Heard from some parents that you need a DockATot, but aren’t so sure? Keep reading. I’m going to break down why you should *not* buy a DockATot, and what to buy instead with a list of the best DockATot alternatives.
Although some people swear by the DocATot and recommend a baby lounger, the bottom line is they have been banned from being sold in the US because of their links to infant injuries and death. So now the task of finding a safe alternative to DockATot is left up to parents. But no worries, we will talk about why the DockATot is not safe, and give you some great options to use instead.
FYI: this post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links I will get a small commission at no added cost to you.
SPOILER ALERT: Here is our top overall pick for best DockATot Alternatives
Keep reading to find out why the Halo bassinet is our favorite pick for a DockATot alternative, or check it out on Amazon.
What is the DockATot, and why do you need DockATot alternatives?
The DockATot is a small padded lounger for babies. It was hugely popular with parents, many claiming their babies slept well in it. DockATot is probably the most widely known but there are lots of similar products that are pillowy nests or baby loungers.
They seem so cozy and babies love them. So what’s the problem?
The problem? They are unsafe. And you’ll notice that the DockATot alternatives on this list are not baby loungers but baby items that can safely replace the DockATot.
According to the AAP, babies should only be put to sleep on a hard surface, on their backs, without any pillows or blankets. The DockATot is basically a pillow for babies, so it does not meet the requirements for a safe sleep environment.
Not only does it not meet safe sleeping standards for babies, but it and other products like it have been linked to infant injury and even death. It has since been banned.
Some people recommend the DockATot or similar products for babies to lounge, feed, or play in while supervised, but I don’t see how the benefit outweighs the risk. There are plenty of options on the market that create a safe and cozy space for babies to play, and they are safe to allow them to fall asleep in as well. So why not go for the less risky DockATot alternatives over a product actually linked to infant deaths?
What can you use instead of a DockATot?
There are plenty of DockATot alternatives that will work perfectly as a safe space for your baby to relax, play, and sleep.
The DockATot had become popular with parents because it was marketed as an in-bed bassinet. Basically, a space for a baby to sleep inside of your bed. However, it is unsafe to be used in bed or out of the bed for infant sleep.
Instead of the in-bed design of the DockATot and similar DockATot alternatives, a more traditional bassinet, mini-crib, or even some bassinet strollers are a great alternative. Someplace where the baby is not in danger of being trapped by soft sides, pillows, blankets, or other features.
Is DockATot safe for baby to sleep in?
The DockATot is not safe for your baby to sleep in, and the CPSC has taken steps to try and stop its sale due to the dangers of using one for sleep. Here is exactly what they have to say about it:
“It is unsafe for your baby to sleep in a DockATot Deluxe+; immediately discontinue its use. There are publicly available reports of infant deaths associated with the product. CPSC has notified DockATot that it cannot import, distribute, or sell any DockATot Deluxe+ made after June 23, 2022.
DockATot has marketed its Deluxe+ infant product as a sleep product for babies even though it is not safe for sleep. Last year, CPSC issued the Infant Sleep Products Rule to eliminate products too dangerous for infant sleep from the market. After our rule took effect this year, we issued DockATot a notice of violation, informing the company that its product, when manufactured on, or after, June 23, 2022, violates the Infant Sleep Products Rule and may not be imported, distributed, or sold in the United States.
I encourage you to read the reports of infants’ deaths associated with DockATot products, as reported by members of the public. To access them, visit www.saferproducts.gov and type DockATot into the search bar, and you can read caregivers’ stories of their worst nightmares becoming reality using this product.”
The CPSC has taken a very strong stance on the DockATot and baby loungers that may be DockATot alternatives but are similar in design and still unsafe.
What can I use instead of a DockATot?
There are lots of DocATot alternatives that are actually safe and available on the market in 2023. The key is you don’t want to just get something that looks like a DocATot, but instead look for something actually safe for baby.
We’ve tried to choose alternatives on this list that are considered safe, but please check the latest recommendations on each product to be safe because recommendations change often.
The Top 10 DockATot alternatives:
Fisher-Price Portable Bassinet and Travel-Play Area
For a portable option, this Fisher-Price bassinet is a great choice. You can take it anywhere with you. Move it around the house to keep the baby close by or even take it outside or to the park. I love this as a safe and affordable DockATot alternative.
Dream On Me Karley Bassinet
This portable bassinet is easy to move around your house or even travel with, and very affordable. It even has a double canopy perfect for outdoor time as well.
It gets high marks from parents on Amazon, earning a 4.7 out of 5 stars. Users say it’s very easy to assemble and very sturdy. A great buy for the price and totally works as one of the best DockATot alternatives.
Chicco LullaGo Anywhere
If you want simplicity, this is for you. This bassinet has a lightweight design that is easy to put together without unnecessary bells and whistles. It’s an affordable and modern-looking bassinet that will blend into any space.
This also gets high ratings on Amazon scoring 4.7 out of 5 stars with most commenting on how simple and easy it is to use.
HALO Bassinet Swivel Sleeper
A lot of parents who used DockATots loved about the product was using it in bed with their baby so the baby had a defined space while coalescing, but they were close to parents for feeds and comfort. Unfortunately it just wasn’t a safe setup.
The Halo is the answer for that. The swivel and moveable bassinet allows you to basically set up the bassinet as if it’s in the bed while still maintaining safety for baby. It’s a perfect DockATot alternative.
One downside is the cost compared to some of the more basic bassinet options. The Halo is a little more pricey similar options, but the swivel bar moveability might make it worth spending an extra couple hundred dollars for you.
4moms Mamaroo Sleep Bassinet
The 4moms Mamaroo baby swings are a must-have on most baby registry lists. Swings are not safe sleep areas though, and so 4moms came out with this sleep bassinet that has the same great motion as the swing but is a flat safe sleep surface.
It’s more expensive than a basic bassinet because of that motion and noise machine, but compared to the top-of-the-line Snoo it is a bargain.
UPPABaby Vista v2 Stroller
Save some space and cash by choosing a stroller that doubles as a bassinet!
The UPPABaby Vista has multiple attachments that grow with the baby from birth through childhood, and the bassinet is rated as a safe sleep product. You can either buy the bassinet stand or just park the stroller with the bassinet attached to it wherever you want.
One note is that it is not safe to use it on the floor or anywhere not attached to the stroller or bassinet stand. It folds up a little when just sitting on the ground, making it not safe.
The UPPABaby stroller is a bit of a high-ticket item, but if you can skip buying an additional item and use this as one of your DockATot alternatives, then it’s a decent buy! And speaking from personal experience, UPPABaby products are excellent and long-lasting. Their customer service is also incredible if you happen to run into any issues with the product. (Like when I broke our car seat adapter and they sent me new ones for free.)
Arms Reach Cosleeper
This bassinet is perfect for giving the baby their own safe space to sleep while being close at hand for comfort or night feeds. For a long time it was the only product like this on the market and it is still very popular.
The coolest part of the Arms Reach and why it makes the list of best DockATot alternatives is the way one side drops down for easier access to the baby while in bed.
Fisher-Price Baby Bassinet Bedside Sleeper
Love the Snoo or 4Moms bassinet, but they’re out of your pricerange? Try this dupe!
If you want to splurge, this is for you. The Snoo is like the Rolls Royce of baby bassinets. It might be a pricey piece of baby gear, but for sleep-deprived parents it might be worth it!
It has tons of features to help baby sleep or go back to sleep when they wake up. But one great feature is that it is a safe space for your baby to sleep. Not only does it meet safe sleep criteria, but it even has a swaddle that fastens into the Snoo preventing baby from moving or rolling.
The biggest con is the price of course. So if this isn’t in your budget maybe opt for a good white noise sound machine with a less expensive bassinet.
Why is DockATot banned?
The DockATot and products like it have been directly linked to infant injuries and death. Even though they have been marketed as a sleep solution for tired parents, they are NOT and should not be used for sleep.
What can I use instead of a DockATot?
The best thing to use instead of a DockATot is a safe surface that will keep baby safe if they fall asleep. Bassinets, cribs, mini-cribs, and other baby gear items that adhere to safe sleep recommendations are the best DockATot alternatives.
Is there a risk of SIDS with DockATot?
Yes. The CPSC has taken steps to ban the sale of the DockATot because it is very dangerous for babies to sleep in.
How do I get my baby to sleep without DockATot?
As an exhausted parent myself, I totally understand trying anything you can to get a decent night’s sleep. Unfortunately, waking throughout the night is developmentally appropriate for babies and even toddlers.
But if you want to make it a little easier on yourself, get a copy of the No-Cry Sleep Solution. There are a lots of strategies that Elizabeth Pantley talks about that I have used to help my babies sleep for longer stretches throughout the night without resorting to items like the DockATot.
Will they still wake? Yes of course. They’re babies, and that’s what they do. BUT you can take some of the stress out and help create the environment and routines to foster good sleep long term.
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