A number of public service ads, although containing a very important message, have been criticized for the disturbing, frightening images they use; nevertheless, the advertisements warning against the dangers of sleeping next to babies may have the potential to save the lives of infants from accidental death.
As per a report by MSNBC discussing the ads, legal analyst Star Jones pointed out that over-the-top images tend to stick in people’s brains better than more subtle messages. The public notice adverts show an image of an infant cuddled up next to a butcher’s knife, with the message that, if you wouldn’t do that, you ought not to be co-sleeping with your baby either. The caption reads: “Your baby sleeping with you can be just as dangerous.”
Although allowing a baby to sleep in an adult bed with a parent may seem like a nurturing and loving undertaking, our Illinois personal injury attorneys understand that it may pose a very serious, deadly risk to the child.
According to the American Academy of Family physicians, possible dangers of co-sleeping with an infant include these possible risks:
• Suffocation of the baby from a parent rolling onto or next to the baby.
• Suffocation of the baby from being trapped between a mattress and a headboard, or mattress and the wall.
• Suffocation of the baby from sleeping face-down on the mattress, pillow or blanket.
• Strangulation of the baby from the infant’s head being trapped in part of the headboard.
Nevertheless, these ads have raised questions of whether the way in which they present their message is ‘over the top.’ On the other hand, advertising executive Donny Deutsch disagreed: “If it saves one baby…” it’s worth it.
Another essential lesson to take away from the publicity of the issues of dangerous sleeping conditions is the idea that no matter where the baby sleeps, hazards may be present. When babies sleep in bed with adults, they may be surrounded by fluffy bedding and have obstacles against which they may roll near and suffocate; however, the same dangers may also be present in cribs that use bumper pads.
Crib bumper pads, which wrap around the inside of a crib and tie to crib slats, were originally designed to protect the child from bumping his or her head against the hard bars of the crib. However, at such a young age, babies often have not yet developed the necessary motor skills to move their heads or turn away if they roll against something that obstructs their breathing.
Although U.S. federal regulators have not made a concrete determination that there is a scientific link between the bumper pads and incidents of infant suffocation, the Canadian government’s health department issued a statement advising parents not to use crib bumper pads, stating that the “presence of bumper pads in a crib may also be a contributing factor for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). These products may reduce the flow of oxygen rich air to the infant in the crib. Furthermore, proposed theories indicate that the rebreathing of carbon dioxide plays a role in the occurrence of SIDS.”
According to the American SIDS Institute, product safety experts advise against using pillows, sleep positioners, bumper pads, or other in-crib implements and instead recommend dressing the child warmly and keeping the crib “naked.”
Our Chicago personal injury attorneys know that the best situation is one in which the potential injury is avoided entirely. Accidental infant deaths can be avoided by ensuring that their sleeping conditions are safe.