Though we’ve washed my daughter’s old Fisher-Price bouncy seat pad numerous times, it’s still pretty dirty when I think about it.
It’s been on the receiving end of multiple spit ups and explosive accidents, those of both my daughter and my daughter’s little friend who is using the seat now as a loaner. The same goes for the seat pad on her old Fisher-Price swing, and her high chair seat pad and tray aren’t so clean either.
However, I’m not going to replace this gear if we have a second child. Instead, I’m just going to replace the dirty parts, a frugal baby gear shopping strategy that is today’s hint.
It turns out that many baby gear manufacturers sell replacement parts – from high chair trays to bouncy seat pads to sippy cup straws – and replacing just a part is a lot cheaper than replacing an entire item. So, before you replace a piece of gear just because one part of it has been through the ringer a time too many, it’s a good idea to check to see if the manufacturer sells a replacement part.
This trick will save you from having to replace an entire item if just a part, such as a tray or seat, is too dirty or moldy to reuse for future kids down the road, and it will also help keep your gear in better resale shape.
So what kind of replacement parts do manufacturers offer? The odds are good that you’ll be able to find a replacement for the part that you want to replace, as many baby gear manufacturers sell a wide variety of replacement parts. For instance, Chicco sells replacement parts for everything from car seat covers to stroller wheels.
Similarly, Fisher-Price sells a host of replacement parts in its parts store, including new trays for its high chair models, new seat slings for its infant tubs, and replacement swing motor parts. Adrienne Jones of Baby Toolkit, a site full of helpful parenting gear tips, learned about the replacement swing motor parts first hand. Back in 2009, Adrienne wrote about how spending $32 on a replacement part helped her avoid paying $88 more for an entire new swing.
Meanwhile, as Angie Wynne writes out over at BabyCheapskate.com, most major toy makers sell replacement parts for toys, and she provides a helpful roundup of links to toy manufacturers’ parts stores. And as Adrienne of Baby Toolkit points out in another post, it’s also possible find replacement parts for missing board game parts.
What if you can’t find the part you want in a manufacturer’s online parts store? Pick up the phone and call the manufacturer directly. Often times, a manufacturer has more replacement parts available than just what’s listed online.
To be sure, if you’re replacing a part that’s broken, you’ll want to do your best to make sure the product overall is still safe to use. And you’ll also want to make sure you’re installing any new product correctly, by following manufacturer instructions.
Finally, on a related note, if you’re still figuring out which baby gear to get for your first child and you plan on having additional kids, consider opting from the get go for gear (including swing, high chair and bouncy seat models) for which you can buy replacement parts directly from the manufacturer, a tip I first wrote about over at The Frugal Shopper, a new U.S. News & World Report Money section blog.
What are your tips for dealing with broken or dirty baby gear? What are your replacement-part related tips?