Latest guidance on identifying COVID-19 in children

Children can get coronavirus (COVID-19), but they seem to get it less often than adults and it’s usually less serious. The main symptoms of coronavirus are:

  • A high temperature
  • A new, continuous cough
  • A loss or change to sense of smell or taste 

If a child has symptoms they should:

  • Stay at home (self-isolate) - do not leave home or have visitors. All members of the household and support bubble contacts must also self-isolate for 14 days.
  • Household and support bubble contacts should not be tested unless they have symptoms. 

If you're staying at home (self-isolating) because you live with a child who has coronavirus symptoms, you can apply for a test for them. You can get a test for a child who lives in your household, whatever their age. If you're applying for a test for a child who is 13 or over, check that they are happy for you to get a test for them. A young person can apply for a test for themselves from the age of 16. 

Find out how to order a test and what it involves.

Children aged 11 or under

Children aged 11 or under cannot do the test themselves. You (their parent or guardian) will have to swab test your child, whether you get a home test kit or go to a test site. You will get instructions on how to do it. 

Children aged 12 to 17

Children aged 12 to 17 can swab test themselves or have their parent or guardian swab test them. At some test sites, a tester will carry out the test.