

Babies need a lot of tummy time. Luckily, most play mats and baby gyms can be cleaned and reused safely.

Baby Bath
If your baby bathtub is free of cracks and mold there is no reason it can’t be used again! 

Cloth Diapers
Although there may be a little bit of a “yuck” factor, cloth diapers are safe to reuse for a second child. It’s very easy to wash cloth diapers and make them good as new. 

Bouncers
Baby bouncers are a lifesaver for many parents of newborns, since they give their arms a much needed break. As helpful as they are, this essential piece of gear is relatively simple. That means there is not much that can go wrong, making most safe to reuse for your next baby.

RELATED STORIES:
25 Smart Ways to Save Big During Baby’s First Year

Money-Saving Mom Hacks: Creative Uses for Old Baby Items
11 Ways to Repurpose Your Old Baby Gear

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