Buyers beware, sellers take care to ensure used items at garage sales don’t pose a hazard to children.
Courtesy of the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit
Handle with care, whether you are organizing a garage sale or attending one to hunt for bargains.
Used and out-of-date items – especially for children – can be dangerous, especially if they no longer meet current safety standards. In these situations, the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit advises that unsafe items should never be sold at garage sales, but instead dismantled, destroyed or thrown out.
In particular, children’s products such as car seats, cribs, playpens, strollers, walkers, baby gates/barriers, sports equipment, bike helmets and toys should thoroughly be checked for potential hazards. If there are any doubts about the safety or durability of these items, it is best to throw them out. For children’s items like car seats, cribs and helmets, the Health Unit recommends buying ‘new,’ since these products will still be under warranty and meet current safety standards.
There is added reason to dispose of unsafe items before trying to sell them at a garage/yard sale. Anyone caught selling an item that fails to meet safety standards could be held responsible if someone is injured by it.
• The Canada Consumer Products Safety Act forbids the sale, distribution or giveaway of products – both new and used – that may pose a danger to people’s health or safety. In the case of selling unsafe items at a garage sale, a person could be held legally responsible.
• While most childhood injuries are predictable and preventable, Parachute Canada notes that injuries remain the leading cause of death for children in Canada and a leading cause of hospitalization.
“If you are planning a garage sale, don’t sell out on safety. Many older products may be past their best-before or expiry dates and no longer meet specific regulatory rules. In these cases, it is best to throw the items out. While it’s true one person’s trash may be someone else’s treasure, if that item is hazardous or unsafe, then it just belongs in the garbage.” – Shelley Shaughnessy, Family Health Nurse, HKPR District Health Unit
• Health Canada Product Recalls and Alerts – www.healthycanadians.gc.ca
• Garage Sale Safety – www.hkpr.on.ca/InfoSet/BabiesChildren/InjuryPrevention/GarageSaleSafety.aspx