It seems like a few days after your baby gets the hang of a new toy or finally fits into that adorable outfit, he has already outgrown your latest purchase and is ready to move on to the next thing. So it makes sense to store these items and save them until your next child – or a friend or family member’s baby – can get more use from them.
Of course, baby gear comes with numerous safety considerations, so putting these items into storage can be tricky. Take a look at these expert tips for safely storing your baby’s gear so it’s ready for a new bundle of joy.
Check for Recalls and Expiration Dates
Baby health and safety recommendations come out fairly frequently, so it’s easy to miss the news that your crib, high chair or car seat is no longer in line with current recommendations. Before you pack larger purchases away, double check that they still adhere to the latest safety regulations, then check again when you take them out of storage.
You should also search for any recalls that might affect a specific product model you own.
“You can easily check your gear by heading to the CPSC [Consumer Product Safety Commission] website,” said Julie McCaffrey, chief baby planner at BabyNav, a baby planning and maternity concierge service based in the tri-state area.
And don’t forget that even if your car seat is safe, it’s probably only good for six to nine years, so long term storage might be a no-go.
“There is a manufacturer sticker that’s usually on the side of every car seat that shows the expiration date. No car seat should be used if it is past that date,” added McCaffrey.
Keep Gear and Accessories Together
Even the simplest baby items can be accompanied by a dozen different accessories. A play yard, for example, can come with a carrying bag, a bassinet, a toy pouch, a canopy and a mobile – just to name a few common items. Convertible cribs often have separate pieces and tools that are required for changing the crib into a toddler bed.
Locate all the necessary accessories for each item and group them together in storage. If you wait until you take them out of storage, you may find that you’re missing certain pieces. And – as McCaffrey pointed out – they may not be replaceable if the manufacturer has released newer models.
Clean and Sanitize
Thoroughly clean any baby gear that has touched food or has been in your baby’s mouth, advised McCaffrey.
It’s a safe bet that most of your baby’s items have been in her mouth, so launder all clothes with a fragrance-free and dye-free detergent, sanitize bottles and thoroughly wipe down the surfaces of toys, strollers, bouncers, high chairs and all other gear.
To prevent mildew and mold, allow everything to dry completely before putting it into storage. Remove any batteries, as they could erode over time and destroy your electronics.
Organize by Age Range
The items a 3-month-old baby needs are completely different from the gear a 9-month-old uses. So if you group together everything for your baby’s first year, you’ll have a lot of sorting to do when you take it out of storage.
Your best bet is to use labeled plastic storage bins to separate all your small and medium-sized items into groupings according to small age ranges, such as 0-3 months, 3-6 months, 6-9 months and so on.