UK Mom Blasts DockATot (Sleepyhead) for “Dangerous” Advice
First posted: October 12, 2017. Last updated: UK Mom Blasts DockATot (Sleepyhead) Dangerous Advice. A UK mom blasted the maker of the DockATot (known as the Sleepyhead in Europe) in a post to the company’s Facebook page, calling out the company’s contradictory advice on whether the product can be used in a crib or bassinet.
After reading our investigation into DockATot, Alison Durn of Chalford, England criticized DockATot for saying it is safe to use in a crib/bassinet on the company’s UK site . . . while warning US parents such a use could cause suffocation and death.
“On (your) US site, you specifically say not to use in crib/bassinet as (it) could cause injury or death and that it should not be used unsupervised. This is the complete opposite from your UK site where you state it is safe to be used in crib.”
Durn asks: “Please could you let me know if I am correct in thinking the Sleepyhead is same as DockATot and if so why it’s deemed dangerous in US, but safe here, I am really confused!” (Wait to you read DockATot’s response to this question below—it is a doozy).
Durn is referring to this graphic on the UK site, showing the DockATot/Sleepyhead in a crib:
On the SleeyHeadofSweden.com web site FAQ (now removed, but pictured below), in response to a question on whether the product can be used in a crib or cot (bassinet), the company says: “Yes, Sleepyhead® Deluxe and Grand can be used in cribs or bassinets.” Here is an archived screenshot:
In a recent update to that site, Sleepyhead changed their wording on crib use slightly:
Most cots and cribs are not snug enough for the newborn. By slipping the Sleepyhead in as an insert, the baby feels snug and safe. And when it’s time to move from the bassinet to a big cot, the transition is made easy with the Sleepyhead® as you bring it along. Again, a familiar surrounding for the baby.
Please note that soft objects such as pillows, quilts and stuffed toys should be kept out of an infant’s sleeping environment. This goes for plush non-breathable crib bumpers, too. With Sleepyhead®, crib bumpers are redundant, as the protective sides of the Sleepyhead prevent the babies extremities from getting caught between the slats of the crib.
Now compare this to the same advice the very same company gives US parents: NEVER use in a crib, bassinet or other contained area, says the warning label on the DockATot:
In fact, DockATot’s own detailed help section online specifically warns using a DockATot in a crib or bassinet could cause death:
We put safety first. There have been incidents where babies have suffocated after becoming entrapped between a soft product and the side of a crib, bassinet, wall, or other surface, and also incidents where babies have suffocated on soft bedding like blankets or soft toys. This is why we warn against using a DockATot in a crib, bassinet or other contained area, and warn that blankets and pillows should not be placed in the DockATot. When it comes to an infant’s resting environment, bare is best!
So you might wonder, how does the company handle this blatant contradiction in response to the concerns of UK moms like Alison Durn?
Here is their response:
Hi, Alison. Sleepyhead is a brand that is not sold in America, whereas DockATot is sold in America. While the products are similar, they are sold in different countries. We respect cultural values and work with regulatory guidance in every country in which our products are sold. The instructions on products sold in America is designed to comply with American standards and cultural norms.
Wow, let’s unpack that one for a moment . . . first, let’s clear up whether there is any difference between the Sleepyhead and the DockATot. Let’s let the company explain the difference:
So there is NO difference: same product, same factory, same materials . . . just a different name for North America.
Here’s the kicker: “We respect cultural values and work with regulatory guidance in every country in which our products are sold. The instructions on products sold in America is designed to comply with American standards and cultural norms.”
See, in America, we have a cultural norm where we like babies to survive their first year of life. In the UK, not so much?
Of course, that is ridiculous. But we have to wonder: does DockATot/Sleepyhead realize that the world wide web can be seen by . . . the world? Can you really get away in 2017 with marketing a product that you say is safe for use in a particular way in Country X but “dangerous” in Country Y?
Yes, DockATot and Sleepyhead has to follow the laws of each country in which it is sold. US safety regulators discourage the use of any soft bedding item in a crib. In fact, two states (Ohio and Maryland) and a handful of cities ban the sale of crib bumpers. So DockATot would likely be illegal if it was marketed as an in-crib sleep device (DockATot even refers to the sides of its product as a bumper tube.)
Here’s the odd part: DockATot could simply say using their product in a crib violates US safety regulations and, therefore, don’t do it.
Yet the company doubles down by saying using their product in this way can cause death: “There have been incidents where babies have suffocated after becoming entrapped between a soft product and the side of a crib, bassinet, wall, or other surface, and also incidents where babies have suffocated on soft bedding like blankets or soft toys. This is why we warn against using a DockATot in a crib, bassinet or other contained area.”
So are babies in the UK, France and the rest of Europe are not worthy of the same safety precautions as US babies?
Meanwhile, in the US, DockATot faces a new threat: the Food and Drug Administration. Earlier in October, the FDA updated its warning on infant sleep positioners first issued in 2011.
In the update, the FDA specifically called out “nests” as products that “can cause suffocation that can lead to death.” The FDA also posted a video that underscored their concerns (see screenshot below).
Google “baby nests” and up pops products that look much like the DockATot, Snuggle Me and other in-bed co-sleepers.
While the FDA didn’t call out the DockATot by name, it is clear that adding “nests” to their warnings is a warning shot to the brand, in our opinion. And the FDA isn’t just talking about baby nests in cribs—the government warns that parents should “not to put babies in sleep positioners” in all sleep environments. That strikes to the heart of DockATot’s key use as a co-sleeper in adult beds, as promoted in their own social media postings.
As for Alison Durn, she isn’t taking any chances. “I have taken the Sleepyhead straight out my little boy’s (bassinet),” she wrote to BabyBargains.com in a Facebook message.