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Babies with knives? Co-sleeping ad angers some parents

Milwaukee Health Department / Today

Would you ever tuck your baby into bed cuddled up next to a butcher knife? No? Then why are you co-sleeping with her? That's the message in some alarming public service ads by Milwaukee's Health Department. 

Milwaukee Health Department / Today

The disturbing ads show adorable little tykes tucked into an adult bed with butcher knives that could easily take down a cow, along with the message, "Your baby sleeping with you can be just as dangerous." While they certainly get their point across, many think the ads have gone too far. Yes, they get your attention, but is the shock value of the ads too much?

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TODAY's Professionals took on this issue, with NBC's Chief Medical Editor Dr. Nancy Snyderman arguing against the ads.

"Look, co-sleeping in this country leads to infant deaths. We know that parents can roll over on babies and smother them." But, Snyderman said, "I think this is over the top, absolutely over the top."

Advertising executive Donny Deutsch disagreed: "If it saves one baby..." he said.

Legal analyst Star Jones pointed out that over-the-top images tend to stick in people's brains better than more subtle messages.

"Their message is absolutely important, this is not the right way to do it," Snyderman said.

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Co-sleeping mom Christie Haskell notes on Cafe Mom's The Stir blog that the babies in the ads are sleeping on their stomachs, surrounded by fluffy bedding -- both well-known safety hazards regardless of where babies sleep. She says health officials would be better off telling parents how to safely co-sleep, rather than demonizing parents who do it as a deliberate choice with plenty of safety precautions.

What do you think?

More on sleep and motherhood (if that's not a contradiction in terms):

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