Like helmets, car seats are really only meant to protect in one accident. But damaged car seats are common; a survey found that one in ten have been in an accident. Plus, car seat technology improves each year.
If they’ve been in an accident, tires are likely to be unstable and unreliable. Make sure you can get an accurate history.
Personal products that hug your body are technically safe if you wash them in hot water... and still we're cautious. But constant changes in water pressure also wear out swimwear faster than regular clothing, so it's likely a used wetsuit or swimsuit will tear.
Laptops, e-readers, tablets, or mp3 players are more likely to be dropped, knocked around, and spilled on, simply because they’re out in the world. A desktop computer sits (mostly) safe at home, but even that would likely cost more to upgrade than buy new.
It’s hard to determine how well TVs, DVD players, and other electronic devices have been cared for by their previous owners. Plus, technology changes so quickly that you can often get a better quality device. If you're buying refurbished devices directly from a manufacturer, you'll be covered by a warranty—but a random TV at a garage sale could be hit or miss.
Used shoes have been molded to their previous owner’s feet—and poorly fitting shoes will make you miserable, or you'll just never want to wear them.
Sheets and pillowcases
Sure, you can wash them in hot water, but that might not protect against bed bugs.
While sanitation and cracks can be an issue, the real culprit is the chemical BPA that's present in most older bottles—and as of June 2012, the FDA no longer accepts that as safe. Go with new bottles to make sure you're getting the safest, most up-to-date bottles.
Worn plates, pots, and other cookware
Rust, flaky non-stick coatings, and chemicals that leach out are just a few of the safety problems you can run into with older cookware. But if you see any of these vintage kitchen items for sale, they might be worth grabbing!
DVDs, CDs and VHS tapes
If you're still using this technology and looking to scoop up a bargain, know that scratches have ruined many a DVD or CD—and VHS tapes lessen in quality the more times they're played, not to mention disintegrate over the years.
Just like mattresses and sheets, any upholstered furniture can be home to bed bugs, fleas, and spiders, as well as unknown odors and stains. Unless you're going to reupholster the piece, steer clear.