Anti-Co-sleeping Campaign Went Too Far (PHOTOS)


sleeping babyCo-sleeping is a topic near and dear to my heart. It's been a great thing for my family, with both children easily and lovingly moved out of our bed long before the "having to break the habit in the middle school years" myth that naysayers warn you about. Well, I'm sure there are some people with older kids in their bed, but generally speaking, it's not a big deal, and with a couple simple precautions, it can be a fantastic, bonding family decision.

So imagine my shock and fury when I saw Milwaukee's new anti-co-sleeping poster that says that co-sleeping is incredibly negligent and deadly. Butcher knife included.

Note, of course, that they made sure there were tons of poofy and loose blankets and pillows that look like they're going to swallow the baby (who is on his/her stomach, not back). There is no parent to be seen, either, and the baby isn't in any clean and cute jammies, but in a disposable diaper. Their other picture is the same way; note the baby is also not on her back:

There's a LOT here to make your subconscious think, Bad parenting! The baby is in danger! and it's not co-sleeping. Well, it is, but the subliminal messages here are what made me angry, too. The suggestion is not only that co-sleeping is dangerous, but that parents who co-sleep must be ignorant of all safety precautions of any kind.

When you put a baby in a crib, you have a long list of rules: no bumper, no pillows, no blankets, no pets, tight-fitting sheets only, no gaps between the mattress and edge of crib, yada yada yada. Thing is, co-sleeping has a lot of rules too ... and yet we ban problematic CRIBS, and teach safety, not ban cribs altogether. Although in studies, when you actually remove dangerous "co-sleeping" situations like a drunk guy on a couch, and compare to safe cribs, co-sleeping comes out with lower death rates.

All campaigns like this do are insult people who safely co-sleep, and then put babies MORE at risk -- why? Because in polls, MOST parents admit that their baby ends up in their bed at least part of the night -- and that's actually more dangerous than having your baby in your bed full-time, since often your spouse doesn't know they're there, you're not used to them there, and parents who don't intend on co-sleeping don't prepare their beds for co-sleeping either. So yet again, I find myself pissed at a campaign that tells you how to safely CRIB sleep but demonizes co-sleeping, rather than teaching how to safely do that too. And no, it's not condoning it either to give safety tips, especially if you're clear that you're condoning it, as they may want to do. But it's at least productive.

Before anyone insists this campaign is brilliant, by the way, consider if it were a bottle of formula labeled as poison. This isn't any different. Insulting people who choose something instead of helping them be better educated is just a bad move. And frankly, pretty rude.

What do you think of the campaign?


Images via © Kosanovic; Milwaukee Health Department

baby first year, bedtime, natural parenting, baby sleep


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jpfsmom jpfsmom

Silly and over the top much like your anti crib manifestos in the past.

Histo... HistoryMamaX3

I find it to be ignorant. But it is no different than the rest of the parent bashing that goes on... every side thinks they are superior and wants to make the other look and feel bad.

nonmember avatar From_Wisc

It is over the top, but Wisconsin saw a marked increase in infant deaths due to un safe co-sleeping habits in the last few years. Baby after baby is dying in this state, all while co-sleeping.

Sometimes, drastic situations call for drastic measures. Maybe cutting down on the number of uneducated co-sleepers will lower our infant mortality rate.

But I doubt these ads are all they are doing. I'm positive they have doctors and nurses trained for giving out safe sleeping advice both for co-sleepers and crib sleepers.

You can get pissy about it, if you want, but I see nothing wrong with them trying to save a few lives.

happy... happymama2D

I saw a similar poster on public transportation about a month ago and as a co-sleeper, was very surprised and honestly it hurt my feelings a bit!  I would never tell someone they should co-sleep or breastfeed, etc.  I think it a very personal choice and everyone does what they feel is best for their own children.  I would have NEVER thought I would co-sleep before having kids, but when I got home with my first son it just felt like the most natural thing in the world to me.  I did research on it, and feel we are very safe (he lived!!! and is now 4 and in his own bed) I currently co-sleep with my 17 month old and can honestly say that some of my most beautiful memories are of that time spent with them.  To imply that I am putting them in danger is really offensive.  You can find a dangerous way of doing anything and to single out all co-sleeping is wrong, in my opinion.

LissD LissD

wow what next? no hand holding in a busy parking lot?

KevWi... KevWife.BaniMom

My friend had her 3 day old son die in January from co-sleeping. She told her child's father to NOT fall asleep with him since she had been up the entire time and NEEDED some sleep. She went to bed and woke up 2 hrs later and found him between the mattress and wall with his father passed out. He died. There is responsible co-sleeping too tho. My girl when she was a baby never co-slept. We didn't allow it but when she got older she did. It can be safe as well as dangerous.

nonmember avatar Lucy

I think the posters are great and most definitely get the point across. What is not great is your article, especially the "formula labeled as posion" comment. Ridiculous.

white... whitebreads

From an advertising point of view it's certainly effective if not a bit over the top. As a designer if a group hired

me with that message to deliver I might do something similar because it's grabbed your attention therefore doing it's job. On a personal level I think co-sleeping is completely f-ing nuts but whatever it's your kid not mine. My husband and I talked about it and both agreed that it's just not for us. I am all for same room co-sleeping but there will never be any amount of evidence that will make it ok for me to put my baby in our bed. Nope I like my set up of cradle and breathable sids safe bumper with tight cotton fitted sheet. I do see beds as death traps.

Kritika Kritika

I co sleep with my 6lb Yorkie and still worry about him I couldn't imagine my child.

Carrie Suzanne Hambrick Buffington

i am surprised at the responses to your article.  i co-slept with my son and am currently co-sleeping with my ewborn.  gracen moved to a crib with no fuss at all at around 6 months and was in a youth bed at 1 year.  he co-sleeps now at naptimes and in his own room at bedtimes.  our new baby started in a moses basket, and  is in a bedside co-sleeper right now and will move to our bed when he outgrows it (same as gracen did).  be smart and safe, and there should be no problem.  don't agree, fine.  there is no need to be insulting or nasty if you don't agree though.....and YES thos images are insulting and ridiculous, period.

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