Another Co-Sleeping Death Shows Why Ads Are Necessary

co-sleeping deathWhether you co-sleep or not, you've probably noticed that the Milwaukee Health Department has been taking some heat from their ad campaign featuring babies taking a snooze next to meat cleavers. But obviously, and tragically, a dad in the St. Louis area did not take heed of the over-the-top warning about co-sleeping, and another baby is dead as a result. Yeah, pretty crappy timing.

Even though we don't know at this point if dad was doing everything "right," we do know the 3-month-old baby girl was sleeping on the floor next to her father. Dad rolled over on her and suffocated baby Callie. So we can rule out the mattress and wall scenario that many people point to in instances of co-sleeping deaths. It sounds like loose sheets and pillows were not to blame either. It was dad, rolling over and not realizing what was happening. 

It turns out that these extreme ads are actually necessary.


Without condemning those who co-sleep safely, it's a fact that babies have died as a result of co-sleeping. Many of those parents who lost a child probably thought they were doing it right too. Or simply didn't know better. This campaign could remedy that, even though it's offensive.

And it is offensive. Just like the pro-breastfeeding ads that popped up all over New York City showing a pregnant woman riding a mechanical bull, these ads are designed to shock moms (and dads) by showing exaggerated circumstances. They have the added effect of infantilizing moms by saying we just don't know any better and can't figure it out our own little selves. This is why I get offended, and probably many of you do as well.

However, some people actually can't figure it out by themselves. Let's all take a breath and realize that these ads are for people who really don't know that loose blankets, pillows, and exhausted parents (and/or under the influence parents) can kill a child who is co-sleeping in your bed. That is a fact.

Does it mean you, as a co-sleeping mom, are putting your baby in as much danger as if she were sleeping with a butcher knife? No. Unless you're doing any of the above, then yes. As this story out of St. Louis clearly illustrates -- yes.

So let's all co-sleep safely out there, and in the meantime, try to educate women and men so another tragic co-sleeping death does not occur.

Do you think we need extreme ads to save babies' lives?


Image via Milwaukee Health Department

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