Just when I was contemplating a bit of a vacation from the blog, the City of Milwaukee draws me right back in to the debate with their new anti-cosleeping ad campaign. Check out the new ad:
The “white baby” version of the ad (for lack of a better name) features a baby sleeping next to a butcher knife.
The City of Milwaukee has been all over cosleeping for years. I tend to place some blame on the local newspaper, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, as it is always the first to yell “cosleeping death” whenever there is a story about a parent who passes out drunk or high and crushes his child.
That’s not to say there isn’t a problem: Milwaukee’s infant mortality rate is disturbing, at 10.4 deaths for every 1,000 live births. That’s a figure that city officials claim rivals some underdeveloped countries. But are ads like this, ones which demonize all cosleeping as dangerous, the most effective way to get the message across?
I’ve beaten this drum before. People will continue to sleep with their babies. And they’ll think “oh, just this once. Nothing will happen.” Instead, why not give them the tools they need, the knowledge, the information, to cosleep safely?
Abstinence-only education didn’t work for sex ed, and it won’t work for cosleeping. The City’s ads are provocative, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be effective.