Toys R Us wants your old baby products, gives discount in return

If you're a parent or expecting, Toys R Us is offering a chance to trade in old baby products and get a discount on new models. The three week "Great Trade-In" event starts Friday, January 29 and ends February 20, at both Toys R Us and Babies R Us stores.

Just bring in your old, broken, dusty or outdated baby item and get 25% off a new one in any of the product categories covered including: cribs, car seats, bassinets, strollers, travel systems, play yards, high chairs and toddler beds.

This is a reprise of a similar event run by Toys R Us in September 2009. During that time, the retailer took in approximately 55,000 items, most of which were in unusable condition.

According to Nancy Cowles, executive director of the not-for-profit Kids in Danger, it's a great opportunity to for parents to replace potentially dangerous baby products with safe ones.

"We've had about seven million cribs recalled," says Cowles. "Ten million sleep products if you include bassinets and portable beds." That's a huge number of unsafe baby products to retrieve from homes, and exchanges such as the Toys R Us program go a long way to help, she says.

Before heading to the store for a trade in, check the Consumer Product and Safety Commission Web site. If your item has been recalled, you may be eligible for a full refund. But with some products such as cribs made by Simplicity Inc., now out business, it's more difficult and a trade-in offers the best deal.

Consider exchanging high chairs more than 10 years old. "They've changed greatly in how they retain a child," says Cowles. The most injuries occur when a child falls out of the high chair.

Car seats five years or older should be replaced. "Safety standards change pretty rapidly, and if it's been in an accident you won't see the damage but it won't protect your child as well," Cowles says.

Play yards are another item worth getting new. Says Cowles, "It's one of those things where you're leaving your child unattended and safety is paramount."

When selecting a new item, simple is better, she cautions. The less hardware and fewer moving parts means less can go wrong. It's tempting to get an item that serves many functions but it's the places where parts fit together that failures occur.

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