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11/16/2011 at 12:00 PM ET

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mary on

I really do not believe that the “co sleeping campaign went too far. I think it’s time to get graphic, (unfortunately). When young people have their babies the hospitals and Fire Departments give out free cribs along with parenting tips before they leave the hospital. Some of these young people need visual proof. In Milwaukee it seems that every other week a child dies from co sleeping. Usually the parent was so tired they crushed their little one. Or the parent had been drinking or doing drugs and was out of it when they killed their little one (usally its the latter). These campaigns will be placed in high risk areas, Areas that have been known to have a higher incident of co sleeping deaths.

It won’t hurt to try this new campaign.

Amanda on

I agree with you, Mary. I’m all for co-sleeping if it’s done safely. People really need to be educated about the right/wrong way to do this if they think it’s a good fit for their family. If this graphic advertisement saves even one babies life it’s worth it!

Erika on

I agree with Mary and Amanda. I think it is great to have the baby in the room with you, but either in a bassinet near the bed, or something that attaches to the side that separates the baby. It wouldn’t take much to roll over onto your baby, which could be deadly, especially for a newborn. Especially if one or both parents are restless sleepers. I am a very violent sleeper, and have actually woken up with bruises and scratches from moving around and banging into the headboard, or scratching myself, so I will never co-sleep with my future children lol.

amw on

lets be clear ladies, the “co-sleeping” that mary is referencing being done by high, wasted, troubled teen parents is just lazy negligence. i would assume those people are passing out with a baby in their arms, not out of choice, but out of irresponsible lifestyles in general. im sure they would also haves knives and pans of hot oil out in reach of their toddlers too.

these ad campaigns are worthless at getting at the apparent problem. and it does great harm to call it “co-sleeping”. i cant believe they squandered money on such an ad campaign when the economy is asking every dollar to be stretched further and further. co-sleeping is actually much better for babies and moms, and we need to get the word out and the ground rules for safe co-sleeping. these ads are just sensationally terrorizing.

amandamay on

What drives me nuts are the statistics they throw around – The majority of people who roll over on the baby/smother the baby are drunk or high or on heavy medication… they were NOT co-sleeping – they *unintentionally* fell asleep with the baby. People who actively, intentionally and safely co-sleep *rarely* smother their child. The rate is much less than SIDS in a crib.

Sarah K. on

Mary, the problem you’re talking about is drug/alcohol use, not co-sleeping. Parents who are on drugs shouldn’t be around their kids period. Sober parents can and do co-sleep successfully.

MiB on

Co-sleeping is the norm in many parts of the world, but it has to be done with some afterthought (and these pictures greatly illustrate unsafe co-sleeping practices, the knifes notwithstanding).

I agree with amw that this campaign is not actually about co-sleeping but about dangerous sleeping habits. It is dangerous to let a baby sleep on it’s stomach, in a bed full of pillows and blankets, with an exhausted parent, a parent that isn’t aware that co-sleeping is going on (like when mom falls asleep nursing in bed after the baby has fallen asleep in it’s own bed) or a parent that is affected by drugs (legal or illegal) or alcohol.

It’s also dangerous to leave a baby alone in the bath (soemthing that happens all the time), yet I see no campaign saying that bathing the baby is dangerous. It’s also dangerous to even take your eyes off you baby on the changing table but no one says that you shouldn’t use changing tables or stop changing their diapers.

I really do think that an information campaign teaching safe co-sleeping practices during child birth classes, doctors appointments, in hospital etc would be more effective. I don’t mind warnings against unsafe practises at all, but I’m just not sure about this particular campaing. Maybe I’d rather have seen, well, more graphic pictures a baby wedged between the mattress and the wall or under a pillow), or do and don’t pictures instead, this campaign (at least the pictures I have seen) doesn’t speak to me.

Jean on

Babies belong in a crib. I think co-sleeping is ridiculous. I have heard far too many stories of people complaining how they can’t get their 3 year old out of their bed now. Why develop a habit that just has to be broken? You are teaching your child that your room is their room too and where is the line in the sand? I wouldn’t be surprised if parents that co-sleep have more marital problems than those who don’t. You need your own room and your privacy.

Mary on

However you want to term it. THEY are sleeping with their child. And that would equal to co sleeping. The majority of them do not have cribs or a safe place to put them. They think putting them in bed with them is ok. Some don’t understand the consequences to alcohol or just plain super tiredness and co sleeping can lead to catastrophe.

I think the bigger problems we have are the ones who are offended. It sounds like to me at least, you’re offended by ‘class’. So what the lower class can’t co sleep, should we call it something else?

Yes, in many parts of the world parents do co sleep. And some of those areas are very poor. But we are not talking about that area we are talking about a problem we have around here in Milwaukee. We need to educate everyone. Why get so bent on a campaign? You are most likely not going to see it! We are going to do whatever it takes to educate people who are at high risk with severely harming their child or worse. And if that means educating by showing graphic, visual images then that’s what will be done. BUT hey if you have a better idea, please let’s hear it.

Sarah K. on

Huh Mary, no one said that poor people shouldn’t co-sleep or even implied it. I think we all know rich people do drugs and can be be irresponsible too. Class has nothing to do with it. The point that everyone is trying to make is that making a blanket statement that co-sleeping is dangerous is false and misleading. It can be done safely, but this campaign does not reflect that. You said “WE will do whatever it takes” – does that mean you helped create this campaign?

Shannon on

Mary, I’m in Milwaukee too and agree, there seems to be a story out every other week. Have you ever heard Belling rant about it? Boy he gets riled up about the thoughtless deaths of these poor babies. And I agree with others that the majority of the deaths are not from people choosing to deliberately co-sleep in an attempt bond with their child but rather they pass out drunk or high…accidental co-sleeping. I fear this campaign will harm the former.

Jessie on

Cosleeping is biologically normal and shown to reduce the risk of SIDS. Putting your child in a room alone what is abnormal but as a society we have come to see that as what “should” be done.

Most of these cosleeping deaths are not SIDS, they are suffocation, etc. thanks to UNSAFE PARENTING. If you leave the cords of blinds down your child could strangle themselves but the answer isn’t to never leave a child alone in a room. It is to take proper precautions so the child is SAFE.

These campaigns are nothing but a waste of money and disgusting scare tactics that don’t address the real issue nor mention the true statistics and completely ignore that babies die from unsafe crib practices as well (such as blankets and pillows in the crib) but when a child dies in a crib, it’s written off as an unexpected tragedy regardless of whether it could have been prevented.

These campaigns will “work” but not as they should. They will produce more people like some of the ones commenting on this site – scared, influenced, uninformed parents who don’t bother to research things on their own and instead allow scare tactics to determine how they parent.

Mandy on

Cosleeping is stupid. Don’t complain when you’re 7 year old won’t sleep in their own bed because you had them in yours from birth.

Anonymous on

Whoa! After seeing those photos, I have to agree that the anti co-sleeping campaign went way too far. I also fear that it could actually end up endangering babies. Why? Because the baby in the first picture is shown sleeping on his/her tummy! The baby in the second picture is shown sleeping on his/her side, which isn’t quite as bad but still not the safest.

Parents might see the photos and think it’s okay to put their babies to sleep on their tummies or sides. And considering the fact that tummy sleeping in particular is a SIDS risk, that’s a very dangerous way to be thinking!

mary on

Too graphic? Please let me paint you a picture that is ‘too graphic’ how about going to a call that a baby is non responsive, very cold. You get to your destination and walk into the door where you find the mother sitting on the couch rocking back in fourth. Crying, shaking, sobbing, hyper ventilating and yelling/screaming in pain all while periodically sitting quietly in a catatonic state staring and not blinking, not once. Even though, she has two small children climbing all over her. They are under the age of three and they just want mommy to stop crying. They are so young but at the same time understand mum is physically there but not emotionally there with them they try hard to comfort her.

Dad is sitting next to mom and trying to stop the younger ones from climbing all over mom.You can tell he had been crying. His nose is running and his face is pale. He is trying to be strong. He is numb! The baby in the mean time is in the master bedroom swaddled in a homemade blue blanket lying on the parent’s bed. Police and EMTS are investigating. Back in the living room mom is trying to talk to the detective. She tells the detective that it’s been a rough couple of days. Her two yr old has been super sick. They just had her into the Dr that day. They say she just has a bad cold/flu. The two yr old has been up all night. They don’t want the newborn sleeping in the same room with the two yr old. And of course the 2 yr old only wants mom! NOT dad! So mom must get up and comforts the 2 yr old and in-between breast feeds her newborn. Who was averaging sucking at her breast every hour and a half. The last feed was about around 4:45-5 am. But this particular morning they all slept till 8am. Or so she thought.

When the 3 yr old came crawling into their bed, mom turned over to greet her. That’s when she jumped out of bed in a panic. From there on it was a blur to her. This mom did NOT drink, does NOT smoke she was just plain tired! The day before her baby boy’s funeral, her 2 yr old is admitted into the hospital. That cold she was diagnosed with is H1N1 and she is critical. She cannot make her baby brothers funeral.

This mother thought she was doing everything right. Breastfeeding her newborn and not letting him sleep with his sick sister.

I try to talk to her once a year. Around Halloween. In fact it was Oct 31 a few years back. Her pain will never go away. Her two year old did recover but not without new health problems.

This story is just one of a few I could tell you about. All of the mothers come from different backgrounds social, economical, race but ALL with the same results. The Death of a baby. An accidental death of a baby! And this is one death that is 100% preventable!

So no those pictures are not graphic, you have no idea what the real graphic looks like! And, the campaign makes a mother think twice about co sleeping with her baby. Then the campaign did its job! And I will not have to respond to a non responsive baby call due to co sleeping!

And no I did not have anything to do with this campaign.

Lorus on

The #1 killer of children (BY FAR) is car crashes from improperly installed and used car seats. The money on this campaign would be better spent educating people about car seat safety.

Sarah K. on

Mary, that story is very sad and I feel for that mother. But, she was not one of the mothers that made a conscious decision to co-sleep with their baby – what happened to her was because of an unforeseen situation and a last minute decision. She had not planned on co-sleeping or arranged her bed in such a way that was practical for co-sleeping. Mothers who intentionally co-sleep do so after thought and planning. They usually don’t have tons of sheets and pillows or a high-up bed. It seems like the campaign is targeting parents who did not even intend to co-sleep, but makes a blanket statement about all co-sleeping parents.

Jessie on

Lorus, I agree entirely.

Mary, you neglect the fact that most SIDS deaths happen in cribs. You also neglect the fact that the mother was cosleeping improperly, which was the real problem. You are no better than these scare-tactic campaigns. Mothers are going to cosleep. The majority do at one point or another. It would be better if these ads educated on SAFE cosleeping.

Jillian on

Co sleeping doesn’t prevent your chilfrom getting SIDS.

Amandamay, You said,”The rate is much less than SIDS in a crib.” Where did you get your facts? In fact, 50% of them occur while co-sleeping.

A 2010 study looked at 554 autopsies of infants in North Carolina that listed SIDS as the cause of death and suggested that many of these deaths may have been due to accidental suffocation. The study found that 69% of autopsies listed other possible risk factors that could lead to death such us unsafe bedding or sleeping with adults.