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Published on September 11, 2013

Bargain or Bust?

September 11, 2013

As summer winds down, many people make a last push to organize their homes by having a garage sale to get rid of unwanted items. Making rounds at neighborhood sales can be a great way to pick up bargains. But a health-conscious consumer needs to be aware of items that should be avoided. Test your savvy with this buyer’s guide: buy or pass?

Cribs & Car Seats: Pass.

Never bargain with your child’s health. Regulations on both cribs and car seats continually change, so be sure to confirm the most current recommendations for every child rather than using hand-me-downs. If a car seat was installed in a vehicle involved in an accident, purchase a new seat; damage may not be visible.

Hats & Shoes: Debatable.

Many vintage items, such as shoes and hats can be safe if they can be properly washed or dry cleaned. However, germs or even lice can luck inside hats, so weigh the health risks for your family against a single item. Be sure to pass on other personal items such as sleepwear or bathing suits.

Sports Equipment: Pass.

All helmets and other sporting goods that guard against impact injuries should be purchased new for best protection. A used helmet that offers less-than-optimal protection could result in far more costly medical expenses.

Mattresses & Sheets: Debatable.

Most linen can be cleaned and sanitized, but items such as pillows and mattresses could harbor bacteria, mold or other contaminants. Invest in a new mattress every seven years for the best night’s sleep – and flip your mattress at least twice a year to even out the wear. If you purchase secondhand linens, wash them in hot water and dry using the longest cycle. 

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