DockATots are a hot item for new families to use, and for good reason. They look cozy and are convenient for new babes.
Unfortunately, DockATots are not the safest and pose a risk of suffocation in conjunction with utilizing them. Today, we are going to explore what a DockATot is, and what to use instead.
This post may contain affiliate links which I would receive a small commission should you make a purchase.
What is a DockATot?
A DockATot is a baby lounger popular for the many different ways it can be used. The idea behind the DockATot is that it is cozy for a baby and convenient for the parents.
The close bumpers act like a hug for little ones, mimicking the womb environment.
Is the DockATot Safe for Baby Sleep?
There are definitely concerns for safety when using a DockATot or any products that are similar. The soft bottom and sides make it easy for a baby to roll over and then due to lack of mobility the baby can potentially be stuck.
If baby is unable to adequately move out of the position, they can suffocate. Another danger is the DockATot being placed on soft surfaces such as a bed allowing the device to tilt, causing the babe to roll to one side and become stuck.
It should be noted that the warning label on the DockATot now states not to use it in a crib, bassinet, or other contained area. DockATot changed their guidelines in the fall of 2020 to stop promoting their devices for bed sharing.
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Why is the DockATot Unsafe?
Use of the DockATot, poses a risk for suffocation, especially when used against what the guidelines state. Usually, items that are used for a baby’s safe sleep are made using mesh or material that is very breathable. This is done so that even if a baby gets into a position they cannot move from, they are still able to breathe.
The elevated sides can easily cause a breathing obstruction. It is recommended that babies do not even sleep with a blanket until after age 1 and crib bumpers are not recommended any longer.
Has not been tested against the risk of SIDS
Despite the DockATot marketing saying that it is made from a breathable material, it has not been tested against the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
As a mom, this is concerning. I want to make sure that anything I am using for my little one is safe.
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It is not designed to be used on a soft surface
DockATots are not designed to be used on a soft surface like a bed. This is because the baby nest can tilt to one side causing the little one to roll and become stuck.
The sides are not made of mesh, so if the baby cannot roll back over they can potentially suffocate.
Risk of suffocation if baby rolls over
The DockATot does not have breathable mesh sides like many of the safer options. This is a big issue when it comes to safe sleep.
If the baby was to roll over during sleep, they would be at a much higher risk for suffocation due to having their face against the puffy rails of the DockATot.
Can result in carbon rebreathing
What is carbon rebreathing? Carbon rebreathing is similar to if you were locked in a sealed space for a period of time. You would breathe back in the carbon dioxide that you have already exhaled.
This is very dangerous, especially for little ones with tiny lungs.
Can cause an infant to become stuck in the crib
Most of the time, the DockATot is going to be slightly smaller that the surface of the crib. This will leave a gap between the crib railing and DockATot.
It is possible for the baby to get stuck between the 2 spaces, which is a scary thought!
Cannot be used for sleeping babies
DockATots are no longer recommended for sleeping babies, and definitely not sleeping at night. Any time the DockATot is being used, their guidelines recommend that the baby is awake.
This is frustrating because I wouldn’t want to have to transition my sleepy baby out of the DockATot into another device that is safe sleep approved.
What Should you use Instead? List of DockATot Alternatives
There may be many reasons that the DockATot appeals to you. As a fellow mama, I understand the desire to have something that is so easy and convenient like the DockATot.
The best and safest alternative is a crib, but if you are looking for any of these things in particular, I have some suggestions!
Portability is a must, especially for families that are on the go.
I absolutely love this Pack N Play combo. These items pack up really nicely and are so easy to travel with.
I love this rock with me option. The rock with me folds up to be flat and easy to store and travel with. The pad is washable which is super convenient. You can also turn the feet to allow it to rock.
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The AAP doesn’t recommend bed-sharing because it is dangerous, instead try setting up a bassinet for your infant.
Bassinets are a great option especially if you want it to be close to the bed for easy access. This bassinet has an adjustable double canopy and is very light and manueverable.
If you want your baby within arm’s reach, this bassinet is for you. It has a zipper on the side and slanted legs that allow you to pull it close to your bed while allowing baby to be safe in their own space.
Replicating the Womb
New babies love things that sort of restrict them because it replicates the womb feeling. If you think that is what your baby needs, try swaddles.
With my littles, swaddles were a way of life. This swaddle helps to reduce the startle reflex, while still allowing for movement.
The Halo Sleep Sack is a great option if you are looking for a swaddle. I love the velcro that makes it very easy to put on a wiggly baby.
Maybe your little can fall asleep, but they have a hard time staying asleep. Try some of these options!
White Noise Machine
A white noise machine is great for little ones. In the womb, babies are used to constant noise, so a noise machine may be the way to go!
I love this portable white noise machine and it even has a night light. It is easily chargeable and a must if you are on the go!
Black-out curtains help make a space dark so that babies can sleep easily. These curtains have a ton of color options available!
Consistent Bedtime Routine
Having a consistent bedtime routine is a must with little ones. It is important to help regulate their circadian rhythm and keep it consistent so they know what to expect.
HelloBello lotion is made with a bunch of calming and soothing ingredients perfect to help soothe your little one to sleep.
Magnesium oil is great for little ones 9 months and above. Magnesium oil is an all-natural way to help little ones fall asleep. Fun fact, most of the population is magnesium deficient.
Keeping a bedtime routine is a great way to set up good, restful sleep. Putting the baby into the water before bed is a wonderful way to signal them to start getting ready for sleep.
Pairing that with a good body wash will help your little one relax.
Related Post: Will Your Baby Not Sleep? 11 Tips from a Real Mom
How to Use The DockATot Safely
If you are dead set on using a DockATot, I completely understand and there are tons of ways to ensure that safety!
Here are some safe ways to use the DockATot:
✔️ As a lounger.
✔️ At the beach.
✔️ Bathroom floor.
✔️ Diaper changes.
✔️ Clothing changes.
✔️ Kitchen floor.
✔️ Picnics & Camping.
✔️ Playtime & Storytime.
Related Post: 11 Benefits of Tummy Time
Use under Supervision
As with almost any baby device, make sure that you use the DockATot only while supervising your little one. Being watchful when your baby is using the DockATot will allow you to intervene if anything should happen.
Use with an alert, wakeful baby
Use your DockATot with your baby when they are awake. This makes for certain that if anything should happen, you are right there to intervene.
Set up on a solid, non-elevated surface
When you are using the DockATot, makes sure that you set it on a solid and non-elevated surface. This prevents them from rolling due to a tilt.
The Bottom Line
All in All, it seems that the answer to the question can baby sleep in Dock A Tot is an ABSOLUTE NO in most cases and that it should exclusively be used as a baby lounger while your little one is under your constant supervision.
If you’re looking for something to keep your baby in, other than the crib itself, consider a regular swaddle over the Dock A Tot.
On the other hand, if you’re looking to improve your baby’s sleep in general, there are countless other products and techniques to improve that too with items that don’t have to go in the child’s bed like white noise machines, having a consistent bedtime routine, and simply making the room darker.
Your baby’s sleep is essential (as is yours!), but nothing is worth the risk that the DockATot brings if used incorrectly. Try one of the above suggestions – your baby will thank you!