First aid treatment for sickle cell in children and babies

Providing effective first aid for sickle cell in children and babies

Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a genetic blood disorder that affects millions of people worldwide, including children and babies. When a child experiences a sickle cell crisis, prompt and appropriate first aid can significantly improve their health outcomes. In this blog, Rose delves into the importance of first aid treatment for sickle cell in children and babies, equipping you with the essential knowledge to provide effective care.

Key facts and statistics

  • Sickle cell disease affects approximately 15,000 people in the UK, with around 270 babies born with the condition each year (NHS, 2023).
  • Children with sickle cell are susceptible to complications such as pain crises, infections, and acute chest syndrome, which require immediate attention (CDC, 2022).
  • Early diagnosis and management significantly improve the quality of life for children with sickle cell, reducing the risk of complications (NICE, 2021).

Key definitions

  • Sickle cell disease - A genetic condition where red blood cells become rigid and sickle-shaped, leading to complications such as pain, anemia, and organ damage.
  • Sickle cell crisis - Episodes of severe pain caused by blocked blood flow and tissue damage.

Relevant legislation, regulations, and best practice

  • The Equality Act 2010 prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities, including those with sickle cell disease, ensuring they receive equal access to healthcare services.
  • The Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 require employers to provide adequate first aid training and facilities, including specific considerations for employees with medical conditions such as sickle cell.
  • Best practice guidelines from organisations like the NHS and the Sickle Cell Society outline protocols for managing sickle cell crises, emphasising the importance of early intervention and pain management.

Recognising symptoms

  • Familiarise yourself with typical symptoms of sickle cell crises in children and babies, including sudden severe pain, fever, and fatigue.
  • Promptly assess the child's condition and seek medical assistance if necessary.

Providing comfort and support

  • Comfort the child and create a calm environment to alleviate stress, which can exacerbate symptoms.
  • Encourage the child to rest and provide pain relief medication as their healthcare provider recommends.

Maintaining hydration

  • Ensure the child stays hydrated by offering frequent sips of water or oral rehydration solutions.
  • Avoid dehydration, which can worsen sickle cell symptoms and trigger crises.

Monitoring for complications

  • Stay vigilant for signs of complications such as difficulty breathing, chest pain, or severe swelling, indicating a potential medical emergency.
  • Contact emergency services immediately if you suspect a life-threatening complication.


  • Encourage parents and caregivers of children with sickle cell to undergo first aid training tailored to managing sickle cell crises.
  • Advocate for awareness and education initiatives that empower communities with the knowledge and skills to support individuals with sickle cell disease effectively.


Adequate first aid for sickle cell in children and babies is paramount in mitigating the impact of this complex condition. Understanding the signs, providing prompt care, and advocating for best practices can improve outcomes and enhance the quality of life for individuals living with sickle cell disease.

Empower yourself with first aid training to confidently support children and babies with sickle cell. Click here to explore our range of courses tailored to meet the unique needs of healthcare professionals and caregivers. Together, let's make a difference in the lives of those affected by sickle cell disease.

Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. Always seek professional medical assistance in emergency situations.

About the author

Rose Mabiza

Rose has dedicated over 15 years to improving health and social care quality through practice, targeted education and training. Her extensive experience includes working with older adults, individuals with mental health conditions, and people with autism and learning disabilities.

Providing effective first aid for sickle cell in children and babies - ComplyPlus™ - The Mandatory Training Group UK -

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