The city of Milwaukee, Wisc., is taking a "raw" approach at warning parents of the dangers of co-sleeping with their babies. SERVE marketing designed an advertisement for the city's Health Department that features a baby sleeping next to a knife. Bevan Baker, Milwaukee's Commissioner of Health, acknowledged that some might find ads to be a bit extreme.
The Milwaukee Health Department hopes the ads will help lower the city's infant mortality rate, which was "10.4 deaths for every 1,000 live births" in 2009, the Journal Sentinel points out.
Co-sleeping is a common practice in other cultures in Asia, Africa, Europe and Central and South America, but it has been a topic of much debate in the United States. The Mother Nature Network points out that some parents consider the decision to co-sleep a personal one that shouldn't involve government interference.


While many experts and parents denounce co-sleeping, the practice also has outspoken (and sometimes closeted) supporters who say it has emotional benefits for parents and babies.
Christie Haskell, mother and writer for Cafe Mom's "The Stir" wrote that co-sleeping "can be a fantastic bonding family decision." She wrote she was "outraged" after seeing the Milwaukee Health Department's ad, and pointed out the babies in the photos weren't positioned correctly. Milwaukee's decision to move along with the ad campaign was reinforced when a medical examiner announced an infant died after sleeping with his or her mother, the Journal Sentinel points out. Although the ads have created a lot of buzz on the internet, a spokesperson for the Milwaukee Health Department told Ohio's WNWO that the city ran "similarly provocative ads" in the past and received a good response.
The text above the photo reads: "Your baby sleeping with you can be just as dangerous," the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.
William Sears, who wrote about co-sleeping, in "The Baby Book," says it is safe to co-sleep as long as parents take the appropriate precautions.


Parents can call the phone number on the advertisement to receive a collapsible crib free of charge, the spokesperson added. But what is even more shocking and provocative is that 30 developed and underdeveloped countries have better [infant death] rates than Milwaukee," he told the Journal Sentinel.



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