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CPSC Cites DockATot for Violating Federal Safety Standards for Infant Sleep Products

November 21, 2022

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued a violation notice to DockATot for selling “DockATot Deluxe+ Docks” manufactured on or after June 23, 2022, which do not comply with the agency’s mandatory safety standard for infant sleep products.

The Infant Sleep Product Rule (ISP Rule) went into effect on June 23, 2022. It requires any product marketed or intended for infant sleep for babies up to 5-months-old to have a sleep surface angle of 10 degrees or lower and meet federal safety standards in place for cribs, bassinets and cradles, play yards or bedside sleepers. Non-inclined infant sleep products, such as baby boxes, in-bed sleepers, baby nests and pods, compact/travel bassinets and infant tents also must conform to the safety standard for bassinets and cradles, which requires that these products have a stand, meet stability requirements, and have a side height of at least 7.5 inches.

The DockATot Deluxe+ Dock is a flat sleep product that does not have a stand, does not meet stability requirements and has sides shorter than 7.5 inches. The product is pillow-like with padded sides, which the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises against due to the risk of asphyxiation if a baby’s face sinks into a soft surface. AAP recommends that infants be put to sleep on their backs, on a separate, flat and firm sleep surface without any bumpers, loose bedding or stuffed toys.

News of the violation notice came just three days before the Safe Sleep for Babies Act went into effect on November 12, 2022. The new law prohibits the manufacture and sale of padded crib bumpers and also inclined sleepers that put babies at angles of greater than 10 degrees. Inclined sleepers (often referred to as rockers, nappers or loungers) place babies at angles as great as 30 degrees, allowing infants to get into a chin-to-chest position in which their airway is blocked. Inclined sleepers also typically have soft padded surfaces which pose an asphyxiation hazard. Together, padded crib bumpers and inclined sleepers have been linked to more than 200 reported infant deaths.

Tragic incidents involving DockATots that have been reported in the SaferProducts.gov public database include:

  • In March 2022, a 6-month-old girl was found unresponsive and died from apparent suffocation after she was placed to sleep in a DockATot. The DockATot was placed on a hard floor, and the child was swaddled.
  • In June 2021, a 1-month-old boy died after a DockATot was used as a “sleep surface.”
  • In July 2020, a 2-month-old infant died from positional asphyxia when a DockATot was placed inside a “pack and play” where the child had been placed to sleep. The incident report states: “It is possible that the infant suffocated from the puffy sides of the DockATot or the infant could have been entrapped.”
  • In September 2022, a 3-month-old girl who was being carried in a DockATot fell to the floor and sustained a skull fracture.
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In addition, in October 2019, Consumer Reports reported that it had identified two infant fatalities that involved DockATots.

The CPSC states that over the past several months it sent out more than 125 letters to manufacturers, importers, distributors, and retailers that explained the new ISP Rule, and in over 70 instances, it identified specific infant sleep products that could be subject to the rule. Subsequently, 26 products were removed from sale.

After news of the violation notice broke, DockATot, rather than take responsibility for the safety (or lack thereof) of the DockATot Deluxe+ Dock, or for its failure to comply with federal safety regulations, doubled down with a public statement that it would “cease sales in the US when our current inventory runs out.” The company also offered the flimsy excuse that it “ceased marketing our product as an infant sleep solution in 2020,” which ignores that the DockATot is unsafe for what babies are known to do much of the day, regardless how the company spins it promotional materials.

What Should I Do If My Baby Has Been Injured by a DockATot?

Alan M. Feldman, a co-founding partner and product liability attorney at Feldman Shepherd, recommends contacting a product liability attorney as soon as possible if your child has been injured by a DockATot.

Feldman said that product liability law requires that all products be safe for their intended as well as expected use. He added: “It’s disappointing that the new mandatory federal safety standard for children’s sleeping products is being ignored by some manufacturers. By issuing a violation notice to DockATot the CPSC is carrying out its mission to prevent the sale of unsafe products which place infants in danger of suffocation.”

Feldman’s team at Feldman Shepherd, which includes partners Daniel J. Mann and Edward S. Goldis, have secured substantial recoveries on behalf of infants and young children who have been seriously injured or killed by children’s products, including baby slings, inclined sleepers, unstable furniture and magnetic toys.

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