Last updated: 21 May 2020 at 3.25pm
Coronavirus (COVID-19) can affect children as well as adults.
But very few cases have been reported in children around the world. Children also seem to get a milder infection than adults or older people do.
Coronavirus though is a new virus. We are still learning about it.
If you are worried about your child's health, phone your GP.
Children may play a big role in spreading the virus. This is why they should stay away from people at higher risk from coronavirus, such as people over the age of 60.
Older people, or people at a higher risk from coronavirus, might have a harder time fighting the virus.
Protecting your child
The most important things you can do to protect your child are:
- stay at home - this advice is for everyone
- encourage your child to wash their hands regularly and properly
- clean and disinfect surfaces in your home and things people touch a lot. Coronavirus can live on surfaces so it's important to do this. Don't forget door handles and the toilet flush.
- follow advice to prevent your child from catching or spreading viral infections
- look out for symptoms of coronavirus - if your child has symptoms, they will need to self-isolate
Watch how your child should wash their hands
You and your children can go outside to exercise. But you should stay within 5 kilometres of your home.
You can meet other people outside as long as you are in a groups of no more than 4 people and keep at least 2 metres apart.
Playgrounds should all be closed. But if you or your child go to a play area:
- follow social distancing guidance - keep 2 metres from other children and adults
- get your child to wash their hands before and afterwards
If your child moves between homes
Your child may usually move between homes during the week. But it's best if they stay in one home as much as possible. This is at least while the stay at home measures remain in place.
If anyone in the home has symptoms while your child is there, your child will need to restrict their movements. They'll need to stay in that home.
Court orders in relation to access, maintenance and guardianship have not changed. They should still be followed.
But talk with your child's other parent. You or your legal advisers may be able to agree an arrangement so that your child can stay in one home for now to keep them safe. This could involve using technology like video calls. If you cannot agree on an arrangement, you could use a mediation service.
Children with health conditions
We don’t know yet if children may be more at risk of severe illness if they have:
- an underlying health condition
- special healthcare needs
But these children should:
- be extra careful in watching out for symptoms
- strictly follow the advice on good hygiene and hand washing
Your child should also try and keep up their normal activities. This is good for their overall wellbeing.
If your child is due to get vaccines (immunisation)
Your child should still get their vaccines as normal. But if your child has symptoms of coronavirus, they will need to self-isolate. Do not take them to your GP. Phone your GP and they will postpone the vaccines for a few weeks.
When your child has recovered and is out of self-isolation, phone your GP to make a new appointment.
Childcare for healthcare and other essential workers
Childcare workers who mind children in the home are considered essential workers. This means they can carry out their work as usual. This will allow other essential workers, such as healthcare workers, to do their work.
But child-minding should only happen in the child’s home. It should not be in the carer's home. This is to avoid households mixing. It's important as part of the stay at home measures.