Don't pass along recalled items
A: Times have changed so much since you had babies, even if they are still in high school. What seemed perfectly fine back then is now considered unsafe. Today, babies younger than 2 or toddlers small for their age should stay in backward-facing car seats, and cribs with drop sides, bumpers, and fluffy bedding are not recommended.
It's common to want to help young families by giving them hand-me-down baby clothes and furniture. But don't take your brother and sister-in-law's actions personally. They are simply doing their best to keep their kids safe. Safety is more important than free furniture, and in this situation, it's absolutely OK to look a gift horse in the mouth.
In addition to the U.S. Consumer Protection Safety Commission's website, www.cpsc.gov, recalls are sometimes listed in newspapers or on manufacturers' websites. Before buying baby furniture or toys, as well as sporting equipment and many household goods, look online.
Shopping for new items from reputable retailers helps, but it's possible that recently recalled items are still on shelves. Buying used items is far riskier because, since they don't know what else to do with them, sometimes people give recalled items to charities or rummage sales.
Congratulations on soon becoming an uncle again.
Jennifer Adams is a designer, author, and TV personality.
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