DockATot Review: Not Recommended
First published: June 9, 2017. Last Updated: DockATot Review: Not Recommended. . Quick summary: We do not recommend the DockATot (and similar infant loungers like the Snuggle Me), based on safety concerns raised by government safety regulators and independent infant sleep researchers about infant sleep positioners.
We first published this review in June 2017. Since then, much has happened—DockATot changed some of its marketing claims, Canada has banned the sale of DockATots and more.
We are now in the process of updating this review to make our critique up to date.
To DockATot’s credit, they are no longer claiming the product is 100% breathable. The company used to describe the DockATot as a sleep positioner, something US safety regulators warn against for babies. That claim is now gone as well.
Finally, while DockATot still markets its product in the UK and Europe as safe in cribs (there it is known as the Sleepyhead), US consumers can now no longer easily see those web pages (the company blocked US IP addresses from seeing those pages). That’s because DockATot is not recommended for use in cribs . . . but just in the US.
Does that mean we now recommend the DockATot? No. We do not recommend co-sleepers like the DockATot and its competitors such as the Snuggle Me. See below for our five quick take-aways on why we don’t recommend parents buy it.
While we update this post, check out the latest news on the DockATot from our reporting:
- DockATot says it is Southwest Airlines approved. No it isn’t.
- Canada warns (and then bans) the DockATot in Canada.
- UK mom blasts DockATot for dangerous advice.
Here are 5 quick take-aways on the DockATot and why we don’t recommend it:
- The DockATot is a co-sleeper—a device designed for baby to sleep in while in an adult bed. According to infant sleep safety experts we interviewed, there are numerous and well-documented dangers to having an infant sleep in an adult bed—pillows, comforters, pets and other items can shift and pose a suffocation hazard to baby.
- DockATot’s social media regularly shows the product used ways we think are dangerous—such as in an adult bed surround by pets, siblings or soft bedding (pillows, comforters, etc). This is irresponsible, in our opinion . . . and is contradicted by DockATot’s own safety warnings about the product. DockATot’s own warning label says “use on a firm, flat stable surface.” But then DockATot’s instagram account reposts a user’s photo of the DockATot in a hammock. (See a reposted copy of that picture here).
- DockATot’s safety instructions are confusing and impossible to follow, in our opinion. Adults must be “semi-alert” but not necessarily awake when using the DockATot for an infant. At the same time, DockATot warns “not to be used for unsupervised sleep.” It is unclear how any adult could be sound asleep AND simultaneously supervising an infant sleeping next to him in a DockATot.
- DockATot claims its product is tested for “air permeability” (as recently as 2017, the company claimed DockATot was “100% breathable”). But this test is based on a British safety standard that is over 40 years oldand questionable in relevance to current research on infant sleep safety.
- Other infant sleep positioners have been implicated in product safety recalls that sadly involved infant deaths.While these positioners were somewhat different in design from the DockATot, misuse of sleep positioners in cribs and other sleep environments is a serious risk, in our opinion.
Bottom line: Don’t use a DockATot for co-sleeping. If you already own a DockATot, we would not use it for sleeping if your baby is under a year of age; other uses (such as diaper changing or tummy time) would be ok.
We will update this post shortly!
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