In the midst of sleepless nights and exhausted days, new parents are always keen to hear about products that just may help their little one nap a bit longer or sleep through the night. One of the products we’ve been asked about a lot lately is the DockATot. A quick search of the internet reveals loads of pictures of little ones cozied up and sleeping peacefully, from newborns right up to toddlers.
But is the DockATot supposed to be used for sleeping?
The answer is no.
Before you start listing all the reasons why it works so well for your little one, let’s be clear – we understand why you love it if it seems like your baby is getting the rest they need. It can be easy to fall into using something that seems to work, especially when you are painfully tired and desperate to be asleep at three in the morning like the rest of the world. We’ve admitted our sleep mistakes before and know first-hand what it feels like to do just about anything to be able to get a few hours rest. But when you know better, you do better.
If parents knew the dangers of using the DockATot as a sleep aid for baby, they may make a more informed decision when it comes to their baby’s sleep environment. And so, we feel that it is important to educate parents on safe sleep practices and shed some light on why the DockATot should only be used as recommended on their website – as a “multi-functional lounging, playing, chilling, resting and snuggling dock”.
What Is The Risk Of Using A DockATot For Sleep?
Recently, Health Canada issued an advisory warning to consumers stating that the soft, padded sides of baby nests (or also called baby pods) pose a risk for suffocation. The statement specifically warns against leaving babies unattended to sleep in a baby nest, putting the nest inside a playpen or crib for sleep, or using the product to co-sleep. The warning continues on to say that putting a baby nest product on soft surfaces like mattresses or couches increases the risk of suffocation.
The dockatot.ca website has its own safety statement listed on the website for Canadian consumers that reads:
“Health Canada wants to ensure that parents do not use products such as ours for sleeping accommodations. When DockATot was introduced in Canada, we consulted with Health Canada and agreed to align with Health Canada’s position. As such, DockATot does not promote the DockATot in Canada for bed-sharing or co-sleeping. Our products, however, are sold worldwide. Those in other jurisdictions may not share Health Canada’s views and these images may appear in social media. We respect local cultures and work with local authorities wherever our products are sold.”
But part of the problem lies in the last three sentences of that statement. New parents are seeing images on social media that show babies using the DockATot for sleep and reading online reviews from all over the world that only work to reinforce using the product to get their babies to sleep. In fact, when you go to review and purchase a DockATot on Amazon.ca, you can read hundreds of reviews that share details on how to use the product to get baby to sleep. Pretty confusing, right?
Why The DockATot Misses The Mark For Safe Sleep
One of the safe sleep recommendations from Health Canada, the U.S. Department of Health and Good Night Sleep Site states that all stuffed animals, blankets, pillows, and bumper pads be removed from cribs and bassinets. Any products with soft surfaces or padding should be avoided as they increase the risk of suffocation.
But the DockATot is 100% breathable, so it shouldn’t pose a risk, right? Wrong.
There is actually no real way of quantifying what makes something 100% “breathable”, it is not a regulated term in Canada or the United States. And while the DockATot website references that the product meets the British standard for air permeability of infant pillows, Health Canada and Canadian sleep experts unequivocally agree that pillows of any kind should not be used in a baby’s sleep environment. Not to mention, those British standards were set in 1970!
What many parents may not know, is that a baby’s face doesn’t have to be pressed into something to be a risk. Anything that has the potential to create an air pocket for baby to rebreathe air, like the soft sides of a DockATot, poses a risk. When baby rebreathes exhaled air held in an air pocket, the oxygen level in their body drops and the level of carbon dioxide rises. Rebreathing carbon dioxide is widely believed to be one of the main contributors to SIDS.
Getting more sleep is often thought to be a new parent’s top priority, but I think we can all agree that safety trumps even the most sleepless of nights.
So, What’s A Parent To Do?
Use that DockATot for tummy time, play time and to cuddle your baby. There are still many great advantages to having a DockATot in your home – just remember that sleep is NOT one of them. If you could use some help and support improving your baby’s sleep habits, look into ways that will help them in the long run, and avoid things that will only serve as a temporary sleep crutch. By building positive sleep habits, it is possible for you and your baby to be a well-rested family unit using safe sleep practices. When you are ready, the Good Night Sleep Site team is here to help and can build a unique plan that works for your family. For more information on safe and healthy sleep for your whole family, join our Facebook community group or check out our other free sleep resources.
Alanna McGinn is a Certified Sleep Consultant and Founder of Good Night Sleep Site – a Global Pediatric and Family Sleep Team. She provides free child and family sleep support through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. She invites you to join her sleep community as she works towards Good Night Sleep Site’s mission of a healthier rested family unit. For more sleep tips, subscribe to our newsletter and visit Good Night Sleep Site.