The public service ads commissioned by Milwaukee's Health Department and shown on the city's bus shelters are the latest weapon in a fight to alert parents to the potential dangers of sharing a bed with babies.
The city's health official want to reduce infant mortality by 10%. Milwaukee County Medical Examiner Christopher Happy last year told the Journal Sentinel that 'if you sleep with your child, you are playing a kind of Russian roulette.'
Milwaukee Council figures show that of the 203 pre one-year-old babies who died in 2007 and 2008, 25 per cent were unintended sleep related deaths. Of these, 11 infants suffocated - ten of which occurred while co-sleeping.
The mayor Tom Barrett introduced the campaign at a press conference the same day city officials announced the ninth official death blamed on co-sleeping.
But many experts and co-sleeping parents said the hard-hitting 'blades in bed' campaign is offensive and over the top. Many fear responsible parents who share beds with children are being demonised and that messages on how to co-sleep responsibly would be more effective.
There's even a new Facebook page called "Campaign Against Milwaukee's Co-Sleeping Campaign."
Comments from outraged parents include 'these ads are just offensive to sanity', 'co-sleeping can be done safely if some basic common sense guidelines are followed' and 'ignorant and misleading.'
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett thinks the controversy is working: "Obviously people are paying attention to what we're doing and it's been provocative and that was really what the intent was.
"When I first saw the ad I thought, is this too raw? Is this too provocative? And it made people feel uncomfortable. But quite honestly, it's not like the uncomfortableness I feel when I get a phone call about another co-sleeping death.
"We want people to think about this. We want to raise the level of discourse on this issue."
More on Parentdish: Co-sleeping safely
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Do you find likening co-sleeping to sleeping with a massive knife offensive?
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