We get it! Your baby things are precious and it's only natural that you want to hang onto them. You might be waiting for a future sibling, or for a family member to start their family. Many people hang onto clothing, equipment and furniture in this hope, but there are a few gotchas we want to help you avoid.
Clean before you store
You really never know how long things might end up in storage for, so it's always wise to clean everything before you put it away. Please read this post for some cleaning tips.
Anything dirty or damp will attract vermin or mould. Wash things well, dry thoroughly and store in plastic bags or containers.
And what if you don't?
A dirty highchair is guaranteed to attract cockroaches. A pram or car seat left in the back of the garage could become a cozy home for spiders or mice.
The materials that baby goods are made from perish with time. Car seats are made from plastic moulding that weakens with age and heat (think of how hot the inside of your car can become).
Plastic becomes brittle with age, and when it breaks it can snap and leave a sharp edge that could pose a laceration hazard, or there is the risk of a fall. Think of the amount of plastic used in a highchair or change table and imagine your little one hurting themselves when strapped in helplessly.
As a rough guide you should not use a cot, car restraint or highchair that is more than 10 years old. Prams are built to last a little longer, but you should get it serviced by a reputable service as bearings wear out, axles buckle, and fabric frays.
If you are considering using a second hand child car restraint there are a few things to consider:
- Does the restraint meet Australian Standards?
- Are you aware of the history of the restraint? Restraints that have been in an accident should not be used.
- Does the restraint come with all parts, including the instruction booklet?
- Is the restraint less than 10 years old? Child restraints over 10 years old should not be used – you can find the date of manufacture printed on the restraint.
- Is the restraint in good condition with no splits, cracks or stress marks on the restraint shell and no frayed, worn or damaged straps?
And what about clothing. You may think that your beautiful baby clothing will look beautiful forever. But when you drag a dozen cardboard boxes down from the attic that were put into storage in the 80s you might see that even baby clothing is influenced by the fashion of the day.
But that is not really the point if all the snap studs have rusted, all the elastic has perished and the milk stains around the neck lines of the newborn clothing have had 40 years to settle.
Safety Standards are critical
When it comes to most equipment and nursery furniture there are safety standards that are regularly reviewed.
The cot you slept in is not safe for your child. The standards are very important because they are the guide against which the product safety standards work and every year dozens of products that have been sold in the Australian market are recalled.
It's very hard for parents to follow all the safety recalls, which is why we created the Baby Safe App. This app has many products sold today, their safety manuals, videos, and links to supplier contact information.
Don't accept that cot from your sister-in-law until you have checked that it's safe to use. Make sure you have the correct assembly instructions (using Baby Safe or by contacting the manufacturer) and ensure you have all the correct bolts and glide pins.
How to donate mindfully
When you understand that the useful life of many of the items you buy is not much more than ten years, you might realise that donating is smarter than hanging on to things.
So please read this blog about why freshly laundered matters. Even if you washed every item of clothing or linen before storing them securely in air tight bags or containers, we still recommend that you wash them again.
And if you have any items that have safety standards, please check before donating. These include bassinets, bouncers, carriers, change tables, cots, car seats, highchairs, safety gates, travel cots and prams. You can use our Baby Safe App or simply email us.
Thank you in advance for your generous donations and we look forward to seeing you at St Kilda Mums.
Written by Jessica Macpherson, December 2020