Do You Need a DockATot? A Comprehensive Guide to Help You Decide




You may have come across the DockATot, a popular and stylish baby product often featured in social media and baby registries. It is praised for its snug and cozy design, providing a sense of security for newborns. However, recent updates from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) have raised concerns about the safety of DockATots. In fact, as of June 2022, they are no longer permitted to be manufactured or imported into the United States due to suffocation risks for unsupervised sleeping. This new information prompts a closer look at the necessity and safety of DockATots.

Considering the CPSC’s declaration and the potential risks associated with DockATots, it’s important to evaluate whether they are truly essential for your baby’s well-being. Furthermore, with the hefty price tag attached to DockATots, it’s crucial to explore safer alternatives that offer both comfort and safety for your little one.

November 2022 CPSP Update: DockATots Unsafe and No Longer Manufactured

Why Are DockATots Still Available for Sale in the U.S.?

If you’re wondering why you can still find DockATots for sale in the U.S. despite the CPSP’s announcement, it’s because the CPSC has not banned the sale of DockATots made before the June 2022 ban. DockATot is free to continue selling products they already had in stock until they run out, but they cannot produce any new DockATots.

It’s worth noting that some retailers have already pulled DockATots from their storefronts. However, you should still be cautious when purchasing baby sleep products, especially from online marketplaces like Amazon. Due to the popularity of DockATots, it’s possible that third-party sellers may continue to sell them, even though they are no longer being produced.

It’s important to prioritize your baby’s safety above all else, and that means being informed about the dangers of products like DockATots. While the CPSP has taken action to prevent the production and sale of unsafe baby sleep products, it’s ultimately up to parents and caregivers to make informed decisions about what they use for their babies.

In summary, if you already own a DockATot, it’s important to discontinue its use immediately. If you’re considering purchasing a baby sleep product, it’s best to research safe sleep practices and choose a product that meets CPSP safety standards. Remember, your baby’s safety is paramount, and it’s always better to err on the side of caution.

What is a DockATot?

A DockATot is a type of baby product that is marketed as a “docking station” for newborns. It is essentially a lounger that provides a safe and comfortable space for your baby to rest and play. The DockATot Deluxe is designed for babies from 0-8 months old, and it features raised sides that can be used as a support during tummy time and supervised play. The DockATot Grand is for toddlers aged 9 months to 3 years old.

While the DockATot is not sleep safe, many parents use it for sleeping or bed-sharing. However, there are safety concerns associated with using the DockATot for sleeping, and it is important to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and safety instructions when using this product.

The DockATot is also marketed as a diaper changing station, but it may be difficult to clean if your baby pees during a diaper change.

The DockATot Deluxe starts at $165, which may seem expensive for a product that your baby will only use for a few months. The DockATot Grand is even more expensive, and there isn’t a strong use case for a DockATot for a two-year-old.

However, some parents find the DockATot to be a useful and convenient baby product. It is portable and can be used for a variety of activities, including napping, lounging, and supervised play.

It is important to note that there are safe and affordable alternatives to the DockATot, such as the dog bed mentioned in the background information. Before purchasing a DockATot or any other baby product, it is important to do your research and consider all of your options.

5 Reasons You Don’t Need a DockATot

If you’re considering buying a DockATot for your baby, you might want to reconsider. Here are five reasons you should skip the DockATot and choose a safer sleeping option for your little one.

  • Not Sleep Safe: DockATots are not recommended for unsupervised sleep because they pose a suffocation risk. The pillowed sides of the DockATot can trap a baby’s head and create a barrier to breathing. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that babies sleep on a firm, flat surface with no pillows, bumpers, or other soft objects.

  • Cost: The price tag on a DockATot is high, especially considering that it has a short use life. While the company claims that it can be used until 8 months old, many babies will start moving around before then. There are cheaper, safer alternatives to the DockATot that provide more value for your money.

  • Short Use Life: You likely won’t need a DockATot for very long. Babies grow quickly, and many will outgrow the DockATot before they reach 8 months old. Investing in a product that has a short use life may not be worth the cost.

  • Better Alternatives: There are safer alternatives to the DockATot that provide a similar cozy sleeping space for your baby. Look for a bassinet or crib that meets safe sleep standards. If you’re looking for a lounger, there are cheaper alternatives available that don’t pose a suffocation risk.

  • Outlawed in Some Countries: DockATots are not allowed to be sold in some countries because they do not meet safe sleep standards. Health Canada, for example, does not permit their sale within Canada. Choosing a product that meets safe sleep standards can help reduce your anxiety about your baby’s sleeping space.

In conclusion, while DockATots might look cozy and convenient, they are not a safe sleeping option for your baby. Choosing a product that meets safe sleep standards can help reduce the risk of suffocation and provide a safer sleeping space for your little one.

Are DockATots Safe?

DockATots are not safe for sleep. Babies should sleep in firm, flat sleep spaces without bumpers or pillows, such as a CPSC-approved crib, bassinet, or playard. The Consumer Product Safety Commission formally came out against DockATots in a November 2022 press release and barred their future manufacturing.

The pillowed sides of DockATots are a suffocation risk, especially for young babies. Co-sleeping with a DockATot is also an unsafe sleep practice according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

DockATot’s website markets a long list of safety testing and certifications but does not specifically address sleep safety. This omission is misleading. Most other baby products add warnings on their products when they are not safe for sleep. The sleep warnings are notably absent on the product sales pages themselves.

Theoretically, you could use the DockATot in a supervised way. However, it is a ~$200-300 pillow (prices as of July 2022). For $300, it should be safe for sleep. If you are already supervising sleep, it is better to get a reasonably priced bouncer or a dog bed that seems equivalent.

It is essential to follow safe sleep practices to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends room-sharing without bed-sharing for at least the first six months of life and ideally for the first year. Bed-sharing is associated with an increased risk of SIDS and suffocation.

In conclusion, DockATots are not safe for sleep and should not be used as a sleep space for infants. It is important to follow safe sleep guidelines to protect your baby from harm.

6 Safer DockATot Alternatives

If you’re looking for safer alternatives to DockATot, there are several options available in the market. Below are some of the best DockATot alternatives that you can consider for your baby:

1. Guava Lotus

The Guava Lotus is a great alternative to DockATot as it is a sleep safe travel crib and playpen that you can use until toddlerhood. It is light, portable, and easy to transport. Unlike DockATot, it has a side-zip door for extra convenience. Additionally, it is a much safer option for your baby as it is specifically designed with sleep safety in mind.

2. Fisher Price On-The-Go Dome

The Fisher Price On-The-Go Dome is another great alternative to DockATot. It is smaller and easier to move around the house, and it has breathable mesh sides that make it safer for your baby. It is also light, portable, and has a sunshade. You can easily take it outside with you, which adds a lot of function over the DockATot.

3. Galt Playnest

The Galt Playnest is a great alternative to DockATot as it is a baby holder, activity center, and sitting support all in one. It is not designed for sleep, and its shape makes it less likely to be improperly used for sleep or bed-sharing. It is perfect for tummy time play, and you can flip your baby over for tummy time with sewn-in toys. Additionally, the ring deflates for easy transport.

4. Boppy

Boppy is an ever-popular support pillow for feeding and nursing. It is also a great alternative to DockATot as it is a support for tummy time and sitting practice. You can use it as an alternative for tummy time play before splurging on a DockATot.

5. Play Gyms

Play Gyms are a safer and more engaging DockATot alternative. They provide a firm flat surface and allow more free movement for motor development than a DockATot. Play Gyms have floor mats with hanging activities to keep babies occupied. They are great for plopping a baby down and making a quick dinner. However, they are not a must-have item, and a blanket and some toys do a similar job.

6. Snoo Smart Bassinet

The Snoo Smart Bassinet is a much safer and better DockATot alternative for those in the high-end baby gear market. It senses when your baby is stirring and tries to put them back to sleep for you. It is specifically designed with sleep safety in mind and uses its own proprietary swaddles to prevent babies from rolling onto their bellies while sleeping. Additionally, it is easier to resell than a DockATot.

In conclusion, there are several safer DockATot alternatives available in the market that you can consider for your baby. These alternatives are more functional, safer, and long-lasting than DockATot. They provide your baby with a sense of security, comfort, and convenience while also being portable and lightweight.

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