Offering "gently used" items for baby shower - tacky or unsafe?

So I’m going to the baby shower of a very close friend next month, and I’ve found the high chair that my friend registered for on ebay. The item is described as “like new” and “slightly used”, and its also near where I live so I could go and pick it up myself.

So … I was thinking of writing my friend and asking if she would like the used high chair as a shower present, then she could take it off her registry and replace it with another $50 item. I figure this way she gets another big-ticket item, and my money goes to a family instead of a retailer. My question is, would this be either tacky or unsafe? I think I’ve read somewhere that you should not buy a used car seat, would this also apply to high chairs? And if it is safe, would you find this horribly tacky? I remember her husband talking about how overpriced baby stuff is, and I remember them talking about picking up used stuff for a pregnant relative, but at the same time this is a shower and people seem to have certain expectations about shower presents.

I’ll also add that I have a small budget for my gift, since I’m also flying in for the shower. So this isn’t between a new chair and a used chair, its between a used chair and a new boxed baby toy.


Your friend may want everything new. She may think it’s a wonderful idea. That is her choice and good on you for asking her rather than just turning up with it.

My child has grown to robust good health on secondhand gear. I would not have owned *any *baby furniture at all if I had insisted on “new or nothing”

The car seat thing is a safety issue. You don’t want worn strapping being the only thing between the baby and a sudden trip through the windshield.

A “slightly used” high chair should be fine with a good disinfectant wipe-down.

I’d take a look at the high chair before asking your friend about it, just in case the sellers are fudging on the description.

But ya know what? If the chair is indeed “like new”, I’d clean it, put a big bow on it and take it to the shower. No need to tell anyone it’s been used. Since it’s the one she registered for, you don’t have to worry about a store receipt, since she won’t be returning it. If it costs less than what you were planning to spend, get her something else in addition.

But maybe that’s tacky!

It’s a good idea to ask your friend first because otherwise, someone will probably also buy it off the registry, and then she’ll have two. She’ll have to return the new one, because she won’t be able to return the used one.

Me, personally, I wouldn’t mind a used high chair if it was perfectly clean. But I generally don’t mind used merchandise in good condition, while other people find it gross. Worth checking with the mother-to-be.

I’d just ask her up-front. Personally I loved second-hand items (bought both cribs and high chairs at thrift stores) and hand-me downs (two strollers that way, including one that was given at a baby shower), but you never know when something will skeeve a person out. People get a little freaky with babies, especially their first.

It wouldn’t be unsafe unless it was so beat up as to be likely to collapse, or harm the baby in other ways. The reason why they recommend against used car seats is if the seat is old and the plastic may be deteriorating and thus not as able to hold up in a crash, or if it’s been in a crash that you don’t know about and thus sustained possibly-not-visible damage (like a bike helmet, it’s recommended you replace a car seat after a crash).

I think your instinct to ask first is a good one. She’ll most likely be very pleased with the chair and appreciative that you asked her first.


I don’t mind second hand baby stuff - I would mind a high chair I didn’t know where it came from. I’d take a high chair from my cousin or sister, not from eBay. I don’t know why - food, strangers cleanliness and a first baby maybe?

I lean toward thinking this is tacky for a shower gift. Could you call or email her and point her to the ebay link? Then if she thinks this is a great deal, she can buy it. Or maybe she’ll say “Oooh, get me that for a shower gift!” I think one reason it could be tacky is that not everyone will have your good judgment about when a used item is perfectly fine.

I think it’s a great idea, but you’re right to ask her. I would definitely disinfect it first.

Neither tacky nor unsafe.

No one I know would have any problem with a used chair - several of them pre-approved getting used items rather than new, to reduce the budgetary burden on their friends.

I think asking her ahead of time is a good idea. If she’s OK with it then no one else needs to know.

I happen to have that very chair and I like it a lot! I used it for a while for my first child and it is holding up very well. The whole thing is very easy to keep clean and wipes right off, I would not hesitate to buy it used. You are right to ask her first though, then she will know to take it off her registry. I wouldn’t buy it for her and try to pass it off as new.

No harm in asking. I would be happy to get an item that way, it enables her to get more of the other items off her registry.

We got tons of hand me downs at our Baby Shower and were totally grateful. We have had to buy hardly anything in the first 5 months of my baby’s life. I am absolutely into the idea of recycling things because babies are really expensive, so you defray the childrearing costs of one family while providing the needs for another. It spreads the love all around rather than giving straight to some corporate establishment while perfectly good items go in the trash every day.

Thanks guys, I sent her a note, to which she replied:

I have to admit this isn’t just about the money, I’ll save about $25 off the new chair but I could have afforded the new one if I really wanted to. It’s just that I like the idea of buying 2nd hand when possible, and since the item is local to me (my friend is in another city) it’s an easy swap. I sell on craigslist sometimes and if everyone wanted NWT all the time then people like me wouldn’t have a market. And exactly what mswas said, what better way to spread the love and good fortune.

Velma, thanks for the review, I’m happy to know that I’ll be able to get her a quality item that will get used. I’d much rather get her that then some baby clothes, she has many relatives nearby, including all 4 grandparents, so I’m sure she’ll get plenty of cute new clothes as shower and Christmas presents.

Cool. It will be a great gift and she’ll get lots of use out of it.

(And I don’t think its unsafe or anything - just a little ooked out for no valid reason - and I know a LOT of parents who ook out easier than I do).