Economics of buying a used stroller
Many of our friends have started to fruitfully multiply. By observing our new parent friends, we’ve noticed two things relevant to this discussion:
1) they complain a lot about how expensive babies are, and
2) they appear to be increasingly risk averse, especially with regard to the welfare of their children.
Babies are expensive, yet parents are willing to spend whatever amount to keep them safe. This “vicious cycle of love” only further increases the cost of raising a child! According to our data, you can save 37% by buying a used stroller instead of a brand new one. Would you buy a used stroller for your newborn to save a couple of hundred bucks? To help you decide, we took a look at the safety risks associated with a used stroller. While these risks seem low, we leave it to you to assess whether the cost savings are worth it.
A used stroller costs 37% less than a new one
We decided to consult our used stroller price guide in order to compare the price of used strollers to new ones on Amazon (or a comparable retailer). We sampled from the most popular strollers on Priceonomics.
On average, you save 37% by buying used. The range of savings varies from 70% to basically zero.
It seemed odd to us that all the strollers in our sample from the brand Maclaren could be purchased at a greater than 65% discount. Digging into it, we discovered that Maclaren was forced to recall every single stroller it sold between 1999 and 2009 because they posed the risk of “finger amputations” for their passengers. Yikes!
The Risks of Buying a Used Stroller
First off, it appears to be perfectly safe to buy a used stroller. The consensus in the forums is just do a few tests before you make the purchase to make sure the stroller is in good condition.
What’s the worst case scenario if you buy a used stroller? You accidentally purchase a stroller that has been recalled and deemed unsafe. Just how unsafe is that? Let’s take a look.
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has recalled strollers for two serious reasons – child deaths and fingertip amputations. Child deaths have happened when children have slipped and gotten their heads trapped in between the body of the stroller and the tray.
Children have also had the tips of their fingers amputated by the hinges in their strollers. Oh my!
How bad is this? If you buy a used or recalled stroller, are you negligently subjecting your child to harm? It turns out, stroller-related injuries are not very common at all, even if you are using a recalled stroller. Over the last 32 years, only 30 deaths have resulted from stroller malfunctions. Over the last four years, there have been 23 cases of finger tip amputation.
There is roughly one death per year from a faulty stroller. That is compared to over 6,500 child deaths from automobiles per year (in the US). Even if you buy the least safe possible used stroller (a recalled one), the risk of death and injury from a used stroller is relatively remote. If the used stroller is in good working condition, it may just be worth considering.
If we had a lawyer at Priceonomics, he or she would probably advise us not to make any recommendations regarding whether you should buy a used stroller. So, we won’t tell you what we think, but we’ve looked at a lot of different used markets and a 37% discount for a used product is the highest we’ve seen. Even when strollers have been recalled, bee stings cause 50 times more deaths each year.
Ultimately, each parent needs to decide whether he or she feels comfortable with buying used products for his or her children. The cost savings are real, but it is hard to dispassionately assess the risk when it comes to the safety of one’s children. Whatever you decide, Priceonomics will be here to tell you how much you can save buying used.
By Rohin Dhar