Parents most in need of cot death information left out – In the News

Māori parents are less likely to receive ‘safe sleep’ advice despite their babies having a high risk of cot death – unconscious bias in the health system may be to blame.

A small child takes a nap in a white blanketed cribAlthough Māori babies die of Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy (SUDI) at almost five times the rate of non-Māori babies, less than half of Māori families that engaged with core health care visits were being given ‘safe sleep’ information, a commentary by University of Auckland researchers said.

The researchers suggest unconscious bias might be to blame, with general practitioners perhaps harbouring stereotypes that prevent them from effectively engaging with Māori parents.

The New Zealand Medical Journal commentary was covered by several media outlets, including:

Te Karere: Unconscious bias likely playing a role in high SUDI rates for Māori
TVNZ: Maori parents not getting cot death advice – researchers
Newshub: ‘Unconscious bias’ against Māori in cot death advice
The Hui: Unconscious bias against Māori in the health system