Yesterday I read about a provocative ad made by the Milwaukee Health Department, which warns parents about the dangers of sleeping with babies. I didn’t actually read the article myself, but I saw the ad, and so I can understand some why people would be so upset about these ads.
First of all, Milwaukee, babies aren't as dangerous as cleavers. I’m not even sure why I’m having to clarify this. I’ve almost never cut myself on a sleeping baby. No one murders co-eds with sleeping babies. Sleeping babies aren't even sharp. This is just ridiculous and it’s ludicrous to imply otherwise. If I was a baby, I would probably sue.
Then I did a little more research.
Perhaps, I thought to myself, the ad refers to the fact that babies armed with cleavers can be just as dangerous as babies not armed with cleavers. A fair assumption ... but since babies don’t have the muscle stamina to wield cleavers effectively, why even bother to advertise that? Wouldn't the general public already know that babies don't have the motor skills to use cleavers? At best they might be able to pick up a shiv, but even then they’re unlikely to hurt anyone but themselves.
Baffled. I was baffled.
I decided to write an angry letter to the Milwaukee organization making these ads, but then I realized that what they might actually be saying is that making your baby sleep with cleavers is dangerous to your baby. Which is hard to argue with. As much as I like to play Devil’s Advocate, it's hard to argue that babies sleeping in beds filled with cleavers are safer than those not sleeping in beds filled with cleavers. At most I could only argue that it might be a waste of ad space, since that sort of thing is covered in the most basic of parenting manuals.
I was just about to give up on the whole thing when I accidentally read the fine-print and realized that the ad was actually about the dangers of co-sleeping. And then I sort of stopped reading because I don’t care as much about the co-sleeping debate (at least compared to how much I care about the importance of not letting babies sleep with cleavers). Personally, I wasn't a big fan of sleeping in the same bed with my baby because (true story) babies shit the bed. Your bed. A lot.
Deciding whether to co-sleep is a personal decision that each of us makes ourselves after learning about all the dangers and the benefits. The dangers were too great for me because I'm a heavy sleeper and was worried I'd roll over on her. Plus, I get night terrors and I sleep-kick. The last thing I want to do is to have to take my baby to the doctor after I kicked her while having a particularly realistic zombie dream. And also, I didn't trust myself not to roll over on her without building some sort of fort around her to protect her from me. But it couldn't be a fort made of pillows because of the suffocation risks (and honestly pillows don't stop me at all when I'm kick-boxing a zombie) so I’d have to make her bed fort out of something that would really protect her from me, like barbed-wire and ... um ... cleavers. Ah.
Touché, Milwaukee. Touché, indeed.