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Parents sleeping in the same bed or even on a sofa with their babies are putting their children's lives at risk, a Victorian coroner says.

Coroner John Olle said a parent sleeping in the same bed with an infant aged less than 12 months was "inherently dangerous", following his investigation into four babies who died of SIDS after co-sleeping.

Mr Olle found babies should sleep on their back in a cot in the same room as their parents for the first six to 12 months of life.

"I am satisfied sharing a sleep surface with an infant is an inherently dangerous activity," he said in the Victorian Coroners Court today.

"Caregiver/infant sharing of sleep surfaces, beds, sofas, mattresses and armchairs, increases the risk of infant death from a fatal sleep accident and may increase the risk of infant death from SIDS."

Mr Olle recommended a consistent and clear message on the risks of co-sleeping be provided to parents before and after the birth of a child.

The West Australian

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