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© Milwaukee Health DepartmentControversial: The public service ads by Milwaukee's Health Department are intended to capture attention, but some deem the images 'over the top'
A sweetly sleeping baby lies amongst soft bedding, a chubby finger brushing against a giant meat cleaver.

One of two images, the photo is part of an ad campaign that has outraged parents and experts, who see its shock tactics as 'over the top.'

The public service ads by Milwaukee's Health Department are the latest weapon in a fight to alert parents to the dangers of sharing a bed with babies.

While many deem the message as timely and necessary, the way in which authorities have gone about the visual imagery is seen as offensive.

The images are run alongside the slogan: 'Your baby sleeping with you can be just as dangerous.'

The attention-seeking ads always set out to capture notice and in that respect they have, by all accounts, succeeded.

As advertising executive Donny Deutsch told 'If it saves one baby...'

But not everyone is so understanding. reports that NBC's Chief Medical Editor Dr Nancy Snyderman, is unimpressed.

'Look, co-sleeping in this country leads to infant deaths. We know that parents can roll over on babies and smother them.

'I think this is over the top, absolutely over the top.'

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© Milwaukee Health DepartmentBlades in bed: One blogger says the ads 'demonise' responsible parents who share beds with infants, while a health official said co-sleeping is 'Russian roulette'
One co-parenting mother has blogged about the controversial ads, saying that they 'demonise' responsible parents who take precautions when co-sleeping.

On her Cafe Mom blog, Christie Haskell writes: 'The suggestion is not only that co-sleeping is dangerous, but that parents who co-sleep must be ignorant of all safety precautions of any kind.'

The mother-of-two goes on: 'I find myself p****d at a campaign that tells you how to safely CRIB sleep but demonizes co-sleeping, rather than teaching how to safely do that too.'

Others have echoed her concerns, though some readers see the value of the hard-hitting artwork. Whitebreads writes: 'From an advertising point of view it's certainly effective if not a bit over the's grabbed your attention therefore doing its job.'

While another, From_Wisc, adds: 'Baby after baby is dying in this state, all while co-sleeping. Sometimes, drastic situations call for drastic measures.'

Love it or hate it, the preventative campaign is an attempt to address the worrying numbers of deaths in the county each year.

Milwaukee County Medical Examiner Christopher Happy last year told the Journal Sentinel that 'if you sleep with your child, you are playing a kind of Russian roulette.'

Milwaukee Council figures show that of the 203 pre-one-year-old babies who died in 2007 and 2008, 25 per cent were unintended sleep related deaths.

Of these, 11 infants suffocated - ten of which occurred while co-sleeping.