Red Nose Continues the Fight For Babies’ Lives With New Life-Saving Projects

As Red Nose (formerly SIDS and Kids) celebrates the 30th anniversary of Red Nose Day this Friday 29 June, the charity’s progress in reducing sudden and unexpected death in infancy is highlighted through three new imminent research and education projects.

Adrienne Gordon Head Shot Cropped For RND Media Release
Dr Adrienne Gordon

Red Nose is proud to announce the following projects:

  • Research project focused on reducing late-term stillbirth from 28 weeks gestation – a cause responsible for the deaths of approximately 1,000 Australian and New Zealand babies each year, being funded as part of its research grant launched in 2017.
  • A first-of-its-kind SIDS book for paediatric staff and students and other related groups.
  • Safe Sleeping e-Learning Course for early childhood educators which will transform the way medical practitioners and carers manage approach sudden and unexpected infant deaths.

Red Nose’s work across the past three decades has been instrumental in reducing the number of sudden unexpected deaths in infancy in Australia by 85%, saving an estimated 9,967 lives - but ongoing public support of Red Nose Day is crucial to raise funds for these projects, and help them reduce the nine children’s deaths per day that are still happening, to zero.

Stillbirth research project

Red Nose’s new stillbirth research project will explore maternal sleep position in late pregnancy as being a potential risk factor for stillbirth, with researchers working to determine the most effective way to encourage pregnant mothers to sleep on their side during the third trimester.

The project is led by Dr Adrienne Gordon from Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, University of Sydney, and Red Nose National Scientific Advisory Group (NSAG) member, who says: “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 three months of pregnancy.

“With 3 in 1,000 Australian and New Zealand pregnancies resulting in stillbirths beyond 28 weeks, this is a tragedy with devastating long-term effects for far too many families.

Continues Dr Gordon: “Our project will assess evidence to inform public health messages for pregnant women and health professionals regarding sleep position.

“There is a window of opportunity now to find out the best way to support side sleeping in late pregnancy. Our trial will test advice on sleep position versus a device in the last 3 months of pregnancy.

“Through the previously funded Trans-Tasman grant we are also working to determine whether some women, such as those who smoke, carry excess weight or have smaller babies are at increased risk.

“We are confident our research, and the public education programs implemented from our findings, will eventually lead to a reduction in these stillbirth cases that are shattering families.”

SIDS Book

This year has also seen Red Nose, in partnership with the University of Adelaide, launch a book titled SIDS, Sudden Infant and Early Childhood Death: The Past, the Present and the Future. Distributed as both a paperback and a free e-book, there has never been a book that covers SIDS in such detail.

Edited by Red Nose National Scientific Advisory Group members Doctor Jhodie Duncan and Professor Roger Byard, the book provides a fundamental resource to paediatric professionals and students, SIDS researchers and organisations, hospitals, physicians, lawyers and many other related groups.

Harnessing Red Nose’s world-class research findings, and with contributions from distinguished researchers and workers in the field, the book serves as a guide to professionals in managing individual SIDS cases and supporting devastated families through their grief, as well as educating on public health recommendations, risk factors, preventative strategies, latest medical research and future directions in SIDS research.

Safe Sleeping e-Learning Course

Red Nose has also launched the Red Nose Safe Sleeping eLearning course for Early Childhood Educators across Australia. Based on the Red Nose Safe Sleeping education campaign, this course equips educators with the knowledge and skills to implement evidence-based recommendations for reducing the risk of sudden unexpected death in their centres.

The course is promoted and accessible to every early childhood education service in Australia, and covers safe wrapping, moving a child from a cot to a bed, plus strategies for preventing flat spots on babies’ heads including safe tummy play time. Red Nose have already received a keen response from centres across Australia registering for the course, and will also be releasing an eLearning course specifically for pregnant and new mums later this year.

Of these projects, Jane Wiggill, Manager Health and Advocacy from Red Nose says: “As Red Nose Day celebrates its 30th anniversary of fundraising to save Australian children’s lives, we’re proud to be funding a critical research project aimed at reducing late-term stillbirths, and also being at the forefront of two significant education projects.”

“Our SIDS book and safe sleeping eLearning course for early childhood educators are both going to transform the way Red Nose’s evidence-based research is disseminated to relevant groups working with young children and pregnant mothers.

“Through educating medical professionals, support staff and carers with information based on current scientific evidence, Red Nose expects to lead further successes in reducing sudden and unexpected death in infancy in the coming years.

“But we can’t make this progress without the generosity of the public, and Red Nose would like to encourage all Australians to support Red Nose Day this 29 June,” concludes Mrs Wiggill.

Red Nose is honoured to have a number of Celebrity Supporters involved with Red Nose Day this year, helping raise critical awareness for the cause, including Amber Lawrence, Laura Csortan, Jodi Anasta, Joe Hildebrand, Sarah Harris, Natalie Von Bertouch, Michael and Kyly Clarke, The Wiggles and MD Paul Field, and Australian Radio Network on-air talent including KIIS FM’s Kyle & Jackie O, Will & Woody, Jase & PJ, Monty Dimond, Bec Judd & Yumi Stynes, Zoe Marshall, John ‘JC’ Caldwell, WSFM’s Jonesy & Amanda, GOLD 104.3’s Christian O’Connell, 97.3FM’s Bianca, Terry & Bob, 4KQ’s Laurel, Gary & Mark, Mix 102.3’s Jodie & Soda, CRUISE 1323’s John Dean, 96FM’s Paul & Lise and The Edge 96.ONE’s Mike E & Emma.

Funds raised through Red Nose Day fundraising activities go to Red Nose’s advocacy and research programs into the causes of all sudden, unexplained and preventable childhood deaths, educating the community on safe sleeping practices, and supporting families who have been devastated by the sudden and unexpected death of a child.

Since Red Nose’s inception, over $16.83 million has been devoted to these areas. In the past 12 months alone, Red Nose has invested $238,000 into research, provided over 1.3 million parents with safe sleeping education kits, and conducted over 3,000 counselling sessions for people affected by the devastating sudden and unexpected death of a baby or child.

As Red Nose Day celebrates its 30th anniversary on 29 June, Red Nose are urging the Australian public to get involved to help them reduce nine children’s deaths per day, to zero.

A Little Give, For a Little Life is all it takes. Get involved by purchasing a red nose or other Red Nose Day product, making a donation, hosting a children’s fundraising disco or setting up an online fundraising page. Visit www.rednoseday.com.au to learn more.

For further information on Red Nose’s research projects, go to: https://rednose.org.au/section/advocacy-and-research

For further information, or to download the SIDS, Sudden Infant and Early Childhood Death: The Past, the Present and the Future e-book, go to: https://www.adelaide.edu.au/press/titles/sids/sids-ebook.pdf

To view a promo video of the Red Nose Safe Sleeping eLearning course, go to: https://vimeo.com/260176722. The program can be purchased at the following link: http://www.shoprednose.org.au/red-nose-elearning-for-early-childhood-educators.html

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About Red Nose

In October 2016, SIDS and Kids launched its new name, Red Nose, and a new remit – to reduce the incidence of sudden and unexpected death in babies and children in Australia to zero.

Red Nose provides vital safe sleeping education to expectant mothers, their families and healthcare professionals all around Australia. They also conduct world-class research into sudden and unexpected death in infancy and provide crucial bereavement support to those affected by the death of a baby or child, receiving more than 10,000 calls for support and education every year.

Since Red Nose’s inception, over $16.83 million has been devoted into researching stillbirth, neonatal death, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), and other causes that contribute to the 3,200 unexpected infant deaths that devastate Australian families each year.