Before You Hit That Rummage Sale: Safety Tips for Buying Used Toys

Swap meets, rummage or garage sales, flea markets, and even online shops provide the perfect opportunity to get items at bargain prices. Saving money might sound sweet but when it comes to certain items, buying used carries some risks. This is especially true with toys, which might have been recalled or contain parts that pose a risk of injury.

The following are things to look for (and should cause one to rethink the purchase) in used toys: 

  • missing pieces;
  • sharp edges;
  • peeling paint;
  • broken parts; and
  • lack of durability.

Whether it’s a used or new toy, it’s also important to look for parts that can detach easily such as buttons, snaps, beads, eyes, and other pieces/parts. These are choking hazards, especially for younger children. Also make sure the child is age-appropriate for toys with strings or straps, as these could lead to strangulation.

Do some research or just pass on older toys that don’t come with instructions or age guidelines. They may have come with warnings or may not be suitable for a particular age but you would never know because few people retain this paperwork.

It’s also important to check and see if the toy has been recalled. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) allows users to perform a search on recalls by entering the name of the product, company or searching through categories, such as toys.

Keep in mind that antique and vintage toys might strike a chord of nostalgia with you but again, you may need to pass on them. They could contain lead, which poses a health hazard to children. With toys it is most often found in lead-based paint—which was banned in 1978—but anything manufactured before that or imported from another country where lead isn’t banned could expose children.

If a defective or dangerous toy has caused injuries to a child, contact an attorney to learn more about legal options. The law firm of Gacovino, Lake & Associates can help parents explore and establish liability to recover compensation for damages.

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