State rep. pushes new co-sleeping legislation

CREATED Jun 25, 2013

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MILWAUKEE - "Everyone feels the same way I do, we don't want to see another co-sleeping death happen," said Samantha Kerkman.

She is a Republican state representative from Randall, Wis., but she is a mother, too. 

She says it pains her every time she hears about another baby killed or hurt while sleeping with their parents.

"I never want to turn on the TV and hear another case where someone's made a poor choice and a baby has died because of it," Kerkman said.

In the city of Milwaukee in 2010, 15 babies died from co-sleeping, and 14 in 2011.

Kerkman is working on a bill that would make it illegal if parents get drunk and injure or kill their baby while sleeping together.

"I want it to be a tool for district attorneys, but a deterrent in which we have given them education," Kerkman said.

Kerkman's bill does not outlaw co-sleeping altogether.

The Children's Health Alliance of Wisconsin says it could send the wrong message to parents.

"By picking out one risk factor like intoxication, (it provides) a false sense of security among parents," explained Karen Ordinans of the Children's Health Alliance of Wisconsin.

"I don't want to prohibit that, I don't want to be in people's bedrooms.  I want people to make better choices," Kerkman said.