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Supporting Red Nose Day saves little lives

Blog post | 27 Jun 2018

Every day in Australia, 9 infants or children die suddenly and unexpectedly. The aim of Red Nose Day (Friday June 29) is to reduce this number to zero.

By hosting an event, creating a fundraising page, volunteering or buying merchandise, you can raise money to help make this happen. 

Since last year’s Red Nose Day, a campaign run annually by the charity Red Nose, Australia’s fundraising efforts have contributed $238,000 towards research. More than 1 million more educational kits were distributed to new parents. The funds also facilitated more than 3,000 counselling sessions for people affected by the sudden death of a child. 

In 30 years, Red Nose has reduced the number of sudden infant deaths in Australia by 85%, saving an estimated 9,967 lives.

What are ‘SUDI’ and ‘SIDS’? 

SUDI stands for the 'sudden and unexpected death of an infant', where the cause is not immediately obvious. It can also refer to the sudden death of an older child, as well as stillbirth, where a baby dies in the uterus and is delivered after the 20th week of pregnancy. (Miscarriage is the term used for the loss of a baby prior to 20 weeks.) 

SIDS stands for sudden infant death syndrome (which used to be called 'cot death'). When no cause can be found for the death of a child after a thorough investigation, it is called SIDS. 

Experiencing the loss of a child at any age is devasting and can impact every aspect of a parent’s life – as well as the lives of grandparents, siblings and friends.

Red Nose is on the case 

This week, Red Nose announced 3 new projects that could help reduce the the 3,200 SUDI deaths that occur each year in Australia.

The 'stillbirth research project' will explore how a mother’s sleeping position in the third trimester of pregnancy can affect her risk of stillbirth.

“Five published studies of risk factors for stillbirth have reported that there is 2.5 – 6 times the risk of a stillbirth if the mother reports going to sleep on her back during the last 3 months of pregnancy,” explains lead researcher Dr Adrienne Gordon of Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, the University of Sydney and the Red Nose National Scientific Advisory Group.  

An online course on safe sleeping for early childhood educators has also been launched by Red Nose. It covers safe wrapping (or, ‘swaddling’), moving a child from a cot to a bed and strategies for preventing flat spots on babies’ heads, including safe ‘tummy time’. If you work in early childcare education (e.g. at a childcare centre) you can access the eLearning course here.     

Another eLearning course designed for expectant and new mums will be released later this year.

Red Nose also partnered up with the University of Adelaide to launch a comprehensive book, SIDS — Sudden infant and early childhood death: The past, the present and the future, available as an e-book and in paperback (you can access it for free here). 

The book is designed to aid professionals working in the SUDI field, including healthcare providers, researchers and lawyers. It will help them help grieving families.    

What you can do

  • For tips on safe sleeping and other ways to help reduce the risk of SUDI, visit Red Nose or healthdirect’s page on SIDS.
  • If you are a parent or parent-to-be, and have any questions about your baby’s health, you can call the Pregnancy Birth and Baby helpline on 1800 882 436 to speak with a maternal child health nurse, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Anyone can support Red Nose Day this Friday 29 June. Find out how at:
  • If you are struggling with the death of a loved one, you can call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

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