Co-sleeping with butcher knives: Are these Milwaukee PSAs overkill?


(Courtesy of the Milwaukee Health Department)

That’s the analogy the Milwaukee Health Department has unveiled publicly with two jaw-dropping ads (one of which is on the left).

Milwaukee commissioner of health, Bevan Baker, introduced the new anti-co-sleeping campaign with: “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,” according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The campaign is the latest attack on an increasingly frowned upon practice.


(Courtesy of the Milwaukee Health Department )

In fact, just before the press conference to release the Milwaukee campaign, officials there reported that a 7-week-old local baby had died while co-sleeping with his mother. That infant was the ninth Milwaukee baby this year whose death was related to co-sleeping, according to the newspaper.

But the issue is not that clear-cut for many parents. Adherents to attachment parenting, in particular, counter that it’s natural for parents to sleep with their children. They also say the practice encourages breast-feeding.

Co-sleeping parents acknowledge risks in certain situations, such as if a parent is obese or has used alcohol or drugs, but say that for the general population, when certain precautions are taken, it can be a rewarding experience for both parent and baby.

The widely-followed Dr. Sears Web site, for instance, offers tips for how to co-sleep safely. It doesn’t mention butcher knives.

What do you think of the Milwaukee campaign? Should there be more room for case-by-case consideration?

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