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. holy guac

    How do you know what a loser sounds like – do you talk out loud to yourself a lot?

    November 18, 2011 at 17:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. van boon

    This article is total BS to not mention cribs outgassing causes SIDS. Please Mr. Mayor, do your research. He must have been lobbied by a crib company.

    November 18, 2011 at 17:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. justadad

    First off to posters below – if you don't have kids then don't speak... you have no idea. Secondly, this is pure BS for most parents. Just use common sense. If you are obese or a very heavy and/or active sleeper then probably not the best idea to have the baby in the bed. If you are normal in size and sleep behavior its fine. There is no way that a baby sleeping with it's own mother increases the odds of SIDS. That defies all logic, common sense, and millions of years human behavior. It is really interesting and troubling to me that some elements of modern science have started the campaign over the last several years to attack this very normal human behavior.

    November 18, 2011 at 17:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. fdgarrett

    Way may more babies die in car accidents every year. Guess you shouldn't drive your kids anywhere either.

    November 18, 2011 at 17:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Portland tony

    I'm sure that from time to time it's OK to have your babe in the parents bed. In past centuries, during very cold winter nights, family members would "bundle" together to keep warm. Let's face it, ya do what you haft to.

    November 18, 2011 at 17:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Mike Ogden

    People use issues like this to help validate their choices in parenting. Statistically, none of this is so dangerous that advertising campaigns are warranted. How many other more pressing issues could the city have addressed that are more pressing than co-sleeping? I'm sure this is miles from many more serious problems in any city. I also suspect that many people expressing concern over co-sleeping aren't doing so due to safety, but the fact that the practice makes them uncomfortable. These overblown and under-analyzed statistics just give them an excuse to denigrate a practice they simply don't like. If you want to raise your kids having them sleep in another bed or room, then fine. Go ahead. Plenty of us think there is a better way. Don't latch on to the first highly questionable statistic you see as a way of validating your own choices.

    November 18, 2011 at 17:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • sealchan

      Well said. I can think of one statistic that would at least put the number of infant deaths in a parental bed into significant context: how many children die in their cribs?

      November 18, 2011 at 18:09 | Report abuse |
    • Yoshiyahu

      The logic behind the way we fignt SIDS is laughable, but the idea of a baby dying is so horrendous that we tolerate measures that we would never tolerate in other areas. When you can control for things like prenatal care, pediatric visits, smoking in the family, breastfeeding, etc, the changes of a SIDS death from cosleeping or stomach sleeping are something like 1 in 20,000 vs 1 in 40,000. Yes, sleeping by itself is less likely to result in death, in the same way that having everyone drive a maximum of 40 miles an hour on the freeway is absolutelY GUARANTEED to result in THOUSANDS of saved lives YEARLY. We don't see this happening, because the slightly reduced risk is not worth the greatly increased damage. In a similar way, we don't all forbid our kids from riding bikes or swimming, even though their being exposed to bicycling and swimming increases their chances of DYING. We are smart enough to know that quality of life matters and we can do things to mitigate the risk.

      We know that having a baby sleep on its own without anything in its crib may reduce chances of death, but you ABSOLUTELY delay its development and socialization.

      November 18, 2011 at 18:12 | Report abuse |
    • Michelle

      I could not agree with you more Mike and I am going to use some of your verbiage when defending our choices to family members who are not comfortable with some of the decisions we make. Mainly, the fact that someone is uncomfortable or does not agree with what we do is their problem. These are my children.

      November 18, 2011 at 18:21 | Report abuse |
    • Brooke

      Irony. An infant died in Milwaukee last night, and the police suspect the 1 month old died from co-sleeping. If this parent had seen the ad and changed her mind about having her baby sleep in the crib with her, the baby would still be alive. Is that fact alone not make the ad campaign worthwhile?

      November 18, 2011 at 18:46 | Report abuse |
    • FlyGuyInSJ

      You're absolutely right, and Yoshiyahu adds a very good point about controlling for risk factors. Many co-sleeping deaths make the news, and every one I've read about involved one or more risk factors. The most common seem to be an intoxicated and obese parent rolling over on the baby. One of the things I learned in my years of living abroad is that co-sleeping is very common. Here in the United States, our discouragement of the practice probably puts us in the minority position.

      Our three kids all slept in a crib next to us in the same room, unless they were sick. If they were sick, we would co-sleep with them to keep closer watch on them. This was way better for bonding than sticking them off in another room.

      I also have to call Dr. Sears on his claim that only moms should co-sleep with babies because only they "have that awareness of baby's presence." What a load. To this day, if our youngest (now a toddler, with her own room) wakes up in the middle of that from a scary dream or something and cries, it's usually I who am the first responder. Sometimes my wife notices, other times I'm on it so fast that she not only doesn't hear the crying but doesn't know I was gone until I get back. For some reason, my getting back into bed always wakes her, even if leaving doesn't.

      I'm so much more likely to be the first responder that all three of our girls, if they have a nightmare and wake up, almost never call their mom. It's always "Daddy!" – and even if I have an early meeting the next day, I'm on it. That isn't to say she isn't a great mom – she is, and there were many nights where she would go almost without sleep when they were sick as infants (not to mention night feedings) so that I could be more clearheaded at work the next day. Well, less foggy, anyway. No parents of young infants are ever fully clearheaded at work 🙂

      I could say something about the daycare culture, too, of dumping very young children and even infants with strangers for the duration of the work day. We've almost never used daycare, and when we have, it has been with family friends or relatives who are kids already know and whose children they play with.

      November 18, 2011 at 18:57 | Report abuse |
    • compromise

      Parents should do what is best for their baby and for them. If one or both parents really needs to get a good night's sleep, that probably means the spouse takes care of the kid that night and the tired one sleeps alone. If the couple really needs a good shag and the baby has acted as de facto birth control, the kid sleeps somewhere else for a while. People need to regulate themselves and do what's best for the kid. They also need to take responsibility for their choices. If a parent rolls over and kills their kid, they need to accept responsibility for it. If the mother insists on having the kid sleep in bed every night with them and the husband starts cheating on her after 6 months because he hasn't gotten any, the mother needs to consider that. Consider all the repurcussions and act accordingly.

      November 18, 2011 at 19:18 | Report abuse |
    • py

      I do agree that there are more important, pressing issues that should be addressed. However, there are certain ZIP codes in Milwaukee County that have higher infant mortality rates than third world countries. As a social worker in Milwaukee, I support their message.

      November 18, 2011 at 19:51 | Report abuse |
    • LP

      What this "journalist" didn't bother to do was to look at the original study that sparked all of this hysteria a few years ago. It found that babies who co-slept were far more likely to die during the night. However, in almost every case it was because one or both parents were either drunk or on drugs when going to bed. This removes a lot of the natural responsiveness that humans have during their sleep, and the result was suffocations and other problems that occurred as a result of parents rolling onto babies, not noticing them fall onto the floor, etc.

      With parents who are not drunk or high, co-sleeping has actually been found to lower the risk of SIDS. The suspected causality is that the breathing of an adult somehow "reminds" the baby to keep breathing when there is a brainstem issue that might keep a baby from biologically "remembering" to breathe consistently. Funny how you rarely hear about this but you hear about the "co-sleeping danger!" nonsense all the time.

      November 18, 2011 at 20:08 | Report abuse |
    • Karrie

      VERY excellent points Mike.

      November 21, 2011 at 14:57 | Report abuse |
  7. Sophia

    Classic first world problem. I lived in old soviet style apartments with my parents growing up and each family got 1 bedroom/living room space plus bathroom and the kitchen was communal. Slept in their bed until I was 5 when we moved to a 2-bedroom. I was the first in my class to have my own room and every kid was jealous. How did all of our parents manage??? Aren’t we all doomed?? Personal responsibility people. Tragedies happen, but most of the cases are within our control.

    November 18, 2011 at 17:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tatiana

      there were 7 rooms in our old apt (1 per family) and 1 kitchen/bathroom. separate bed for everyone – don't think so. We all survived, amazingly.

      November 18, 2011 at 18:16 | Report abuse |
    • FlyGuyInSJ

      In Soviet Russia, apartment lives in you! 😉 Sorry, couldn't help myself, had to channel Yakov Smirnov 🙂

      November 18, 2011 at 18:58 | Report abuse |
  8. Amy

    It's not that these ads are "provocative" or "too raw"—it's that they're misleading and not based in fact.

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

      I agree very misleading, if you listen when she said she talked to the Mayor he said 10 children a year die from SIDS or co-sleeping a year. Well a baby that dies of SIDS is going to die no matter where you put the baby. My sister died from SIDS in her crib.

      November 18, 2011 at 19:28 | Report abuse |
  9. You

    So for how many thousands or tens of thousands of years did families all slept in the same room or on the same "bed"?? I think since the dawn of time we figured this thing out. I have a 2 yr old son and the times he slept in our bed your subconscious just knows where he\she is and not to roll over them, etc. I think the only times I've read about that happening was when the parent was high or drunk, etc. Use some common sense and you'll all be fine. I cherished those times as a father because I knew they wouldn't last long.

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

      When you say that your subconscious knows where the baby is, that's great. But clearly, it doesn't work like that for everyone. I can't imagine the pain and horror of having my baby die in my bed because I roll over on him. I sleep much more soundly with him in the crib.

      November 18, 2011 at 18:05 | Report abuse |
  10. mike

    The stats are clear – co-sleeping is more dangerous. That being said, it raises the risk from some very small percentage to some slightly higher, but still VERY small, percentage.

    November 18, 2011 at 18:03 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Yoshiyahu

      This is the thing that kills me about the campaign. Go into it opened eyed and you see many things that factor in to the babies dying beyond cosleeping, like poor prenatal care, poor pediatric care, parents smoking in front of the babies, etc... of all these things, perhaps they are too tough to tackle vs cosleeping, but I guarantee that you will now see a baby freezing to death because they are in their own crib in a cold house.

      November 18, 2011 at 18:17 | Report abuse |
  11. Lance

    There is this conclusion from the Alaska study. DragonWind quoted the reference, but didn't seem to draw the same conclusion as the researchers.

    >> .... this suggests that bed sharing alone does not increase the risk of infant death.

    November 18, 2011 at 18:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Research03

    I've read a good portion of the comments and I just wanted to post the following website. It's for Milwaukee and explains the statistics for their city on infant death and SIDS. Just for those would want a little more info that this article doesn't provide.


    November 18, 2011 at 18:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Paige

    My husband is a very deep sleeper, so if my kids were sleeping in our bed because they were sick or something, I didn't sleep well the whole night because I was afraid my husband would roll on him, and husband wouldn't sleep well because he was afraid of rolling on him, so then only the kid got a good sleep. Maybe.
    I totally agree that babies should not be in a big bed with all those pillows, blankets, and and rolling adults. Plus I found that both of my boys slepts much more soundly on their own. Maybe when a kid is a little older and can hold their own, and you have a ultra king sized bed. Then maybe.

    November 18, 2011 at 18:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. w

    If anyone here has actually studied Anthropology you would understand why these commercials are inherently wrong. It was only in modern times that people began sleeping alone or in sleeping in beds independent of the ENTIRE family unit. By modern I am talking about the Victorians. People are still animals and developed as animals; meaning that they co-slept for safety, warmth, etc. For some reason, the naked ape holds his I-phone beats his/her chest and believes they have evolved beyond human, then they berate the Starbuck's lacky for adding cinnamon in there venti latte, and OMG I so hate cinnamon, today sucks totally, OHH wait a new Twilight movie...ok things are starting to look up. The truth is people are retarded. Crib companies can't sell cribs to people who co-sleep. The worst fallacy in the whole equation is that SIDS is widely fobbed off for hundreds if not thousands of deaths a year that was something else... look it up. That problem is is easy as the ignorant apes; Corners in most parts of this country are voted into office. This means the person who names the cause of death for the majority of country is their because people like them, not because they know what they are doing; once again look it up. Personally I make my own road; if you want to raise a little spoiled skid-mark on societies panties, IDC. Why? Because back to basic math, the worse your kid does at life, the better mine does. Your cafe latte is ready!

    November 18, 2011 at 18:08 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Do some research please.

      We have evolved beyond our previous definition of human. Maybe you haven't noticed, but the rest of the world has been figuring out how to send robots to other planets and building supercolliders. Have fun with your superiority complex.

      November 18, 2011 at 19:17 | Report abuse |
    • death is natural, safety is not

      Human animals have also picked up a very dangerous new trend within the past 100 years: surviving beyond age 5. Most kids died before their fifth birthday until relatively recently. Now we have the biggest obstacle of all, which is overpopulation and the conundrum of exercising self control. W, why don't you go back to your paleolithic ways and when your family has casualties, you may enjoy your place in nature.

      November 18, 2011 at 19:27 | Report abuse |
    • Adventure Bound

      Did you really just wish failure on children? Conspiracy theories?

      Don't bother with therapy, it won't help the likes of you.

      November 22, 2011 at 18:46 | Report abuse |
  15. zosimoff

    Who cares??? If you want to risk smothering your child or crushing them in your sleep...I don't care. Go ahead! You're probably too dumb and too poor to be able to raise them anyway.

    November 18, 2011 at 18:10 | Report abuse | Reply
    • mamabear

      I'm willing to bet you have no friends that you truly like 100% and you are probably a single guy who wears his skinny jeans sagging off your butt. I also hope that you think that was an ignorant comment, because there was no other way to counter your equally ignorant comment. Socioeconomic standing or education have nothing to do with it...it's a personal child rearing choice, not something to turn into an insult.

      November 18, 2011 at 19:08 | Report abuse |
  16. Barb

    I often had my son in bed with me when he was being very fussy. I didn't put blankets over him, actually moved the blankets off the bed, and he was in a sleeping positioner to help keep him from rolling around. While I'm not saying these accidents can't happen, there are ways to help prevent them if you find yourself letting your infant sleep with you. As for rolling over onto him. I have trouble sleeping and every time I need to move or roll over, I wake up. I'm not sure I would have put him in bed with me if I knew I moved around a lot. My husband is a heavy sleeper and tends to move a lot in bed, he never slept with our son because of that.

    November 18, 2011 at 18:10 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Regrets

      It only takes one time. You take all the precautions you think you need to take and then that one time when theres a little gap between the matters and the wall it happens or that one time when you sleep more soundly than usual it happens.
      and now we have a lifetime to regret our choice.
      These statistics don't mean anything when its your child that you lose. So there is a 1 in a million chance that this could happen.. its small solace to the parents who lost their child or the siblings who lost a brother or a sister.
      Its a whole lot easier making comparisons to other stats like car accidents, swimming pool accidents or blaming drunk or tired parents or making asinine comparisons about how animals do it and how we evolved ..when you are personally not in that situation.
      I grew up where it was common to have babies sleep close to their moms, we had a crib ..we chose to have our baby sleep in our bed and now we must live with that decision.
      We wasted a lot of time worrying about breast milk, organic foods and all for our babies but when it came to reducing the risk to our babies by making them not sleep in our beds we made the wrong choice ..

      November 18, 2011 at 19:22 | Report abuse |
    • LP

      Regrets- I doubt that you are being sincere, but just in case you are, you do need to know that medically speaking, co-sleeping actually does reduce the risk of SIDS when the parents sharing the bed are not drunk or high. A brainstem problem with regulating the body's reaction to air quality during sleep is the problem- not where the baby is sleeping. Sleeping next to a breathing person is thought to jump start the breathing by reminding the baby's brain to breathe.

      All of this talk of cribs, bedding, mattress/wall problems, rolling during sleep, etc., is to keep babies from suffocating- not to prevent SIDS. SIDS is not the same thing as suffocation. If you did have a baby that died from SIDS, it was not a result of where he or she was sleeping. However, being in the bed with you did give him or her a better chance for survival.

      November 18, 2011 at 20:30 | Report abuse |
  17. andawg

    This is just an ad to raise awareness. Ultimately, the parents will do what they want and are most comfortable with for their baby. My wife and I used the crib 99% of the time because we couldn't get a good nights sleep with our son in the bed. He and I share the same habit of rolling around and moving too much at night. I also worried about rolling over on him w/o knowing it in my sleep. But if you can do it and are more comfortable with it, you are not breaking any laws. My friend wanted his child in his bed and never owned a crib. Plus, it had nothing to do with affordability, just preference.

    November 18, 2011 at 18:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. andawg

    This is just an ad to raise awareness. Ultimately, the parents will do what they want and are most comfortable with for their baby. My wife and I used the crib 99% of the time because we couldn't get a good nights sleep with our son in the bed. He and I share the same habit of rolling around and moving too much at night. I also worried about rolling over on him w/o knowing it in my sleep. But if you can do it and are more comfortable with it, you are not breaking any laws. My friend wanted his child in his bed and never owned a crib. Plus, it had nothing to do with affordability, just preference.

    November 18, 2011 at 18:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Momto4

    I co-slept with all of my children and they are all fine. I held them from the moment they were born, even in the hospital. I think some people can be careless and probably shouldn't sleep with their babies. Those that drink, take medications, aren't getting enough sleep, or those that are heavy sleepers. I am none of the above. I got enough sleep with my babies because they were in my bed with me instead of being left alone in a crib. Babies die in their cribs as well, from parental mistakes and from natural causes. I am not a bad mother for co-sleeping but I feel I am a better mother for giving my children what they need, to be close to their mother's body. I used a co-sleeper for them, but would hold them close when nursing or if they were fussy. My babies were very happy and healthy and were better for being near me.

    November 18, 2011 at 18:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Oleg

    If you had our kids you wouldn't put them to sleep in the crib. First of all, nobody will sleep. After a couple of hours police would come on a tip from concerned neighbors. Besides you wouldn't be that concerned about a baby that wiggles into position and helps herself to a feeding in the middle of the night. Sometimes we visit friends with newborns and marvel – oh my gosh – so tiny, so... peaceful! But then I also can't deny a certain amount of pride.

    November 18, 2011 at 18:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. SPF

    The American Academy of Pediatrics says infants should never share a bed during sleep, but some doctors advocate the "family bed." If you don't like what pediatricians suggest, then don't ever go see one. Go see these" some doctors", whomever they are and whatever they "practice" . I'm guessing the people that promote a family bed on here probably refuse to vaccinate their kids too.

    November 18, 2011 at 18:15 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Right Way

      Actually, I advocate for the family bed and I vaccinate my children on schedule. I even fed them corn dogs for dinner tonite, and they were NOT organic!!!

      November 18, 2011 at 18:53 | Report abuse |
    • Emily

      Co-sleeping and choosing to vaccinate your children have nothing to do with each other.

      November 20, 2011 at 01:50 | Report abuse |
    • cew

      What a bizarre suggestion. I co-slept with my daughter, but she's had all of her vaccinations right on schedule.

      November 21, 2011 at 20:37 | Report abuse |
  22. dwt

    A person who says "only moms 'have that awareness of baby’s presence'” is not scientifically credible. (I'm a dad, as you might guess.)

    November 18, 2011 at 18:20 | Report abuse | Reply
    • FlyGuyInSJ

      No kidding. He proved himself unqualified to open his pie hole on this topic with that one.

      November 18, 2011 at 19:03 | Report abuse |
    • awareness

      Actually I agree with that assessment in a generalized way. Some fathers are aware and would be ok to sleep with the kid while some mothers are probably not ok because of being a heavy, active sleeper. In general, however, most dads probably are less aware of their kids than the mother. I think more mothers really do bond with their child than fathers. Case-in-point: how often do you think or worry about your child during the day while you are at work? Most mothers are constantly having thoughts like: oh, did Johnny remember his lunch? Did he like the sandwich I packed? Is that Fred kid bullying him again? Did he do well on the math test I know he has today? This "awareness" or concern starts with being hyper aware of where the kid is in bed or was that a cry from the crib. Some dads have it and it's great but I think most do not to this degree.

      November 18, 2011 at 19:40 | Report abuse |
  23. MKE Dave

    I'm surprised at how many people are defending co-sleeping on the basis of tradition. Yes, human beings have survived for thousands of years with parents sleeping with infants, but human beings survived for thousands of years without the polio vaccine. But we still use the polio vaccine, because polio kills lots of people, while co-sleeping only kills a few people each year. So what the threshold of "okay number of dead babies" we can stay under and not have to worry about the problem? I wonder if improper child seat use kills enough people to make it a worthy issue. I hope shaken baby syndrome is high enough on the list to warrant our attention.

    November 18, 2011 at 18:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Yoshiyahu

    Let's believe the stat - 10 babies die a year while sleeping in bed with an adult. Ok. It's lamentable.

    BUT HOW MANY BABIES DIE IN THEIR OWN CRIB? We aren't told. Trust me, people, babies die. It's very sad. But they die, and they die in their own cribs, too.

    There are factors in SIDS beyond sleeping on your back or cosleeping.

    Factors like poor prenatal and pediatric care. Parents smoking in front of the kid. These things cause WAY more deaths than cosleeping, and focusing on these problems could save MANY more lives a year, but we don't see these ads. Why?

    November 18, 2011 at 18:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. LA Guy

    This is a problem only in the US. Everywhere in the world, babies sleep with their parents (or at least with the moms). Between 1990 and 1997, out of millions of babies that were born, only 515 died while sleeping in bed with their parents. Again, that's 515 out of millions of babies. This ad is absolutely nonsense. I wouldn't be suprised if there is a study that shows more babies dying from using milk bottles. Should we ban milk bottles.

    I have two little boys and I truly believe that both of them developed loving bonds with my wife because they all slept in our bed. Unfortunately, I had to sleep in the "other" room.

    November 18, 2011 at 18:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • py

      Have you ever seen Milwaukee's infant mortality rate? Some ZIP codes in Milwaukee have infant mortality rates higher than Third World countries.

      November 18, 2011 at 18:45 | Report abuse |
    • everyone has needs

      LA Guy, how do you feel about being kicked out of your marital bed so your wife could co-sleep with her babies? She can nap with her kids during the day and hold them close at night prior to putting them down in their own crib so you and she could also have quality time together. The way you did it, you were the loser and you paid the price. That doesn't sound fair to me. You and she sharing a bed to yourselves doesn't make YOU the winner, everybody wins that way and you can have harmony in the house. Everyone has needs including you.

      November 18, 2011 at 19:46 | Report abuse |
  26. nofoldems

    Babies have slept next to their mothers since dawn of humanity. This is how we evolved. It's only recently that we are putting babies in cribs.

    November 18, 2011 at 18:30 | Report abuse | Reply
    • natural is not always better

      Yes, we have evolved. Until recently, most children died before their fifth birthday. Most children (including myself and everyone I know) had a ripping case of the chicken pox until a vaccine was developed. Do you like chicken pox too? Only about 50 or so kids would die from that each year. Is that ok or do you vaccinate? Co-sleeping is ok but if you squish your kid, it's on you.

      November 18, 2011 at 19:50 | Report abuse |
  27. Tony

    According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission 40-50 children die a year in crib related deaths....

    November 18, 2011 at 18:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Jaidev

    All babies in india sleep in adult beds.
    I havent heard of any one dying

    November 18, 2011 at 18:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. disagree

    The interesting thing about the world we live in is that we have learned from the mistakes of the past and we are provided with new information constantly. Why would you take a chance on something that has even the smallest risk of possibly hurting or killing your child?? My mom and aunts in the 60's used to chase pesticide trucks on their farm growing up. 2 of my 6 aunts have had breast cancer. Would my other aunts say 'well we didn't get it so go ahead and let your kids chase the pesticide truck'? Probably not. Lead paint was probably more common when we were kids too, what would all of you critics of these ads say about lead paint. Would you give your child a toy they will likely put in their mouth knowing it had lead paint on it because you probably chewed on toys with lead paint? Just because it was ok when you were a kid doesn't make it right. Just because other countries and other families do it doesn't make it the best choice. Another child died today here in Milwaukee because of co-sleeping and ironically to Dr. Sears statement about children sleeping with their mother the baby was sleeping with their mother.

    November 18, 2011 at 18:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. py

    Another baby died TODAY due to co-sleeping, which makes her (at least) the 10th baby in Milwaukee to die this year while in an unsafe sleep environment. While this issue may not be of concern to other communities, this is a very necessary message to give to parents in our community. As a social worker in Milwaukee, I acknowledge the campaign's relevance and support its message.

    November 18, 2011 at 18:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. twistedpuppet

    I disagree with the part about how only mothers have that awareness of the baby's presence. We roll my nephew's bassinet into my room two nights a week so my sis can have a night's sleep and I'm aware of everything that kid does. Every little sound he makes. I can feel his presence just as much as his mom can. X(

    November 18, 2011 at 18:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Right Way

    There is a CORRECT way to co-sleep and an incorrect way. Instead of using scare tactics (really, a knife in the bed?!), how about providing information to help parents make an informed and CORRECT decision. I have co-slept with both of my children, and they are both well-rested, well-adjusted, and I got to enjoy the extra sleep co-sleeping provides for me.

    MANY times they forget to provide the additional information; how many of the babies that do die in the bed were suffocated by parents who either took sleep aids or other medications, drank alcohol before bed, or who put the baby on pillows, under blankets, etc.

    I was totally against co-sleeping until I tried it myself. I has worked incredibly well for my family and many other families around the world who practice this method of sleeping/sleep training.

    November 18, 2011 at 18:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. joe diaz

    what a retarded story with no basis..better chance that gleen beck is a rapist

    November 18, 2011 at 18:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Jasmine

    When we had our first child I kept her in a bassinet next to the bed, but during the night she would wake up for feedings and I would lie on my side and breastfeed her. Sometimes we both fell asleep and other times I was able to put her back in her bassinet once she was full and sleepy. My lactation consultant said moms have a 6th sense that their babies are next to them. Of course I never brought her into our bed if either my husband or I were on cold medicine that would knock us out for the night.

    November 18, 2011 at 18:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Stat Man

    515 deaths over 7 years = 73.57 deaths per year...I'm pretty sure there are other activities that have a higher annual death rate than this that should be getting more visibility.

    November 18, 2011 at 18:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Allen

    This Sears guy sounds like a bigot. Only Mothers are aware of the child's presence? If that isn't a load of horse manure. I would point out that most of the world over most babies sleep with their parents. It isn't the "sleeping" part as it is choices in bedding and bed design

    November 18, 2011 at 19:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. toddflanders

    Dr. Sears is a complete doouche. All of these people that advocate against the AAP are doing so for MONEY. Any pediatrician that follows the straight and narrow path realizes that their income is limited. The only way to make the big bucks is to go off the beaten path and advocate whatever is popular at that time. All the unconventional people will flock to you and pay you cash to get their crazy ideas validated.

    November 18, 2011 at 19:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. ieat

    there is a huge difference when infant co-sleeps with a light sleeper parent, v.s. infant co-sleeps with a heavy sleeper parent. Also SIDS used to be called crib death. Co-sleeping causes concern of suffocation, not SIDS. Obviously if a parent is going to cosleep, she/he needs to follow the same crib safety guidelines such as no blanket, hard surface, etc. Otherwise, if you put an infant in a crib, put in tons of blanket and a soft mattress, it causes the same concern. Crib isn't the solution.

    November 18, 2011 at 19:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Paul

    Both of my children slept in bed with my wife and I. We were responsible about it - no drinking, hard mattress, no bed frame, no fluffy blankets, etc. It was a terrific experience, and has significant upsides that people don't tend to think or talk about. For instance, we both got much better sleep, because when our babies were hungry they just rolled over and breast fed. This alone probably increased the whole family's overall safety, because neither parent ended up driving while exhausted because we had to wake up and feed a fussy baby in the night.

    November 18, 2011 at 19:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Ayla

    I'd just like to point out that the incidences of sids in developing nations where kids cosleep with parents is a lot lower than it is here in the western world where cribs are advocated as the safer choice. My daughter does not sleep through the night in a crib. She has co-slept with us since the beginning, and neither my husband nor I have any trouble sleeping comfortably. We are always aware of her and her position, and my husband jokes about how when I roll over, I roll her over to a safer spot in my sleep. Our daughter faced serious complications at birth including a first apgar score of 3, and sids has always been a worry in our household due to her small size and the complications she faced during my pregnancy and her birth. So we co sleep. She sleeps better, we sleep better, and we all worry less.

    One practice commonly used in hospitals is cobedding twins where one twin is having more difficulty than the other. Studies have shown that by cobedding, the weaker twin is more likely to survive than if left in a separate incubator. While it is unknown exactly why this works, it has been theorized that the biological function of one helps regulate the function of the other.

    Another practice is called the kangaroo hold. This works on the same principle. It involves skin to skin contact between parent (usually mother) and child. By placing your child's bare chest against yours, newborns seem to relax and have better control over their biology. Keep in mind that for the last nine months that infant has been relying on the mother to control their bodily functions, and now, having to do it alone, can be quite difficult. The kangaroo hold allows that. Co-sleeping is just an extension of that.

    And before I'm accused of being granola here, my kid drinks formula, wears disposable diapers, watches television and never eats anything organic ever. She's had all her vaccinations and functions just fine 🙂

    November 18, 2011 at 19:23 | Report abuse | Reply
    • cloth diapers please

      Disposable diapers are awful for the envirnoment. Why don't you just throw away tens of thousands of plastic bottles? Nowadays, there are even services for cloth diapers where you simply put the dirties in a bin and the people come by to collect and launder them and they drop off clean ones. Everyone else in the world, including Europe, uses cloth diapers. If you aren't recycling, you really are throwing it all away. I'm not "granola" either but disposable diapers are just wrong.

      November 18, 2011 at 20:01 | Report abuse |
  41. SusieTX

    My first grandchild died from SIDS. At 6 weeks of age, she was sleeping in the bed with her parents. They woke up at 4:00 a.m. and she was not breathing – it was determined that she had died a few hours before. Since then I have had 4 grandchildren and I was surprised when the pediatricians of my grandsons and granddaughter suggested that they sleep in bed with their mothers in order to help the moms get a better nights' sleep. I believe that my first granddaughter would still be alive if she had been in her crib instead of her parents' bed. She would have been 10 yrs old next week.

    November 18, 2011 at 19:25 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Karrie

      So sorry for your loss.

      I do have to correct you though. If she was suffocated while bed-sharing it wasn't SIDS. SIDS has no cause or explanation.

      That being said. As others have stated, babies die in cribs as well. And usually death from bed-sharing is related to other things, alcohol, sleeping pills, etc. If a parent is going to practice safe and proper bed-sharing they should know that pillows and heavy blankets are a no-no as well.

      It can be done safely.

      Again, so sorry for your families loss.

      November 21, 2011 at 15:16 | Report abuse |
  42. Jacqueline

    As a hospital chaplain in a pediatric setting, we see too many of these kinds of deaths. It is not a fluke. The question you have to ask yourself is this: Is sleeping with your kiddo an acceptable risk? Walking alongside parents who have lost a child, I can tell you that ALL of them would do anything to prevent that tragedy from happening. We are using Dr. Sears' attachment parenting for our kiddo, but we draw the line with co-sleeping. One great option: Side car your baby...close, but not so close that it kills.

    November 18, 2011 at 19:27 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Karrie

      What a horrible yet respectable service you provide. Thank you.

      Statistics do not lie. Many more deaths occur from blankets, pillows, and other items that can suffocate and cause strangulation being placed in a crib. And millions of babies safely bed-share and live to be happy and healthy. Some parents feel their baby wouldn't be alive if that had NOT bed-shared.

      As another poster said, it's about quality of life and mitigating losses. Car accidents. Drownings. Getting by a car on a bike. Do we stop our children from doing these things even though the danger is there? Weighing the pros and good with the cons and bad.

      Unless it involves drugs or alchol, every parent who bed-shares has the best of intentions.

      November 21, 2011 at 15:21 | Report abuse |
  43. From Milwaukee

    This ad was not designed for anyplace, anywhere. Judging it from a personal-experience perspective is a mistake. It is a targeted ad local to Milwaukee. In Milwaukee, the infant mortality rate is staggaring. Almost every month a baby dies from co-sleeping in Milwaukee, and in most cases drugs/alcohol are involved. The culture of alcohol is so deeply ingrained in the Brew City that if faced with the option of scaring mamas into putting babies into a (free) crib vs. changing the drinking habits of adults – well, I would place my bet on the free crib offer. This is one ad among MANY shock-ads in Milwaukee designed to protect infants/youth, and it is culturally appropriate to the area.

    November 18, 2011 at 19:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. TS

    You know, this is the most coherent collection of responses to a CNN article I've ever read. Both sides of the issue, way to sound like grown ups.

    November 18, 2011 at 19:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. hawaiiduude

    what would sandusky do?

    November 18, 2011 at 19:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. mch

    The problem with these ads isn't that they're "too provocative, too raw," it's that they're not based on evidence. The intent of the ads is good and important – preventing infant deaths – and public health campaigns such as the March of Dimes' "Back to Sleep" campaign have greatly contributed to a reduction in SIDS deaths in the United States. These ads, however, don't take into consideration the percent of time babies spend sleeping in their parents' beds vs. in their cribs and whether the deaths that occur in each location is proportional to the time spent there. There are ways for co-sleeping to be safe and numerous benefits that families who practice co-sleeping enjoy, including better quality sleep and improved breastfeeding (which reduces the risk of SIDS!). In addition, even parents who believe that sleeping with their babies poses a significant risk often end up sleeping in the same bed as their infants. Teaching parents how to co-sleep safely is much more important that simply telling them they shouldn't do it.

    November 18, 2011 at 19:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Kidman

    I'm outraged by this article. If anyone has done any extensive research on infant sleep would know that babies are safer with parents versus alone in a crib. SIDS is unheard of in other countries and the highest in the western world. Why? because when mothers and babies sleep together they are in sync. It's synchronized nocturnal dance (research done by McKenna and Mosko) They did extensive EEG research. The only recorded over laying (rolling over your baby) has been shown with mothers who were obese and/or on drugs/drunk. (Meredith Small) I'm heart broken that the west has scared parents from this very necessary bonding and needed safety for their babies.

    November 18, 2011 at 19:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. ridiculous

    Just as many babies die each year while sleeping in a crib. Get the facts. Perhaps the analogy would be better if applied to texting or talking on the phone while you drive your children around, or something like that. But co-sleeping? Puhlease....

    November 18, 2011 at 20:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. fiercejaguar

    FlyGuyInSJ's reply to Mike Ogden's post was so touching-and true for me, also. I, too, disagree with Dr. William Sears on his claim that only moms should co-sleep with babies because only we "have that awareness of baby's presence." I loved both of my parents (now deceased), and my mother was an excellent parent! However, I was a "Daddy's Girl" of the first order from the moment I was born, according to my mother. Both parents worked full-time, providing a solid and abundant middle-class lifestyle for my brother and me when we were growing up in the 60s and 70s. Because our mother worked days and our father worked graveyard shift, Daddy was our daytime caregiver, and the parent I always reached out to first, from my infancy on up.

    I'm now the mother of three children, aged 30, 32 and 33, a mother-in-law and a grandmother. In addition to placing a crib alongside our bed eons ago, my husband and I also co-slept with our babies. They grew up just fine, thank you!

    LIFE ITSELF IS DANGEROUS, inside and outside of our residences! Although there are certainly ways to lessen danger in life, there is ABSOLUTELY NO WAY to eliminate it! I learned decades ago that everybody has opinions, and opinions often clash with other opinions. I do not allow other people's opinions to govern my life, because it's a losing battle. Every single day the world witnesses the "Battles of the Experts" in courtrooms, pitting the defense against the prosecution, and vice versa; medical professionals disagreeing with other medical professionals; clergy disagreeing with other clergy; educators disagreeing with other educators; business professionals disagreeing with other business professionals; politicians disagreeing with other politicians; media sources disagreeing with other media sources; PEOPLE DISAGREEING WITH OTHER PEOPLE! It's just a fact of life. Trying to be a "people pleaser" is a "lose-lose" quagmire.

    Human beings should strive to make informed and well-thought-out decisions in life, and then go on from there, agreeing to disagree with other people along the way. Sometimes things work in our favor, sometimes not-EVEN IN THE WAY WE RAISE CHILDREN. My children turned out very well, thanks to thoughtful and careful parenting, as well as lots of prayer and luck (if there's any such thing as luck, that is). I am eternally grateful for that!

    November 18, 2011 at 21:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. dretta

    you know you dont have to be obese to move in your sleep and even twiggy limbs from skinny mom can smother a child if laid across their chest, neck, or mouth. my mother was and still is 'obese' by today standards and guess what? slept with her til i was 3 and omg i'm still alive!!! so i thumb my nose at ya who blatantly accuse the obese of being unfit enough to cosleep when even a three ounce blanket can kill a child. oh and sids also contributes to babies who simply stop breathing with no reasoning... do what feels natural and pray your kids live to worry about their own kids.

    November 19, 2011 at 00:46 | Report abuse | Reply
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