Help reduce the number of stillbirths this Red Nose Day

Focal point: This year, Red Nose Day will concentrate its funding towards research in the prevention of stillbirths.
Focal point: This year, Red Nose Day will concentrate its funding towards research in the prevention of stillbirths.

Tragically, nine children a day die during pregnancy, infancy and childhood which is more than double the national road toll.

The impact each death has on the Australian community is unspeakable with up to 60 people affected by each tragic death and in need of support.

Red Nose Australia CEO Keren Ludski said this was a national tragedy that needed to be addressed as more than 3000 children devastatingly still die each year from stillbirths, SIDS and fatal sleep accidents.

"And what the wider Australian community doesn't hear about is the harrowing stories. The stories not only from grieving parents, but from grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, friends and colleagues."

Red Nose Australia will celebrate 31 years of saving babies' lives on Friday, August 9 with a significant focus on reducing stillbirths.

Since 1989, Red Nose has been able to invest more than $17 million into lifesaving research and education programs - resulting in more than 10,000 babies saved and an extraordinary 85 per cent reduction in SIDS deaths.

Support: Red Nose Australia assists new parents and carers by offering safe sleeping education.

Support: Red Nose Australia assists new parents and carers by offering safe sleeping education.

Ms Ludski first became involved with Red Nose in 1998 following the heartbreaking death of her son Ben to SIDS.

"It was Valentine's Day 1998, and we were preparing to leave for a family lunch at my mother's house. Ben was still asleep in his cot, so I told my older sons, Josh, 6, and Jarryd, 4, to go hop in the car while I woke Ben from his sleep.

"As my hand touched the door handle, I knew something was wrong. I picked him up from his cot. He wasn't breathing. That's the moment my life changed forever. I called an ambulance and started CPR. But it was too late.

"I remember the day the hospital first connected me to my Red Nose counsellor, starting my journey with this organisation that helps so many people. Over time as I started to heal, I decided I wanted to become more involved with Red Nose and use my experience as a platform to help other families going through similar experiences."

And with six stillbirths a day, Ms Ludski said this year's Red Nose Day will focus on funding lifesaving research to reduce of the number of stillbirths in Australia by 20 per cent over the next three years.

"We are currently funding five stillbirth research projects, including the world class sleep in pregnancy pilot trial, and we already know this research will influence public health campaigns."

Funds raised on Red Nose Day also support free 24/7 counselling for anybody impacted by the death of a baby or child as well as providing free safe sleeping and safe pregnancy education to all parents and carers.

For more information, visit: rednoseday.org.au.