No experience other than opening an account last night because I'd learned about it. The cap is $2,000 for married couples filing jointly ($1000 otherwise), so even if you contribute for the next 18 years and your kid doesn't go to college, that's only $36,000 + growth. The 10% withdrawal penalty is on the growth
so what, you've earned another $36K if things are going gangbusters in the stock market for those 18 years? $3600 possibly penalty, 5.1%x$2000x18 = $1836 definite reward*.
It's a risk, but I'm pretty confident my daughter will go to college/voc/trade school. It's a small enough risk that I'm going for it.
* Aw crud, this article
says it's scheduled to end after 5 years. That brings down my Definite Reward number. Your Mileage May Vary.