30 Aug 2009

Coroner calls for stronger guidelines on baby bed-sharing

5:55 pm on 30 August 2009

A second coroner is urging the Ministry of Health to strengthen its guidelines on safe infant sleeping practices.

The recommendation comes from the Rotorua coroner, following an inquest into the death of a four-week-old baby boy who died in November 2007 while sharing a bed with his mother.

In a ruling released on Saturday, Rotorua coroner Wallace Bain finds that the child died from asphyxia. He says sharing a bed with a baby is dangerous, and the issue should be of major public concern.

In May, Wellington coroner Garry Evans found that four babies had died as a result of sharing a bed with one or more parent. He said bed-sharing with babies under six months should be avoided.

Plunket's Clinical Advisor, Alison Hussey, says it may be time for another educational campaign, so everyone dealing with a baby understands the risks of co-sleeping.