In certain cultures, for instance the Pacific Islanders and Maori, it is normal for babies to share the bed with their parents.
However new research shows that over fifty percent of sudden infant deaths (SIDs) are when the baby is not sleeping in their own cot.
Opinion is divided on how to address the issue with people like Dr Dawn Elder believing that it is not possible to order parents how to behave. She feels that getting the information in the public domain is as far as the authorities can go.
This risk to SIDs has been known for a long time and the main reason given for the sharing of a bed is breastfeeding. Many parents are convinced that the practice is crucial for both bonding with the baby and the breastfeeding process.
Elder, who is a senior lecturer in pediatrics, states that the research that was carried out at the Wellington School of Medicine and Health Sciences highlighted that bed-sharing was linked to over fifty percent of SIDs over a nine year period in Wellington, Australia.
As a Coroner in Wellington, Garry Evans has seen first hand the unnecessary heartache being caused because parents are putting their babies into a sleeping environment that is unsafe. He released the results of seven inquests carried out on babies, citing fifteen other cases in the last decade.
Evans wants the Australian government to do much more, insisting that shock tactics must be used to save the lives of these innocent victims.