Controversial Ad Campaign to Help Prevent Infant Co-Sleeping Deaths in Milwaukee
Milwaukee has a new ad campaign to reduce co-sleeping deaths to an historic low by 2017. Unfortunately, the campaign didn't arrive in time to prevent the death of the 7-week old baby who was found dead on the south side, victim of a co-sleeping arrangement.
The infant, whose gender was not released, was the ninth known Milwaukee baby to die in 2011 while in an unsafe sleep environment. After an autopsy, a detailed explanation of the child's death will be released said a spokesperson from the medical examiner's office. But according to fire crews who were first on the scene, it appeared that the baby was sleeping with its mother.
Reports of the death, had not been conveyed to Mayor Tom Barrett and Commissioner of Health Bevan Baker until the morning news conference. But the chilling irony of the baby's death happening on the day of the new ad campaign release underscored the urgency and moral imperative of the city's mandate to eliminate infant deaths.
In a community-wide initiative, the mayor's office is asking businesses, health care systems, individual hospitals, doctors and other community based organizations to support its public campaign to reduce infant mortality overall by 10% and in the African-American community by 15%. The black rate would translate to 12 deaths for every 1,000 births and the overall rate would be 9.4 deaths per 1,000. The city's is basing its campaign goal on the Milwaukee Health Department's analysis of 41 years of infant death statistics.
Even one death is too many. But can infant mortality be reduced merely by showing ads over and over again in all the city's news outlets and places of business as well as on posters and billboards? Mayor Barrett thinks the campaign is up to the task. He commented that when he first saw the preliminary ads designed by SERVE Marketing, he questioned. Aren't these really hard hitting. Are they "too provocative and too raw?"
The ads are racially multicultural. In each instance, they show a baby sleeping in an adult bed with a butcher knife "nestling" next to the child. The tagline pulls no punches. In bold letters it states, "Your baby sleeping with you can be just as dangerous."
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