Parents thinking about having a second child or buying secondhand baby stuff have probably wondered if baby swings expire.
Baby swings do not expire and do not have an expiration date, but proper care should be taken when storing them to help them last longer. Pay special attention to any used or secondhand baby swings to ensure there are no broken or damaged pieces that could make them dangerous for your baby.
Since babies tend to accumulate a lot of stuff during the first few years, it only makes sense to try and reuse something like a baby swing to save money on your second baby or buy one secondhand for your first. Let’s dive into these questions and check out some tips for storing a baby swing as well!
Do baby swings expire?
Unlike some other baby products, baby swings do not typically expire or have an expiration date, so you won’t have to worry about using an old swing provided that it is clean and in good repair.
Expiration dates on baby products are meant to help parents avoid putting their baby into a potentially dangerous position. This could include formula or other food that will spoil after a certain amount of time or car seats that have a higher risk of failure over time due to degrading materials.
Baby swings don’t have an expiration date because none of their materials will degrade over time and they aren’t meant to absorb impacts or provide unique safety features for your baby that would need to maintain a certain rating over time.
Just to be clear, by the way, when I say baby swing, I mean the big, often motorized, cradle-style swings that you can put your baby in to soothe, entertain, or help them fall asleep. These contraptions aren’t usually cheap, so it’s definitely an item that we want to be able to keep around for as long as possible.
Instead of worrying about how old a baby swing is because you think it could expire though, you should really only concern yourself about which features the model includes and whether or not it has been well taken care of in the past. Just like any other baby accessory, used baby swings have been exposed to spills, leaky diapers, drool, and who knows what else during normal use. Aren’t baby’s sweet!
How long do baby swings last?
Your average baby swing should be able to last for many years with proper care. In fact, I’ve read anecdotal reports from other parents that they have used baby swings that have been around for 10+ years! This could be a little misleading though if you consider that the swing might only have been used for a few months with one baby and then the motor got a rest for many years before being used again.
In most cases, you should expect a baby swing to last between 2-5 years of normal use before things start to break. Of course, your experience could end up much shorter or longer than this number.
Since the motor is a huge potential point of failure, you really need to think about the amount of time the swing has actually been put into service. In most cases, these parents were using the swings that they originally purchased for their first child, but many others were using hand-me-downs from friends and family or just bought one secondhand to save money. If the motor breaks or goes bad, it’s likely not worth replacing the swing – just get a new one.
I have reached out to two of the biggest manufacturers of baby swings in the market today and will update this post when I have more information about their warranty limitations and timeframes.
Taking care of your baby swing
Most baby swings are going to have a big electric motor, metal or plastic frame, foam padding, cloth covers, and other materials. Each of these can get broken or dirty during normal operation and it’s important to have a care and maintenance routine for your baby swing to keep things running smoothly.
According to Graco, a huge supplier of baby swings, this is what you need to do to take care of your baby swing:
- Check your swing from time to time to ensure that there are no loose screws, worn or bent parts, torn material, or stitching that is coming undone.
- Clean the seat cover by taking the cover off and handwashing. Avoid bleach and check the cleaning tag for other watch-outs.
- Clean the frame by using household soap and warm water. Do not use bleach or laundry detergent.
- Leaving the swing outside in the sun and heat could cause materials to fade or warp over time.
In my personal experience, you need to act quickly if there is a spill or a diaper leak in the seat of your baby swing because you do NOT want it to get down into the padding. Foam padding is extremely hard to clean and you can have issues with odor buildup if you aren’t careful. Milk, especially, will cause foul odors.
When to stop using the baby swing
Always be on the lookout for issues with your baby swing that could prevent your baby from using it. Even though it’s not designed to be safety equipment you certainly don’t want something to fall apart while your baby is using it.
Your baby could still use the swing even if the motor has gone out but any structural issues with the swing itself shouldn’t be overlooked. A bent frame isn’t as strong as one that isn’t bent and just because it worked fine one day doesn’t mean it won’t get worse the next. Your baby will also increase in weight over time and those extra pounds can turn a minor issue into a major one before you know it!
Also, pay attention to the recommended weight and size limitations for your baby swing and be sure to stop using it before you hit the maximum. For most units, you should expect about 30 pounds to be the upper limit on weight.
By the way, I recently looked at how baby swings can make babies dizzy and why that isn’t a good thing. Check it out if you want to learn more!
Buying a used baby swing
It’s perfectly fine to purchase a used baby swing assuming that the unit is in good repair. There is no shortage of used baby goods available on Craigslist, Facebook groups, and consignment shops.
Given that baby swings are so big and heavy I would try at all costs to aim for local purchase and pickup so that you don’t have to worry about paying shipping costs. This also has the added benefit of being able to check out the goods before you buy it.
Unless you are buying from a brick-and-mortar consignment store, you are also unlikely to be able to get a refund if you change your mind about the purchase to be extra careful in those situations not to purchase a lemon. Here are a few tips to avoid getting disappointing when buying a used baby swing:
- Be sure that you see the unit running (swinging). Do NOT take the seller’s word that it will work once you put batteries in the swing – this could easily be a cover for a burnt-out motor.
- Turn all of the other features on/off to make sure they work. This includes music, a spinning mobile, etc.
- Give the swing frame a good look and ensure that there are no missing screws, bent metal, or missing pieces.
- Take a look at the cloth materials to see if they look clean. If you could get away with it without looking weird, give it a casual sniff too!
Once you’ve done all that, declare that the swing isn’t fit for your baby and storm off to set the stage for price haggling.
Pay the poor mom what you agreed on – we’re all just trying to get by here!
How to store a baby swing for the next baby
If you find yourself with a baby swing that you are no longer using but you still want to keep it for your next baby then you’ll need to store it somewhere out of the way. To avoid having issues with the swing when you pull it out for the next child you should take a few extra steps besides just throwing it out in the garage.
Be sure to:
- Remove any batteries from the units! In addition to running out of juice over time, batteries can also bust and leak battery acid. This can cause corrosion and other damage to the swing.
- Take the unit apart and store it in the original box, if possible. Before you disassemble it, go ahead and snap a few pictures just in case you decide to sell it instead of reusing it. This can save you some time and trouble later!
- Wash and dry the cloth covers and any other materials you can get to before storing it for long periods.
- Put the swing inside away from the elements. Try to avoid any excessively damp, dry, or hot places in your house or garage.