coronavirus How to get a Covid test for a child...

How to get a Covid test for a child in the UK

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ALTHOUGH children can get coronavirus, they get it less often than adults and it’s usually less serious.

But with schools now back in session increasing the chance of the virus spreading, it’s important to know how to test your child if they become unwell or are at risk.

⚠ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates

Getty Images – Getty

Children still remain at low risk of suffering severe health complications from coronavirus [/caption]

How can I get a coronavirus test for my child?

If your child has any of the main symptoms of coronavirus including a high temperature, a new continuous cough or a loss or change to sense of smell or taste, it is advised to get them a test as soon as possible.

You can order a free home test kit from the NHS website.

There are also a number of testing sites across the UK which you can book.

To order a test, head to the government website.

You can get advice from NHS 111 if you’re worried about your child or not sure what to do.

For children aged five or over – use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service.

For children under five – call 111.

Where can I get my child tested?

You can get your child tested in an NHS hospital, at a regional test centre in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, Satellite centres, at home via home testing kits or at mobile testing units.

What tests are available?

An antigen or swab test can detect if a person currently has Covid-19, while an antibody test will tell you if you have had it.

How do I test a child?

Samples are taken using a swab – which resemble a large cotton bud – from deep inside the nose and throat before being sent off to a lab for testing.

This will require swabbing the child’s tonsils and may be uncomfortable.

Remain calm and confident as you go through the process of testing in order to help the child to stay calm too.

Talk through the steps together. If possible, practice without using any of the testing materials.

For younger children, it may be helpful to give them a distraction while you conduct the test (such as a video), or make it into a game. You could
also plan a reward for the child after the sample is taken.

If possible, have the child sit on someone’s lap or have someone hold their
hand to try making them feel more comfortable and secure.

Show them the swab stick and have them keep saying ‘ahhhh’ while you
swab their tonsils.

Your child may have some gagging or brief discomfort when the swab touches their tonsils. This is normal for all age groups.

A helpful video is also available on how to test a child.


Children accounted for just one in every 100 cases of Covid in England during the first wave of the pandemic, figures show.

The NHS advises to stay at home and do not have visitors until you get the test result – only leave your home to have a test.

Anyone you live with, and anyone in your support bubble, must also stay at home until you get the result.

A pamphlet from gov.uk shows how to effectively take a swab from your child

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