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Product Safety

Garage sales and second-hand stores are a great way to save money. But sometimes, the items you find here are older and are not as safe as those that you buy brand new at the store. Below is a list of items that are often found in homes even though they are not safe.

Cribs: You should not use a crib that is more than 10 year old. It could have worn or missing parts, and could be missing warnings or instructions. Always follow the manufacturer’s recommended weight and height limits.

Car Seats: An older car seat could come apart in a crash, and may not be safe to use. Depending on the make and model, car seats can be used safely for 5 to 9 years. Always check the expiry date on the label. All car seats must meet the Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standard and have a label that shows this standard was met.

Baby Walkers: The use of baby walkers is now illegal in Canada. There is no safe way to use baby walkers and if used for too long they might even slow your child’s development. Use a stationary activity center or an ‘exersaucer’ instead.

Bunk Beds: Spaces between the guardrails on the top bunk should be no more than 9cm (3 ½ inches) apart. There are no Canadian standards for bunk beds, so it is recommended that only bunk beds with an American Safety Standard label be bought. It is not safe for kids under 6 years old to sleep on the top bunk.

Helmets: If a helmet is more than 5 years old, has been in a crash or its history is unknown, it is not safe to use. Make sure you use the right type and size helmet for your child’s activity.

Playpens: Wooden playpens with more than 6 cm between the slats are not safe. If your playpen has mesh, the weave should be very small like mosquito netting. The playpen also needs to have locks that keep the top rails from falling down.

Sleepwear: Check to see that sleepwear is snug fitting at the wrists. Outfits made of polyester rather than cotton are best in order to reduce the chance of catching fire.

Strollers and Carriages: Strollers sold in Canada need breaks that work, safety belts, tightly fitted wheels and locks on folding models. Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the child’s weight and height.

Safety Gates: Older models of safety gates may have large diamond or V-shaped openings that can trap little heads or necks. Install safety gates according to the manufacturer’s instructions and never use a pressure gate at the top of the stairs.

Toys: To check if a toy is too small and might be a choking hazard, drop it through an unused toilet paper roll. Anything that fits inside the tube is too small for children under 3. Check all toys to make sure that there are no small parts that children can pull off or swallow.

Before getting rid of an unsafe item it is always best to take it apart. Put all the pieces into separate trash bags to keep someone else from re-using the item.

No matter what the item is, always make sure that you:
  • Watch your child
  • Check for recalls
  • Keep items in good repair
  • Mail warranty and registration information
  • Check for missing labels, parts and instructions
  • Use item only how they are supposed to be used.