Can You Sell Used Baby Cribs and Mattresses? (Or Give Them Away?)

Many parents rely on second-hand items to furnish their nursery; however, even the thriftiest of parents may think twice about purchasing a used crib or crib mattress. Can used baby cribs and mattresses be sold and used second-hand?

Used baby cribs and mattresses can be resold if they meet current federal safety standards. In general, cribs originally purchased before 2011 are not considered safe, but you should carefully review the current regulations. Before selling or purchasing a used crib, you should also perform a careful review and inspect the crib for any damage.

Continue reading to learn more about the current requirements for baby cribs, how to assess the safety and condition of a crib and crib mattress, and how to sell or donate these items.

Can used baby cribs be sold?

Though experts such as the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend purchasing a new crib, there is still a market for gently used cribs. Not all families are able to afford a new crib. Additionally, some families may find that they are able to get a much nicer crib if they shop second-hand. Purchasing a used crib can be a great option as long as it promotes a safe sleep environment for your baby.

Legally, used baby cribs can be sold if they are in good condition and meet the current crib safety standards set by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

The CPSC set new mandatory standards on June 28, 2011, as a response to an estimated three dozen deaths caused by faulty cribs. Significantly more stringent than the previous standards, these requirements greatly reduced the occurrence of accidental injuries and death due to faulty cribs.

The crib safety regulations mandated by the CPSC in 2011 include:

  • Drop-side cribs are prohibited because they are a strangulation and suffocation risk.
  • Wood slats must be made of stronger wood to prevent injury due to breakage.
  • Hardware must have anti-loosening devices to keep it from loosening or falling apart.
  • Mattress supports must be more durable to ensure cribs can withstand pressure over time.
  • Rigorous safety testing must be implemented to ensure safety and resilience.

Additional requirements for safe cribs provided by the AAP include:

  • The space between slats must be 2 3/8 inches (60 mm) to prevent a child’s head from becoming stuck.
  • No cutouts on the headboard or footboard, because they can trap a child’s head, hands, arms, or legs.
  • No corner posts taller than 1/16th inch, because they may catch clothing, which poses a strangulation risk.
  • All construction materials, including screws and bolts, must be tight and secure; these can weaken over time and should be checked weekly.
  • Lead-free paint to prevent lead poisoning.

Along with meeting these requirements, used cribs should be closely inspected to ensure that there are no damaged or missing pieces. Used cribs in need of repairs should never be sold.

It is also important to be aware of crib recalls. Registering with the manufacturer at the time of purchase will keep you updated with any issues involving your crib. If you are unsure if a crib has been recalled, check with the CPSC Recall List prior to selling.

How much should I sell a used crib for?

If you have a used crib to sell, you’ll want to set a fair price.

People tend to overvalue their used items, which can prolong the selling process. It can be helpful to have a strategy when pricing your crib. 

Some experts suggest going by the 50-30-10 rule when pricing used items.

Pricing a Pre-Owned Crib for Resale

ConditionPercentage of Retail Cost
Unused50%
Lightly Used30%
Well Used10%

For instance, if you are selling a gently used Babyletto Lolly 3-in-1 Convertible Crib, which retails for $399, you would set the price at about $120. 

Another method you can use is to check your local ads to see what cribs are selling for in your area.

Where can I donate a baby crib?

Many donation centers do not accept cribs, because it is too difficult to ensure their safety. Donation centers that do accept baby cribs oftentimes require proof of the manufacturing date.

Here are some organizations and charities that may accept crib donations:

You may also donate your crib directly to a family in need by listing your crib as “free” on a resale website such as Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace.

Passing a crib down to friends or family is always a great option. Knowing where a second-hand item is coming from typically eases anxieties about its condition and cleanliness.

What kind of crib cannot legally be sold or donated?

According to the CPSC’s Reseller’s Guide to Selling Safer Products, it is not lawful to sell cribs that have been recalled or are no longer in adherence with current safety standards.

Check your crib for the following safety hazards:

  • Manufactured before 2011
  • A dropside (even if immobilized)
  • Hardware without anti-loosening devices
  • Missing or damaged hardware
  • Cutouts at the headboard or footboard
  • Corner posts
  • Weak wood slats or mattress support
  • Lead paint

It is important to remember that even if an old crib does not have visible safety concerns, it did not undergo the rigorous testing that is currently standard practice.

What to do with drop-side cribs

In 2011, the CPSC banned the manufacturing, selling, and use of drop-side cribs due to the strangulation and suffocation risk they pose.

Though immobilization hardware kits are available to turn some drop-side cribs into “regular cribs,” the CPSC does not recognize immobilization as a proper solution. Instead, the CPSC and AAP recommend destroying or disposing of drop-down cribs to prevent them from being used or sold illegally. 

Destroying a crib may be difficult, especially if it was an heirloom or antique.

Here are some ideas for upcycling old cribs:

  • Turn your crib into a children’s desk.
  • Use the crib railing as storage for magazines, books, photos, etc.
  • Transform your crib into a bench.
  • Crib railing can be used as a garden trellis.
  • Make a DIY bike rack out of crib parts.
  • Repurpose a crib side into a drying rack.

Can you sell used baby mattresses?

To ensure crib mattresses are safe and sanitary, organizations like the AAP recommend using a new crib mattress.

However, like used cribs, there is a market for second-hand crib mattresses. Unlike cribs, there are no legal concerns associated with selling or donating baby crib mattresses. 

Though legality is not a concern, it is still important to make sure second-hand crib mattresses are in safe, usable condition before selling them. According to Sleep Advisor, here are some ways to determine the condition of a crib mattress:

  • Assess the firmness – Crib mattresses should feel firm. A baby should not sink into their mattress nor should their movements be stifled. A crib mattress that has been worn down may increase the risk of SIDS.
  • Look for indentations – Similar to a soft crib mattress, a mattress with indentations can prevent babies from moving freely, increasing the risk of SIDS.
  • Check for loose threads or tears – Loose threads and exposed filling poses a choking risk. They are also good indicators that a mattress is past its expiration.
  • Evaluate cleanliness – Used mattresses can harbor pathogens from bacteria, mildew, mold, and fungus, which can cause respiratory issues that can lead to SIDS. Bed bugs and other pests may also be a concern. Odors, visible staining, and bugs are signs that a mattress should not be reused.

Along with the overall condition, it is crucial that a crib mattress fits its crib frame. Sellers should list the mattress dimensions. A mattress should not be used if there is space between it and the crib walls.

Where can I donate a crib mattress?

Because crib mattresses do not have the same stringent regulations as crib frames, more donation centers and charities are willing to accept them. This may vary based on location and the condition of your crib mattress.

Here are some organizations and charities to try:

Aside from these groups, you may be able to find a local family in need or donate it to friends or family.

How to clean a used baby mattress

Maintaining a clean mattress while it’s in use will greatly extend the life of a crib mattress. Additionally, using a mattress cover like the Sealy Waterproof Fitted Toddler and Baby Mattress Pad Cover will help prevent accidents that can damage a baby’s mattress.

Before reselling your crib mattress, it is a good idea to do a deep clean.

Here are the steps to completely clean your used crib mattress:

  1. Vacuum – Vacuum your mattress to remove excess dirt and dust. Be sure to get both sides and the edges.
  2. Scrub – Mix one-quarter cup of hypoallergenic laundry detergent with a few gallons of water. Use a soft-bristled brush to scrub the mattress. Do not saturate the mattress with the cleaning solution
  3. Rinse – Using warm water and a clean cloth, remove the excess detergent and residue from the mattress. It is important to rinse the mattress thoroughly.
  4. Disinfect – Spray the mattress with rubbing alcohol, focusing on visibly soiled areas. Rubbing alcohol will kill bacteria and does not need to be rinsed.
  5. Odor & stain removal – Mix equal parts vinegar, lemon juice, and water. Apply the solution to stains or areas that have an odor. Apply baking soda heavily soiled regions. Let the mattress sit for 30 minutes. Vacuum the mattress thoroughly.
  6. Dry the mattress – Blot the mattress with a dry towel to remove excess water. Allow the mattress to dry for several hours in a place with light and good airflow. Putting a mattress in the tumble dryer is almost never recommended. A hairdryer may be used if necessary. Make sure the mattress is completely dry before putting it in a crib or storage.

Reusing a crib mattress for a second baby

Reusing a crib mattress for your second baby can save you money, and it can be less worrisome than purchasing a used mattress because you know its history.

If you are expecting to reuse a crib mattress in the future, here are storage tips:

  • Clean and fully dry the mattress before putting it into storage.
  • Keep the mattress out of moist environments that can promote mold growth.
  • Avoid sunlight and hot temperatures which can prematurely break down its materials.
  • Store the mattress in plastic or its original packaging. Consider purchasing a zippered crib mattress storage bag.

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