A controversial new ad run by the city of Milwaukee has struck at the heart of a parenting decision that many believe is too personal for government interference.
In the ad (pictured at left) a baby is shown sleeping with a butcher knife, while the text proclaims, "Your Baby Sleeping With You Could Be Just As Dangerous."
Bevan Baker, Milwaukee commissioner of health said, "Is it shocking? Is it provocative? Yes. But what is even more shocking and provocative is that 30 developed and underdeveloped countries have better [infant death] rates than Milwaukee."
No surprisingly, the ads (there are two ads, one featuring a white baby and the other featuring a black baby) have stirred up a hornet's nest of controversy on the Internet.
In her post, Shame on Milwaukee Co-Sleeping Ads, Danielle625 writes, "I think these ads are in complete bad taste. They are uninformed, biased, and of course simply for the shock value in it all. Instead of helping to educate parents they are trying to guilt them out of certain options for co-sleeping..."
On the flip side, kennedysmom83 made this comment about the ads on CafeMom, "Adult beds aren't built with babies in mind, I know at least one of the deaths recently was because the baby got caught between the mattress and wall/headboard. I know it seems easier as a tired momma, but a bassinet could save babies [sic] life."
Cassandra Willyard, a freelance science writer and blogger, was less outraged than confused by the ads, citing statistics that "most babies in Milwaukee die because they were born too early, or because they have birth defects. Only 19% of the infant deaths are the result of SIDS or accidental suffocation, according to a 2010 report. And only a fraction of those deaths occurred in infants that were sharing a bed."
Still, there have been a number of high-profile tragic co-sleeping related deaths in Milwaukee recently, and city officials are quick to point out that if even one life can be saved, then the ad campaign will be a success.
What do you think about Milwaukee's co-sleeping ads?