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Milwaukee’s Health Department is determined to let parents know the dangers of co-sleeping with their baby, but many people think their new ad campaign is a bit on the extreme side.

Next to images of sleeping babies are butcher knives tucked underneath pillows with the words: “YOUR BABY SLEEPING WITH YOU CAN BE JUST AS DANGEROUS.” The ads are meant to address Sudden Infant Death Syndrome which is the second leading cause of death in the city of Milwaukee.

Christie Haskell of Cafe Mom’s The Stir blog  said the health department would have been better off telling parents how to safely co-sleep, considering the babies in the ads are sleeping on their stomachs, surrounded by fluffy pillows which are also safety hazards for infants.

Of course, advertising executive Donny Deutsch agreed with the strong imagery, saying, “If it saves one baby” it must be worthwhile. And Star Jones seems to agree, pointing out that over-the-top images tend to stick in people’s brains better than more subtle ones.

Obviously public awareness campaigns have to do a lot to catch people’s attention with the slew of media bytes surrounding us, but do you think the shock value in this PSA goes too far? I think they could have gone about it a better way.

Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.

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