World Sepsis Day – Protecting Children

Class of pupils pose in front of sepsis awareness display

Life-threatening sepsis affects more than 250,000 adults and children in the UK every year. Now free resources are being rolled out, designed to help pupils aged 7-11 learn about the condition.

Today the UK Sepsis Trust (UKST) and Iceland Foods Charitable Foundation (IFCF) are joining forces with This Morning’s Dr Ranj Singh and film actor Warwick Davis to help launch new resources across UK schools.

The lesson plans, animations and teaching resources are intended to help protect children and their families from the life threatening blood condition, sepsis.

Child-friendly cartoons

The Schools against Sepsis initiative features simple information and child-friendly cartoons. They enable Key Stage 2 teachers to lead lessons on what sepsis looks like and what to do if children recognise any symptoms.

Actor Warwick Davies in jacket and tie, smiling

Warwick Davis narrates the animations. Pic: Getty Images

The video includes an introduction from Dr Ranj and animations narrated by Warwick Davis, featuring Sam’s Monkey – a tribute to Sam Morrish, who lost his life to sepsis, aged three, in December 2010.

Sue Morrish, Sam’s mother said, “When Sam died, I had never heard of sepsis, so it’s crucial that people understand what the signs and symptoms are.

“Sam loved his monkey very much so it’s exciting to know that ‘Monkey’ is now going to be helping children learn about sepsis in schools.

“The more people who know about sepsis, and know to ask ‘Could it be Sepsis?’, the more lives can be saved.”

Lessons “a huge success”

Gill Mangnall, head of St James CE Primary School, has overseen trials of the Schools Against Sepsis lesson in her school.

She said, “The sepsis awareness lesson has been a huge success at St James.

“The children were engaged throughout and the whole class thoroughly enjoyed it. Lots of them asked if they could have more lessons on the subject!

“They made posters about the symptoms to look out for. They also wanted to talk about it to other children in school.

“Raising awareness about sepsis and its symptoms among our pupils and their families could save a life. it could lead to early identification and treatment.”

Pupils watching on-screen presentation on microbes, with pull up banner advertising sepsis awareness

Pupils at St James’ CE School are enthusiastic about the campaign.

According to the UK Sepsis Trust, sepsis affects more than 250,000 people in the UK every year. This includes 25,000 children.

52,000 people lose their lives to the condition every year in the UK. That’s 140 people every single day.

“UKST’s mission is to end preventable deaths from sepsis and, by their estimates, better awareness could save 14,000 lives every year.

“Everyone must recognise the signs”

Dr Ron Daniels is CEO of the UK Sepsis Trust. He is responsible for developing Schools against Sepsis in collaboration with the Iceland Foods Charitable Foundation.

He comments, “Sepsis strikes indiscriminately, affecting the young and old and the previously fit and healthy.

“It’s not enough for healthcare professionals to know about sepsis. We want everyone to be able to recognise the signs.

“And that includes children, who are even more vulnerable.”

TV personality and paediatrician Dr Ranj Singh

Dr Ranj is backing the campaign. Pic: Getty Images

Dr Ranj said, “As a paediatrician, I’ve seen the devastating effects of sepsis on families.

“It’s great to be involved and be an ambassador for something so important. This initiative stands to make a massive impact.”

Educating more children and families

Tarsem Dhaliwal, CEO of Iceland Foods and Trustee of IFCF, said, “We’re thrilled to have played our part in the Schools against Sepsis campaign.

“It’s been fantastic working to raise awareness alongside UKST with our milk carton campaign.

“We’re confident that this new initiative will educate an unprecedented number of schoolchildren and their families about sepsis and the signs to look out for.”

Find more information on sepsis, and how schools can get involved, here

Sarah Proctor

I've worked on a variety of regional newspapers and national magazines. My Weekly and Your Best Ever Christmas are fantastic, warm-hearted brands with an amazing, talented team. I'm a sub-editor and particularly love working on cookery, fiction and advice pages - I feel I should know all the secrets of eternal life, health and happiness by now, but hey, we all need that regular reminder!