My son's old crib was outlawed last week.

It was a fine crib and served us well, many years ago, but it's one of those drop-side cribs that have proven to be dangerous. Now, drop-side cribs can no longer be legally sold, not even at a private garage sale. I suppose I'll make something out of the parts from ours, maybe shelves or a bike rack.

But if someone unaware of the ban were out shopping for a gently used crib and found one like mine for sale -- maybe online, in someone's yard or at a consignment shop -- how would they know?

And how can you avoid wasting money buying a second-hand health threat that you should neither use nor resell?

Knowing how to check and see if a product has been recalled can save you money, and it could help you avoid buying something that's been deemed a health threat.

Baby goods are recalled with alarming frequency. Cribs, strollers, car seats, toys, clothes and shoes, it seems like there's always some faulty part that can pinch, cut, strangle or pose a choking hazard. If you're a parent of a baby or toddler, you might want to check the recall list regularly.

In June alone, the Consumer Product Safety Commission issued recalls for baby hats (choking hazard), a product meant for hanging a child's swing from a door frame (prone to break), booster seats (faulty buckles), polka-dot dresses (choking hazard), futon bunk beds (strangulation hazard with one death reported), novelty lamps (fire hazard), strollers (faulty brakes), infant sandals (choking hazard), child-size tennis racquets (the grip tape contains high levels of toxic lead) and children's fever medication (packaging not child-resistant).

Recalls usually mean you can get your money back, or get the defect repaired or replaced. But in many cases, people never learn about the recall.

In addition to helping your family stay safe, checking the recalls can help you avoid a bad purchase, or tell you how to get your money refunded or your product repaired.

Visit www.cpsc.gov to see recalls of toys and children's products, household products, sporting goods and outdoor products (including lawn and garden equipment).

You also can see recent recalls in print each Monday in The Post and Courier's Business Review.

The most recent list included bike racks, air conditioners, musical instruments and knife block sets.

With cars and trucks, if you have never checked the recall list, you might be missing some important information.

Some years ago, my wife and I purchased a used car.

The sellers were less forthcoming about its defects than I would have been, and not long after buying the vehicle, we found that it was prone to suddenly shutting off while in traffic.

It was an unsettling and dangerous problem, particularly since the vehicle often would not restart quickly.

We took it to a local repair shop, but they had no idea what was wrong.

That's when I thought to check for recalls. I went online and quickly found that the ignition switch had been recalled three years earlier because "worn contacts could cause the engine to stall without warning, increasing the risk of a crash."

I took the vehicle to the repair shop of a local dealer for a quick, free replacement of the faulty part.

To see if your vehicle has been recalled, visit www.safercar.gov.