MINNEAPOLIS — It's officially garage sale shopping season! Your neighbors have just finished spring cleaning and have made it easy for you to buy gently used items.
But you shouldn't buy everything you see at a garage sale, especially if you're a parent.
Julie Philbrook, a trauma prevention specialist with Hennepin Healthcare, offers the do's and don'ts of garage sale shopping for your little kids.
First, car seats are an absolute no. That's because the expiration date has more than likely passed. In general, car seats expire six to 10 years from the date of manufacture. Plus, the seat could have been in a car crash.
Now on to the caution list. Philbrook says bike helmets, high chairs, dressers, cribs, and crib mattresses top that list. These items go through frequent recalls and a lot of wear and tear.
For instance, you can't buy some cribs anymore because they have an illegal drop-side feature. You really shouldn't buy a crib that's more than 10 years old.
Bike helmets expire every five to six years. Again, the helmet could have been in a crash.
Some things are just better to buy new.
"As long as it's a reputable company, you don't have to spend and get top dollar to get the safest," said Philbrook.
Don't worry; you can still buy items for your kids like clothing and toys.
You can even make garage sale shopping a fun lesson.
"If you have an older child, get their phone out and pull up a manufacturing name and do a little investigation. Have them put in the serial number and the expiration date and teach them how to be good consumers," said Philbrook.
Another good tip is reading the instructions for what you buy. If instructions aren't with the item, you can find them online.
You can also use the Consumer Product Safety Commission to check out recalls.
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