Summer is the time of beer, brats and rummage sales. Across the state, thrifty shoppers are searching for sales every weekend. These sales can offer tremendous bargains – the ability to pick up much-needed items at a reasonable price.
But some things should not be bought at rummage sales. Here are a few examples.
It can be tempting to pick up a car seat at a rummage, especially when it is sold along with a stroller set or other accessories. Don’t do it. You can’t tell from looking at a car seat whether or not it has been in a crash, dropped, or otherwise damaged. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends that seats involved in “moderate or severe” crashes be replaced, even when the seat itself doesn’t look damaged. Be smart – buy a new car seat. If funds are limited, there are programs that make free car seats available to expectant parents. Then make sure it’s installed correctly. Many community police or fire departments offer free “car seat checks.”
That antique crib may look adorable, but older cribs are no bargain. We have seen significant changes in crib design to enhance the safety of our kids. Did you know that adjustable side rails are now banned for safety? Older cribs can also have lead paint on them, a known hazard. They also can have slats that are too far apart, or simply have become loose with age and use creating an entrapment hazard. Side rails should not be more than 6 cm apart. If you do find a deal on a modern crib, be sure to tighten all screws, check for safety and recalls, and purchase a new mattress that fits tightly.
Ladders and Tools
The do-it-yourselfer knows that rummages are a great place to find tools and ladders. But these bargains can sometimes include items that have been recalled due to safety concerns. The last thing you want is a saw whose blade falls off, or a ladder you can’t trust. If you’re purchasing these items at a garage sale, take time to check to see if the items have been recalled. Some manufacturers will send you a repair kit even if you weren’t the original purchaser. Some will advise not using the item at all. Either way, you are keeping you and your family safe.
So enjoy your summer sales, but be a smart consumer. Use caution when buying and keep everyone safe!