090626 Curtis and Wendy - ChequeMember for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt will wear his heart on his nose on Friday 26 June.

Mr Pitt is partnering with SIDS and Kids Queensland by holding a Red Nose Day event at Stockland Cairns to raise awareness and funds for the continuation of free-of-charge bereavement services, safe sleeping education and lifesaving research into sudden and unexpected infant death and stillbirth.

“SIDS or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is a diagnosis given when a seemingly healthy baby dies without warning or explanation. This is very traumatic for the family,” Mr Pitt said.

“Last year, my daughter Isabel was stillborn at 41 weeks. My wife, Kerry, and I were only hours from holding her in our arms. To leave the hospital without our baby was the hardest day of my life.

“But sadly our circumstances are far from unique. Tragedies like ours affect families across Queensland every day.

“Proceeds raised each year assist research and provide much-needed counselling and support services for families and those affected by the sudden death of an infant or young child up to six years of age, regardless of cause.

”Red Nose Day may be made even more significant for our family this year as my wife Kerry is due to give birth to our second child in late June.”

Mr Pitt said it will also be an anxious wait for Cairns-based registered nurse Julie Hosking, who has been shortlisted for a Queensland Red Nose Day Hero Award after being secretly nominated by her husband.

“The first ever search for Queensland’s Red Nose Day Heroes has been undertaken to celebrate the 22nd anniversary of Red Nose Day and throw a spotlight on our unsung Queenslanders achieving amazing things in bereavement support and safe sleeping education.

“Six Red Nose Day Queensland Heroes – three in each category of bereavement support and safe sleeping education – will be announced at a ceremony in Brisbane on Red Nose Day.

“Ms Hosking who has also experienced the trauma and pain of losing a child has been announced as a finalist for her work in providing bereavement support and services for grieving parents confronted with the death of a baby or child.

While the incidence is decreasing, for the past three decades, Mr Pitt said SIDS has remained the leading cause of postnatal death in Australia for infants between one month and one year.

“More than 80 per cent of SIDS deaths occur prior to six months, with babies between one and three months most at risk. Babies who are male, premature, low birth weight or multiple birth also face a greater risk, however the possibility of SIDS reduces as babies age and develop,” Mr Pitt said.

“SIDS rates are six times higher in Indigenous babies, so SIDS and Kids will devote some funding to develop culturally-appropriate safe sleeping information for Indigenous mums and families.

“Help make a difference. Dig deep on Friday and purchase some Red Nose Day merchandise, or buy some raffle tickets for a great cause..

“It’s vital the Safe Sleeping Campaign continues to be funded to ensure new mums and caregivers find out how to reduce the risk of SIDS for their babies. Without this we are likely to see SIDS rates rise.”

The SIDS and Kids Safe Sleeping Campaign offers practical advice on reducing the risk of SIDS and sleep accidents such as:

  • sleep babies on their back
  • ensure baby’s head is not covered or obstructed by clothing, bedding or toys
  • bedding should be firm, and
  • babies should not be exposed to cigarette smoke.

 For more information visit: www.rednoseday.com.au or contact the Mulgrave Electorate Office on 4056 3175.