Parents welcoming their second child into the world are always asking themselves which items they can reuse from the first go around to save money. Likewise, thrifty first-time parents are probably wondering which baby items they can purchase used. While everyone knows that car seats can expire and shouldn’t usually be purchased used I thought I would take a look at whether or not strollers expire and the options for buying and selling them.
Nearly all baby stroller brands have no official expiration date according to their manufacturers. Unlike car seats, as long as the stroller is in good repair and is new enough to include the latest safety features and other amenities it can be used regardless of age. Secondhand strollers should be carefully inspected and researched before purchase and use.
There was such a big gap between my twins and my son that we, unfortunately, didn’t have a lot of our old baby gear to reuse. That’s a shame because baby strollers can get very expensive! Let’s explore why strollers don’t expire, tips for buying a used stroller, and even what to do with an old stroller that you no longer need.
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Why don’t baby strollers expire?
Expiration dates are meant to keep people safe, plain and simple.
While everyone should understand that drinking milk that is way past its expiration date is probably not good for your health, things become a little less obvious when you start talking about items like car seats, strollers, cribs, and other durable baby stuff.
It’s highly unlikely that you’ll ever find an expiration date on a stroller because the parts used to build it take a very long time to fail under most circumstances. Even then, if the stroller is broken then you simply stop using it. A broken stroller isn’t going to make anyone sick or cause problems. Of course, accidents can happen and even something like a stroller can look perfectly fine one minute and then fall apart the next.
Most strollers are made from metal, plastic, and fabric. Over time metal could rust, plastic can become brittle, and fabric can become thin and prone to ripping. With that being said, this process doesn’t happen overnight and with proper care and normal usage, your average stroller should last you many years.
While writing this article I even reached out to the customer support department of Graco, a major manufacturer of baby strollers. When I asked them whether or not their strollers expired they wrote back the following response:
Thank you for contacting Graco Consumer Care, our goal is to provide our consumers with the highest quality and service.Our strollers do not have an expiration date. Each stroller will have a manufacture date to help with recalls & parts. I hope this helps!
Is it okay to buy a used stroller?
Purchasing a used stroller can be a great way to save a few dollars. That’s good because, as a parent, all of those dollars will be very important when buying all of the many other things your sweet bundle of joy requires to get through the day.
Just like buying anything used, you will need to use a lot of common sense. Since safety is a concern with strollers, don’t settle for something that you aren’t 100% comfortable with.
In most cases, you are going to find used strollers that were purchased within the last couple of years (when the baby was born), lightly used (during neighborhood walks), and stored properly indoors. If it looks like the stroller has been left outside or otherwise abused, just pass.
Tips for buying a used stroller
There are many places to look for used strollers. Since it is a big item I would tend to look locally to avoid any shipping costs. In most cases, you can arrange pickup locally with the seller in a mutually convenient spot.
As far as where to look, my personal recommendation is Facebook. Between the parenting, buy/sell, school, church, and other groups you’ll likely find a ton of listings. The biggest benefit, in my opinion, is that with Facebook you at least have an idea of who the person is that you are buying from and you might even know them already!
Still, be sure to meet in a public place during the day if you meeting the seller for the first time. My wife frequently sends me in to make the pickup since I’m so manly and strong (hah!).
Also, do your homework on any model that you are considering by checking into product recalls or any other safety concerns that you might run into. I also like to check reviews of the model on Amazon just to see if recent buyers have complained about it breaking or having other issues. If it’s a really old model, be sure that it has the necessary safety features that new strollers include.
Even if the stroller looks great in the pictures, go ahead and kick the tires in person before handing over the money. Sometimes dishonest sellers can gloss over details such as a loose tire or a mysterious stain on the fabric. I would overlook a few scratches and dings but I won’t ignore outright damage. Be sure to check for:
- Wheels that hold pressure (if it’s a real tire) and don’t wobble
- Wheel locks or brakes are working
- All attachments are included
- Fabric is free of stains and dirt
- Safety straps are securely fastened and the snaps or fastener works
- If it’s stroller be sure your car seat fits!
If there is anything wrong, be prepared to haggle the price down or walk away!
Can I sell a baby stroller?
Of course, you can!
Strollers are one of the most frequently resold baby items because of the fact that they don’t expire and they are generally sturdy enough to last through multiple children. If your stroller is gently used and in great shape then you could likely get a decent resale value out of it.
In general, higher-end brands such as Britax, Uppa Baby, Bugaboo, and Baby Jogger are going to keep more of their value while budget brands such as Graco are likely going to get less. Even though you are selling your stroller to make a buck, don’t forget that the person buying it from you might be in a much tighter spot financially than you were when you bought a new stroller so try not to rip anyone off!
Can I trade in my old stroller for a new one?
Many of the big retailers (Walmart, Target, etc.) offer trade-in programs at certain times of the year for car seats but finding a trade-in program for strollers won’t be as easy. The only reason car seats get special treatment is because they DO expire and retailers would rather give you a credit for turning your old one in to secure your purchase of a new one at their store.
Your biggest opportunity for ‘trading in’ a stroller would likely be a local consignment store. Instead of actually trading it, you will just get store credit or cash that you can use to buy other baby stuff. Having a great relationship with a consignment store is a great way to pick up items on the cheap that you can’t find elsewhere. Since they only take high-quality and clean baby gear, you are likely to find good stuff there.
Personally, we always take the credit because you usually get more credit than you would cash and we love to turn around and spend it on other stuff!
Do pawn shops take baby strollers?
While it’s probably not the best bang for your buck, nearly all pawnshops should offer you cash for a stroller, especially if it’s on the higher end and in great condition. My personal recommendation, however, is to bring it to a consignment store if you still need baby items down the road because you can usually get more in-store credit than you could in cash at a pawn store.
Can you recycle strollers?
Yes and no.
Manufacturers will rarely, if ever, offer a take-back or recycling program for their strollers and local recyclers probably won’t take it as is to actually recycle the components. Yes, you could break the stroller down into its separate parts and try to recycle it that way (metal, fabric, plastic, etc.) but it will be a pretty tedious task.
If your stroller is still in decent condition then your best bet is to try to sell it, bring it to a consignment store, or just give it away to someone that could get some use out of it. If it’s not in workable shape, then break it down the best you can or call locally to see if anyone else will take it. Please, don’t just drop off a broken stroller at Goodwill and call it a day, by the way. It will just be a waste of their time and they won’t be able to sell it anyway. Goodwill and other thrift stores can only accept quality, working products.