November 18th, 2011
03:20 PM ET

Baby in parents' bed: As dangerous as a butcher knife?

The Empowered Patient is a regular feature from CNN Senior Medical News Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen that helps put you in the driver's seat when it comes to health care.

The ads at bus stops in Milwaukee make you catch your breath: A baby sleeps next to a butcher knife that’s almost as long as the baby and very, very sharp.

Underneath the ads, the text reads “Your baby sleeping with you can be just as dangerous.”

The point of the ads is that babies should sleep in cribs, not in adult beds. Between 1990 and 1997, 515 infants died while sleeping in adult beds, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. About a quarter of the deaths occurred when parents rolled over on their babies. The rest were due to other causes such as babies suffocating in a soft blanket or getting stuck between the mattress and the bed frame.

But some wonder if  the ads have gone too far.

“I strongly disagree with this very insensitive and unscientific ad,” Dr. William Sears, author of the “The Baby Book,” told CNN’s Suzanne Malveaux on Friday. “Every night the world over, millions and millions of babies and mothers sleep close to one another and they wake up just fine.”

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett says he knew from the start that these ads would be controversial – and he’s glad.

“They evoke strong emotions. They open a dialogue about unsafe sleeping,” he says.

Barrett says he, too, was initially put off by the ads.

“When my health commissioner first showed me these ads, I recoiled a bit. I thought, are they too provocative, too raw?” he recalls.

Barrett says he changed his mind when he remembered that 10 babies a year die from sudden infant death syndrome or suffocation in his city while sleeping in an adult bed.

“As uncomfortable as these ads made me feel, that discomfort in no way comes close to the way I feel when I learn about another co-sleeping death,” he says.

He adds that the ads include a telephone number to call to get a free crib, as many of these deaths occur in the poorest areas of Milwaukee.

The American Academy of Pediatrics says infants should never share a bed during sleep, but some doctors advocate the "family bed."

Sears told CNN that a bassinet that pulls alongside a parents’ bed is “probably the safest for most parents.” He adds that babies should sleep on firm mattresses and  sleep only with mothers, as only moms “have that awareness of baby’s presence.”

soundoff (491 Responses)
  1. PDXmum

    Uh huh. And of all these babies who died in their parents' bed, how many of the parents were using drugs, drunk or obese? An infant is in very little danger of dying next to their mother if the bed is set up properly and mom isn't on anything. And how many babies in that same time period died alone in their cribs down the hall from their parents? Our son was one of those babies who cried every time he wasn't in physical contact with someone, so not even a bassinette worked with him. Bedsharing made breastfeeding a breeze, got everyone a good night's sleep, and facilitated an extremely close bond between Dad and baby. At nearly three we still have a family bed and he's a cheerful, extremely affectionate and outgoing child.

    November 18, 2011 at 16:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Susan

      Agree with you – it's been quite a few years for my 3 nearly grown kids, but it felt totally natural and easy to have them in bed, I never lost sleep with an infant. I did have a big king-sized bed, and dad actually worked most nights, plus that mom radar is a real thing... but they were out by 7-8 mos. lol. That's what felt right to me. Mom's, go with your instincts.

      November 18, 2011 at 16:57 | Report abuse |
    • chucklhed

      I'm offended by these ads! RIDICULOUS and EXTREME! SIDS has nothing to do with co-sleeping! how many kids die of SIDS in Cribs all alone? I love my FAMILY BED and my 3 amazing children are very happy for it. Mommy radar works when you're not on drugs\alcohol or obese. Children around the world sleep with their mommies and are carried by their mommies and are much happier for it. I'm with Dr. Sears on this one!

      November 18, 2011 at 17:03 | Report abuse |
    • Dragonwind

      SIDS is the leading cause of death among infants aged one month to one year. Each year 2,300 infants will die from SIDS.

      Babies who sleep in an adult bed have a 40 times greater risk of SIDS.

      from cjsids dot org

      They have some interesting statistics there.

      November 18, 2011 at 17:17 | Report abuse |
    • James

      We were family bed people too – two kids, 26 months apart in a king sized box springs & mattress on the floor. I think it made all of us more rested and healthier. The infant slept next to my wife and she was much more aware if a baby needed changed, had a fever, etc. This also promotes longer nursing which is good for mother and child as well. When they were 4 & 2 years old, we moved them to their own bed. Around 8 or 9, they started drifting to their own rooms more & more.

      November 18, 2011 at 17:25 | Report abuse |
    • DaDa

      Sounds like a mama's boy to me.

      November 18, 2011 at 17:35 | Report abuse |
    • Sam

      Dragonwind: Just because you read it on the internet doesn't mean it is true. If you look at http://thebabybond.com/Cosleeping&SIDSFactSheet.html, you'll see evidence that co-sleeping actually reduces the rate of SIDS.

      November 18, 2011 at 17:37 | Report abuse |
    • John

      Speaking of being on drugs. Thats Dragonswind. SIDS is ALOT lower with babies who sleep with their parents.

      November 18, 2011 at 17:41 | Report abuse |
    • Sunflower

      Feel sorry for ALL of your marriages...... Baby belongs in his/her own bed. No if, ands, or buts. My sister did this and lived to regret it. Daughter was 12 and still sneaking in to sleep with them... Not healthy at all at that poiint. Sick if you ask me.

      November 18, 2011 at 17:44 | Report abuse |
    • Dragonwind

      John, did I insult you or be disrespectful to you? No. I expect the same respect from you as I gave you. I simply posted information easily available on the internet with a simple google, another person posted a counter argument and i'll be pleased to look that up and go from there.

      Your disrespectful remark to and about me was uncalled for.

      November 18, 2011 at 17:45 | Report abuse |
    • Dragonwind


      I am currently going over that page you listed for me, the information is interesting and enlightening. Thank you for providing me with that link.

      November 18, 2011 at 17:49 | Report abuse |
    • Kendra

      Again, how many of these SIDS deaths involved drugs, alcohol or obesity? I am also offended by this ad. Babies are meant to be close to their mothers. It's the way nature intended it. Babies were not meant to be alone in a crib. I have a friend that actually prevented her 6 week old's death because the child was sleeping next to her and starting choking on mucus. Had the baby been in a crib, she would not have heard anything and the baby would have died.

      November 18, 2011 at 17:58 | Report abuse |
    • SPF

      Guess we will see how is at 23. Hahaha. Lame.

      November 18, 2011 at 18:02 | Report abuse |
    • ieat

      agree. Cosleeping parent here too. However, I have to say co sleeping isn't for everyone. It has to work for everyone in the family. If the child sleeps fine or better alone, let him/her. If the child sleeps better with parents and the parents are fine with it, then why not? Bottom line is that it has to work with everyone involved. There are risks with everything. Cribs come with its set of issues such as children suffocating in blanket/bumper/ill fitting mattress, or SIDS, or children managed to climb off and fell. Cosleeping can be an issue if parents are heavy sleepers who can't tell if he/she is sleeping on the baby. These statistics are absolutely useless because every family is different, the same as every child, every parent is different.

      November 18, 2011 at 19:30 | Report abuse |
  2. Andy

    The key statistic missing is how many kids die sleeping alone in their own bed. I could imagine instances where the additional movement around the baby might be a positive thing and prevent death.

    November 18, 2011 at 16:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Kendra

      This is true. They say the extra movement will prevent the child from falling into a deep enough sleep for SIDS. Breastfed babies are less likely to die from SIDS for this reason as well. They wake up more frequently.

      November 18, 2011 at 18:16 | Report abuse |
  3. Devin

    Pure crap. My kids are just fine and have slept with my wife or myself every night of their 4+ yrs & 14 months they've existed. The US and Western Medical Society function on the same premise as old school religion, live in fear and do as I say! Do the research, SIDS in the US is higher than other countries BECAUSE other countries typically have family beds. And the mother's only?? Sure if the father is a drunk or works 2-3 shifts a day.

    November 18, 2011 at 16:42 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ding

      they don't have their own beds? It's the four of you in one bed?

      November 18, 2011 at 17:03 | Report abuse |
    • Devin

      No, actually we got a bed for my first daughter after 6 months but one of us are with her most of the night. We just got a bed for the other at 14 months. their beds are in the same room and one or both of us are with them most of the night.

      November 18, 2011 at 17:08 | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Dude! You need to get some lovin' if that's the case.

      November 18, 2011 at 17:08 | Report abuse |
    • joe

      You're argument is so weak. "Just because it didn't happen to me means it's not true" is anecdotal and does not matter in the least when it comes to statistics and science. Just because you smoke crack and are alive does not make it safe!

      November 18, 2011 at 17:09 | Report abuse |
    • joe

      I was initially going to say "You're so weak." "You're" should read "Your"

      November 18, 2011 at 17:11 | Report abuse |
    • Devin

      Joe, do the research. My wife & I have (she's probably going to post on this too as she's all rev'd up about it) plus look at the responses. It isn't just us.

      November 18, 2011 at 17:18 | Report abuse |
    • Dragonwind

      I did do some reasearch.. You just got lucky.

      www dot cjsids dot org/resource-center/sids-statistics dot html

      November 18, 2011 at 17:22 | Report abuse |
    • joe

      Devin: If you increase the risk of your child dying, say, 100fold by co-sleeping, it does not mean it'll happen to everyone.
      For example , if the risk is 1 in a million it goes to 1 in 10,000. You still won't meet anyone who had it happen but that is not a valid argument.

      November 18, 2011 at 17:24 | Report abuse |
    • Joeman1


      You have a greater chance of dying in a car crash... Should we all start taking a bus?

      We co slept with out kids till they were in high school... Ok, Im just kidding, but they were 5 or so. Only problem with co sleeping is that it is harder to ween them off of sleeping with mom and dad and can cause separation issues at bed time, but they are resolved with a little time 🙂

      November 18, 2011 at 17:40 | Report abuse |
    • Jodi

      Agree with you Devin!

      Babies should be close to their parents not just banished to their rooms and cirbs alone. Hey, we, adults sleep together, why should babies be alone. My son has been sleeping with us since he was a baby and we both love it. And there is always time for some adult love for me and my husband alone.

      November 18, 2011 at 17:54 | Report abuse |
  4. Roberto

    This ad is absurd.. Can everyone around the world afford bassinets or cribs? Every baby sleeps in the family bed in the 3rd world countries and they grow up as fine adults. This is just another hype!

    November 18, 2011 at 16:42 | Report abuse | Reply
    • NO

      if u cant afford sh!t ur kid needs ; don't have kids. simple

      November 18, 2011 at 16:44 | Report abuse |
    • ChicagoRob

      seriously alot of babies in 3rd world countries don't gow up at all. with infant mortality in some approaching 2 in 10.

      November 18, 2011 at 16:56 | Report abuse |
    • mimsy

      ChicagoRob, is that because of bedsharing, or is that because of disease and malnutrition?

      November 18, 2011 at 16:59 | Report abuse |
    • urthlvr

      ChicagoRob-the infant mortality rate in 3rd world is due to things like lack of infectious diseases, birth trauma, and so forth, not due to bed sharing. Here is link to WHO article, but don't let the facts get in your way. http://www.who.int/healthinfo/statistics/Neonatal_cod_2008_methods.pdf

      November 18, 2011 at 17:12 | Report abuse |
    • Joeman1

      "if u cant afford sh!t ur kid needs ; don't have kids. simple"

      OMG, how true this is!!! This would solve a ton of this countries financial issues if every one was responsible with their private parts and stopped having so many kids or any that you could not afford!

      November 18, 2011 at 17:46 | Report abuse |
  5. mimsy

    Notice how the baby in the picture is amid fluffy bedding and pillows, and on its stomach. As long as it is being done safely, bedsharing is fine. My son is the same way as PDXmum's. He sleeps well when he's next to me, and we ALL get more sleep because I feel him start to wake up when he wants to eat, and can start breastfeeding before either of us are fully awake, then we fall back asleep.

    November 18, 2011 at 16:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • miss tang

      brad, I love you and I want to have your baby. It will sleep in a bassinette, I promise.

      November 18, 2011 at 17:49 | Report abuse |
    • Brad

      Your aby is going to die.

      November 18, 2011 at 21:00 | Report abuse |
  6. Oleg Kibirev

    What an absurd ad highlighting a situation which a. never occurs b. is dramatically more dangerous than cosleeping. and c. has no redeeming upside. How about showing a kid playing at home of a gun owner. Now that's apples to apples comparison. A lot of people in Milwaukee actually co-sleep, own guns or both. Some are very careful – gun in safe, reasonably childproofed bed, some not so much. In both cases people make this choice for practical and emotional upsides, like being better able to protect a baby from other risks. Both are choices that should be protected and respected in America. Oh wait...

    November 18, 2011 at 16:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. MKE

    Are you willing to risk the chance that this ad is wrong? It's your kids life at stake. Maybe your child will end up being another one in the statistic of babies killed due to co-sleeping. Not worth it.

    November 18, 2011 at 16:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • NO

      1 in 5 I'll tell ya!

      November 18, 2011 at 16:46 | Report abuse |
    • Melissa

      I would much rather be able to rely on my instincts as a mother than a baby monitor in another room. Even the nights where my son sleeps in his pack n play in our room I wake up when he so much as rolls over. THAT'S how in tune a sober mom is with her baby. I would much rather have my baby next to me than in the next room.

      November 18, 2011 at 17:00 | Report abuse |
  8. Roberto

    NO- I was in my parents bed till I was 4 and not a loser! Come out of your shell and look at other countries. Family bond is what is becoming extinct in US now.

    November 18, 2011 at 16:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Prof

    No, he or she will grow up fine. And probably spell way better than you.

    November 18, 2011 at 16:46 | Report abuse | Reply
    • holy guac

      A real Prof would not start a sentence with the word "And."

      November 18, 2011 at 17:55 | Report abuse |
    • And so it was...

      Really? The Bible has quite a few of those. I don't put much stock in the Bible.

      November 18, 2011 at 20:06 | Report abuse |
  10. kp

    In seven years 515 died sleeping in the parents bed... how many did in their cribs? How many died from butcher knives? From the sign I would assume 515! Very bad information on that sign

    November 18, 2011 at 16:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. evilguppy

    This is absurd. I have 3 kids who all slept in our bed until they were 3 years old. They turned into well adjusted, independent kids and are all in college now. Some people have way too much free time on their ands and need to get a hobby instead of trying to stir crap where there is none.

    November 18, 2011 at 16:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Roberto

    You rarely hear about SID outside US.. why???

    November 18, 2011 at 16:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Roberto

    PDXmum – Well said.. No one looked at what the parent's condition was when SID happens.. drunk, on drugs/pills, obese?

    November 18, 2011 at 16:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Miriam

    This is the most ridiculous waste of money I've seen in a while. Ads against sleeping with your baby? Really? Just like Dr. Sears said, this is normal and going on all over the world. Of course you shouldn't put the baby next to Dad, but breastfeeding moms co-sleep all the time. I don't know one mom who never slept with her baby in the bed. The baby came out of the moms body so it's normal for baby to sleep best cuddled next to mom and when baby sleeps well everyone sleeps well. I struggled with getting my toddler into his own room. My struggle came from societal views and pressures that "he should be sleeping in his own bed thru the night" but you know what? He doesn't. My son for whatever reason was having nightmares coupled with allergies and it was disrupting everyone's sleep including his. I still have to go to work in the morning and I don't have a job that I can zone out in regularly. I moved my son's crib/bed into my room and secured it to my bed. He can easily roll up close to me if he feels like it but now he sleeps much better and so do we. We are a much happier family co-sleeping because we are sleeping. One size fits all rules to parenting don't work but common sense does.

    November 18, 2011 at 16:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Sampa

    This is pure nonsense. My daughter is 6 years old now and slept in my bed until age 3. Sometimes she still comes to my bed now.
    If there is a dangerous place for babies, this place is called CRIB.
    And for those babies who sleep and wake us close to their parents, I just think that they are lucky to have parents that care so much about them. They certainly feel loved.

    November 18, 2011 at 16:51 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ChicagoRob

      Not saying it's everyone but a good chunk of parents I know that let their kids sleep with them do so out of laziness in not wanting to get up out of bed dozens a time a night when babies are infants. My wife tried to talk me into letting our sons sleep in our bed so instead of risking our baby I took 2 extra night feedings.

      Now for myself i felt this was the right thing..both of us are pretty sound sleepers so didn't want to risk the chance simply for my own comfort.

      this is obviously a parents choice though

      November 18, 2011 at 17:02 | Report abuse |
  16. Aaron

    The reason for this ad is that a lot of babies die in adult beds. This is *not* because the parents are drug addicts, etc. My infant girl died four years ago of SIDS in our bed; we had laid her down there alone but assumed she was safe while we were in the next room. One theory is that the sheets and softer mattress tend to restrict the flow of oxygen – put babies in on their backs, in a proper crib. Keep in mind that even if your infant is on its back on your bed, it can role over – even if you've never seen your baby role over before. They develop so quickly!

    November 18, 2011 at 16:52 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jennifer in NYC

      Godbless you Aaron. What a horrible and painful thing for you and your wife. My heart goes out to you and your family.

      November 18, 2011 at 17:00 | Report abuse |
    • Melissa

      You put her in an adult bed by herself? That is a huge no no in safe bed sharing! I'm sorry for your loss but your loss was your fault for not researching safe bed sharing first. If you are going to be in the other room, a crib/bassinet is safer.

      November 18, 2011 at 17:38 | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Melissa....I don't know why you would ever think blaming a parent for the death of their child is ok...but in case you didn't know, your comment makes you kind of a terrible person. Please try to be a little more sensitive next time you dish out your "golden wisdom" about the accidental death of someone else's child.

      November 18, 2011 at 18:05 | Report abuse |
  17. ChicagoRob

    well to be honest a baby that size probably couldn't hurt himself on the knife either...just saying. On a side note the only time my two boys ever shared our bed was when they where sick. But please people if you really must sleep with your children then please invest in some gaurds so no little ones get rolled on

    November 18, 2011 at 16:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. mimsy

    Not to mention a lack of capitalization and punctuation.

    November 18, 2011 at 16:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. intothefire

    U is not how you spell you so yeah you did spell incorrectly.

    November 18, 2011 at 16:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Cesear

    this article couldn't be any more retarded

    November 18, 2011 at 16:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. andy colsen

    you have got to be kidding me.. so all those people who did not have a crib when they were a baby are losers? are you out of your bloddy mind!!! what make someone a loser? they don't have lots of money because they are affectionate, caring and normal and if you are filthy rich by being heartless then you are a winner? you are an idiott. (yes I like to spell like that as i don't want me comment filtered)

    November 18, 2011 at 16:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ieat

      clearly that person slept in a crib and didn't get enough parental love, and see how that person turned out?

      November 18, 2011 at 19:24 | Report abuse |
  22. biff

    Quit sleeping with your kids idiots, it does huge harm in many other ways too.

    November 18, 2011 at 16:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Melissa

      Does it? Does it really? Have you done ANY research into parenting? Your comments are useless. Safe bed sharing doesn't harm anyone, especially the baby!

      November 18, 2011 at 17:40 | Report abuse |
    • holy guac

      It doesn't harm the kid – until you roll over and kill it, or it suffocates in the bedding. But really, its your kid, so no one else really cares what happens to it in an overpopulated world.

      November 18, 2011 at 18:01 | Report abuse |
  23. GGCS

    Did they *have* to punch the baby a few times in the face before taking the picture just to make their point? XD

    November 18, 2011 at 16:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Jennifer in NYC

    I can understand both sides of the issue:

    As a well-informed mom, with knowledge and education about appropriate co-sleeping I DID co-sleep with both my daughters.

    However as a social worker and non-profit director I had two clients whose babies died co-sleeping. Co-sleeping is dangerous, especially when you have folks who aren't educated about it and don't seek out the facts. In the end, I agree with the ad, even if I don't follow it myself.

    November 18, 2011 at 16:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Damama

    I often put my infant daughter in between my husband and I after her middle-of-the-night nursing. One night, I heard a funny noise and woke up to find my husband's arm over her face, and she was struggling to breathe. He was not obese, drunk or drugged, just a sound sleeper not used to a baby in bed. That was the last time any infant slept in our bed. I live near the city where these ads are posted and I agree with them. I was heartsick every time the news reported that one more beautiful baby was dead due to co-sleeping. If 10 infants died in one year in every city from any one illness there would be telethons to find a cure.

    November 18, 2011 at 17:01 | Report abuse | Reply
    • sjsoder

      At least it was only his arm and not a Jerry Sandusky thing.

      November 18, 2011 at 17:28 | Report abuse |
  26. Dan

    I wonder how many infants die in car accidents. We should probaby stop driving.

    November 18, 2011 at 17:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. whiterat

    I wonder where the ad is that shows a baby with her head trapped in the drop side rail of a crib? Or a baby suffocated by a crib bumper? Or a crib blanket? No, you're not supposed to be using those things, either, but my baby was born in 2006 and her crib was recalled YEARS later. Thank goodness she never used the crib and slept SAFE in my bed instead!

    (FWIW, our bed looked NOTHING like that. I'd be worried *adults* would suffocate in a bed that looked like that, too. Geez.)

    November 18, 2011 at 17:01 | Report abuse | Reply
    • mimsy

      EXACTLY! The bed in the picture is what to avoid when cosleeping! Not to mention tummy sleeping. Sheesh.

      November 18, 2011 at 17:06 | Report abuse |
  28. Dan

    I wonder how many infants die in car accidents. We should probably stop driving.

    November 18, 2011 at 17:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Brian

    Of course it is. My mother is a retired pediatrics nurse. When my wife and I were having our daughter she told us don't have the baby in the bed because of how dangerous it is and how many deaths she saw during her 30 years in pediatrics as a result of the baby sleeping in the same bed. Our doctors said the same thing as my mother. The doctors told us adult beds are dangerous for many reasons.
    They all said this: put the baby crib in your room so you can watch the child for the first 6 months. That is what we did. Our baby is a year old and fine. We were able to watch her easily and never had a problem plus helped the night feeding when my wife breastfed our daughter. Anyone who supports baby sleeping in bed with parents is putting their child at risk the statistics show this over and over again and it is not going to change from the 1970's to 2011...

    November 18, 2011 at 17:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Saith

    I can't understand cosleeping. Great way to utterly murder the parents' relationship, absolutely no alone-time or intimacy without baby there? Geez. The problem with babies in the bed is soft mattresses, fluffy pillows and big duvets. Studies are beginning to show a link between those factors and SIDS. There is a reason people put babies in cribs - check out infant mortality rates in 3rd world countries before emulating them. It's very inexpensive to get a used basinet/crib you don't have to be "rich."

    November 18, 2011 at 17:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Doledart

      Those SIDS studies are BS. My sister dies of SIDS sleeping in a firm bottomed bassinet. No pillows or blankets to choke on or wrap around her neck. She just stopped breathing. Don't believe all you read on the subject because as someone who was touched by it and has really looked into it, they are all just blowing smoke.

      November 18, 2011 at 17:07 | Report abuse |
    • mimsy

      Most infant death in 3rd world countries are from malnutrition and disease, NOT bedsharing.

      November 18, 2011 at 17:07 | Report abuse |
    • holy guac

      Its a new moms way of avoiding intimacy with her husband.

      November 18, 2011 at 17:58 | Report abuse |
  31. Doledart

    Hey, if they're give away free cribs, just say so! Don't use some stupid scare tactic based on insignificant and highly deceiving statistics. My sister died of SIDS sleeping in a firm bottomed bassinet with no blanket or pillow. Where's the poster about that!


    November 18, 2011 at 17:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. jbmix

    My husband and I raised two lovely sons in a family bed. We never had a problem. As a breastfeeding mother, I got tons of sleep that otherwise wouldn't have happened if I would have had to get up all night. Our sons are both adults now and are very close to each other; the best of friends, really. We credit our our family harmony at least in part to our chosen sleeping arrangement. Can't recommend it enough, it's what mothers and babies were meant to do in my opinion. We are mammals, with helpless babies, after all. In the broad picture of human history, we have only started sleeping far away from our babies in recent times, according to the fashion of the day. Babies aren't selfish, they only ask for what they need; love and security from their parents. On the other hand, I do agree that a very overweight parent, or one that uses sleep aid drugs should not sleep with a child or infant.

    November 18, 2011 at 17:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. wwazz

    Could Elizabeth Cohen or another reader please provide the evidence that mothers feel a baby's presence and fathers don't?

    November 18, 2011 at 17:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Co-sleeper

    A ridiculous shocker ad.
    We have 6 children who all co-slept as babies. We were sensible. They were in their own space between our pillows when not nursing/bottle-feeding. When they didn't sleep in our bed, I usually slept in their room next to their crib/cradle and used monitors. It is easy to put an arm across a sleeping baby if you're deeply asleep but putting them in their area (between the pillows or in a co-sleeper bed that either connects to the bed or lies between the pillows is perfectly safe. SIDS can occur right next to an awake parent. A friend's baby quietly stopped breathing while asleep and he was right beside the parents who were watching tv. It only takes a couple minutes of no air to die. The same amount of time it takes to use the bathroom or go make a cup of coffee. Things happen and it's not always the parents' fault.

    November 18, 2011 at 17:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Jim P.

    How many babies died in auto accidents in the same period? This is needless hysteria, replacing calm logic with strained emotions and rational thought with "feelings".

    The butcher knife analogy is just stupid.

    November 18, 2011 at 17:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Ironhead

    The math in this article doesn't make sense. It says that 515 babies died during a 7 year period while co-sleeping. It doesn't specify but this must be the national rate (73 a year).

    It then quotes the mayor as deciding to go ahead with the controversial campaign based on the 10 baby deaths in his city last year (a city of 595000 people). If 15 percent of the nations baby co-sleeping deaths were in Milwaukee then this mayor has bigger problems than a dumb inflammatory poster campaign.

    November 18, 2011 at 17:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Damama

      Not all cities keep statistics on co-sleeping deaths. And not all parents will admit that the death occured while co-sleeping, out of fear of criminal neglect charges.

      November 18, 2011 at 17:19 | Report abuse |
  37. BlackDynamite

    This is only legitimate if the number of babies dying in their crib is substantially less

    November 18, 2011 at 17:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Tara

    Co-Sleeping is unsafe! Read: Buy Cribs.

    Nice how they don't include the number of deaths of infants sleeping alone. Or the fact that infants' stress hormones spike dramatically when they are in their cribs alone. Or that some doctors recommend that children not sleep alone until they are 5. This whole article is creates a false dichotomy. You can co-sleep safely. You can also sleep separately unsafely.

    November 18, 2011 at 17:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Greg

    Only mom's have the awareness of the baby's presence in a bed? Give me a break. I slept with my baby girl in the same bed when she was not even a week old. I was KEENLY aware of her presence. I have slept in the same bed with my daughter for months on end, ALWAYS keenly aware of exactly where she was. Dr. William Sears obviously doesn't know what he is talking about on this issue, or has overstated the awareness of a mothers awareness.

    November 18, 2011 at 17:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Jessica

    This ad is a huge FAIL. Why? Because they fail to educate people on how to PROPERLY put their babies to sleep - whether it's in a family bed or in a crib. They just post this scare-tactic picture. So where do they expect people to put their babies to sleep? In a crib. Ok... but they fail to realize that crib bumpers, blankets, and stuffed animals are one of the highest reasons that babies suffocate and die in their cribs. But since that's all the hype (make your crib look pretty!!), no one tells these parents that that's unsafe as well. I'm a firm believer in co-sleeping and bed-sharing (3.5 years of it!), as long as it's done properly (fitted sheet, no giant comforter, no pillows near baby, and baby sleeps on the end of the bed, not next to Daddy).

    November 18, 2011 at 17:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. runnerjen

    There are 2 major things that are not addressed. The first is how many babies have died in that same time frame sleeping alone in their cribs? The SIDS rate is much higher than accidental death from bed sharing. The second is all of the benefits of babies sharing beds with parents is completely ignored. Sleeping next to an adult helps regulate breathing (particularly for undiagnosed sleep apnea which is what many consider SIDS to be), it makes breastfeeding much easier, and everyone gets more sleep which makes for better parents.

    November 18, 2011 at 17:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. RB


    November 18, 2011 at 17:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Cheryl

    It's easy to say something is "fine" and "works" just because something bad didn't happen when you personally did it. What if your kids one day told you that snorting cocaine was "safe" because they had personally never had an overdose? The statistics are there. Bedsharing can be dangerous, and you would be unlikely to forgive yourself if the simple act of rolling over in your sleep was the cause of your child's death. Not worth it for the "convenience" of night feedings!

    November 18, 2011 at 17:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • mimsy

      Statistics can be made to say anything. The above statistics are only valid if the number of babies who died from SIDS while sleeping alone is significantly less (at least more than two standard deviations lower). As you can see, they neglect to add those stats. I wonder why that is?

      November 18, 2011 at 17:40 | Report abuse |
    • holy guac

      Its natures way of weeding out the stupid people, I'm sure.

      November 18, 2011 at 17:59 | Report abuse |
  44. Benroy82

    I probably won't comment on the parenting of children, I myself don't have kids yet but I do look forward to that day. However I feel that the ads went way overboard with their direction and focus. While accidents do happen, posting this in an advert form is nothing more than a scare tactic that is being used on parents. What I find interesting is that more people die from bee stings than baby's who die from sleeping in an adult bed with its parent(s). Why don't they show a comfortable couple on a pick nick surrounded by butcher knives with wings? There are more dangerous things out there, and being a parent in the first place – in my mind – already comes with a load of pressure and stress and scaring people isn't the way to go. Period.

    November 18, 2011 at 17:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Matt

    Forget this article, the amount of people sleeping in the same bed as their children until age 4 is seriously messed up. I personally don't care what is going on in 3rd world countries, don't sleep with your kids!

    November 18, 2011 at 17:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Dano

    What if you roll over onto your baby and don't notice? I mean, you probably would notice, but on the off chance that you don't, your baby is a goner. 🙁 I wouldn't be willing to take that chance.

    November 18, 2011 at 17:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. John

    Dragonswind is a victim of not co-sleeping. Now he is brain impaired.

    November 18, 2011 at 17:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Jason Voorhees

    Ahh.. thats where my knife went..

    November 18, 2011 at 17:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Cain

    its obamas fault!

    November 18, 2011 at 17:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. holy guac

    Personally, if people want to take the chance of killing their baby by sleeping with it, have at it. After all, you made one, you can probably make more. Unfortunately.

    November 18, 2011 at 17:51 | Report abuse | Reply
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