Many children's toys are discarded long before they wear out. This makes them prime candidates for recycling. When buying items like toys, safety is a major factor. You can check with Consumeraffairs.com to find information on toy recalls.
The second big concern here is whether or not a toy is clean enough to use. Ebay.com, the online auction site, has published guidelines for cleaning used toys. They recommend placing toys that can be exposed to water in a dishwasher for cleaning. Dishwashers use a minimum water temperature of about 140 degrees Fahrenheit (60.0 Celsius), which will help kill any lingering germs. Place stuffed animals in the freezer overnight to kill dust mites, and then wash them in the laundry with your other delicates [source: Ebay].
As with electronics, carry batteries to test battery operated toys. When purchasing games, or multi-part toys, check to make sure that all the parts are in the bag or box. With games, this can be a hassle, but discovering that key components are missing after you get the toy home is very disappointing, particularly if it's a gift.
Just because a toy is gently used doesn't mean you can disregard the manufacturer's age recommendations. Always check the age listings on toys and games to make sure that they're age-appropriate.
In the next section, we'll look at fabric finds and how to handle them.