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Natural Awakenings Bucks and Montgomery Counties PA

Warnings for Secondhand Shoppers: Safety and Quality Control Tips

Aug 31, 2022 09:30AM ● By Sheila Julson
Person wearing secondhand purchased clothing including hat, jacket and pants next to a used children's toy spinning top

Renthel Cueto/; Anthony/

Children’s Items 

• When purchasing toys or children’s furniture, parents should check for safety recalls and be sure the product contains no lead paint, recommends WebMD. Check for broken or missing parts and make sure the item is stable. Products manufactured many years ago may not have the same safety features as newer items.

• Avoid car seats and booster seats which may have been involved in an accident. The same is true for bicycle and motorcycle helmets. Federal safety standards for cribs frequently change, so avoid used pieces if they are more than a few years old. 


• The condition of items donated to thrift stores or posted by resellers can vary greatly, from brand-new items to well-worn pieces, notes LifeSavvy. Carefully check the item, especially under the sleeves and the inseams, for stains, tears, third-hand smoke odors or other defects.

• Whether shopping for secondhand clothing in person or online, Glamour UK recommends  ignoring the size on the label of vintage items, because they can vary greatly. When unable to try a garment on, check the measurements. Many vintage sellers on Etsy post them along with the label size.

Secondhand wooden chair with headphones on it next to chest with used radio on top of it

Skylar Kang/



• Consumer Reports recommends buying local for large items like furniture to avoid shipping costs and allow for close personal inspection.


• For those unable to afford or justify the cost of a new $1,000 smartphone, Apple, Best Buy and Walmart sell refurbished phones, computers and TVs on their websites at a reduced cost. If using an E-commerce seller of refurbished electronics, make sure it uses programs such as CheckMEND to be sure the item wasn’t stolen. 

pImage courtesy of AshevilleToolLibraryorgbrp

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