In the wake of a spate of infant deaths among those who were "co-sleeping" in a bed next to their parents, Milwaukee officials have launched an aggressive ad campaign designed to shock parents into heeding safe sleep recommendations.
Nine infants have died in the city this year, the latest just 7 weeks old, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. The ad the city unveiled depicts an infant in a bed next to a large butcher knife, alongside a caption that reads, "Your baby sleeping with you can be just as dangerous." The city has set a goal of reducing the infant death rate to an historic low by 2017, including eliminating racial disparities in the death rate.
From the Journal Sentinel:
"We as adults who love babies love the thought of a baby in bed," [Milwaukee Mayor Tom] Barrett said.
"Cuddling a baby is very nurturing," he said.
But if it takes a raw message to get the point across that babies must sleep alone, on their backs, in their own cribs, the ad is not too shocking, the mayor said.
"Co-sleeping deaths are the most preventable form of infant death in this community," Barrett said.
"Is it shocking? Is it provocative?" asked Baker, the health commissioner.
"Yes. But what is even more shocking and provocative is that 30 developed and underdeveloped countries have better (infant death) rates than Milwaukee."
(image via: http://www.jsonline.com/)