The death of a five month old baby whilst co-sleeping with its family has prompted a Tasmanian coroner to stress the importance of infants sleeping in their own cots.
Coroner Olivia McTaggart said co-sleeping with infants continued to occur despite the warnings and risk of death.
An autopsy report of the sudden infant death stated that babies who are brought into the beds of their parents or caregivers can be accidentally smothered by an adult or sibling.
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The baby who died was regularly brought to bed with its adult caregivers after an early morning nightfeed.
A three year-old sibling would also regularly climb into the adults' queen size bed during the night, which also happened on the night that the baby died.
The baby's mother found her daughter lifeless in the bed at about 7am in the morning and although CPR was performed by neighbours and family members, the infant was declared dead by ambulance paramedics.
Coroner Olivia McTaggart said co-sleeping deaths were preventable.
"Over the years, coroners and health professionals have constantly stressed the fatal risks of co-sleeping with infants. Unfortunately, this practice continues and results in preventable death," Coroner McTaggart wrote.
"In this case, it is likely that [the baby] would not have died if she had been in her own cot with appropriate bedding.
"I again emphasise the critical importance of putting babies to sleep in their own cot or safe sleep surface at all times in order to reduce the risk of sudden infant death."
Coroner McTaggart said there was significant evidence that the baby died as a result of an unsafe sleeping space and was at increased risk of suffocation, either by adult bedding or bodies in the bed.
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