Lifestyle & Belief

Milwaukee runs provocative ads warning parents of the dangers of 'co-sleeping'


A 4-day-old newborn baby lies in a baby bed in the maternity ward of a hospital in Germany on August 12, 2011. A provocative ad in Milwaukee aimed at preventing co-sleeping has stirred up controversy.


Sean Gallup

In response to a high infant death rate in their city, Milwaukee has started to run provocative ads in an attempt to get parents to stop sleeping in the same bed as their babies, reported ABC News.

The ad, shown on the right, depicts a sleeping baby next to a butcher knife. The text blares, "YOUR BABY SLEEPING NEXT TO YOU CAN BE JUST AS DANGEROUS," and tells parents to always return their baby to the crib before turning in for the night.

According to Mother Nature Network, Bevan Baker of Milwaukee's Health Department had this response to the controversy brewing over the advertisements, which rolled out last Wednesday:

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.

Minutes before the ads rolled out, the International Business Times reported that a 7-month old baby died from unsafe sleeping, marking the ninth infant death from unsafe sleeping in Milwaukee that year. The ads -- there are two, one with a white baby and one with a black baby -- are hoping to prevent more unnecessary infant deaths from sleeping in an unsafe environment.

According to the City of Milwaukee's website, about 20 percent of the city's infant mortality rate is due to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) or Sudden Unexplained Death in infancy (SUDI).

Earlier this year, NPR reported that SIDS is almost an irrelevant term, as many believe most unexplained infant deaths are related to unsafe sleep practices. Government figures report that more than 2,000 babies die in the US from SIDS each year.

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