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Protecting your child from coronavirus

Last updated: 20 July 2020 at 12.50pm

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.

Coronavirus is a new virus. We are still learning about it.

Read about what to do if your child has symptoms of coronavirus.

If you are worried about your child's health, phone your GP.

Protecting your child

The most important things you can do to protect your child are:

Face coverings are not recommended for children under the age of 13.

This is because young children may not be able to follow the important advice about wearing a mask correctly and to avoid touching it.

Children older than 13 are more likely to be able to stick to the important advice on how to wear a face covering properly.

Watch how your child should wash their hands

How to wash your hands properly

Exercise and play

All indoor and outdoor amenities for children have reopened. Summer camps, youth clubs and organised sports can resume.

All activities for children should follow public health guidelines. We are still at risk of a large surge in infection. It is more important than ever that everyone uses their own judgement to help slow the spread of coronavirus.

If you and 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
  • use hand sanitiser when hand washing facilities are not available
  • make sure your child follows good hygiene practices when coughing or sneezing

Read more about good hygiene and hand washing.

Children taking part in camps, youth clubs and other activities

Children taking part in group activities will be placed in one consistent group. This group will contain the same children and staff members for every activity to minimise the spread of infection.


Childcare facilities, child minders, creches and pre-schools can now reopen. Make sure that your childcare facility is following public health guidance.

All childcare facilities should have:

  • hand sanitiser outside canteens, playrooms and toilets - this should be positioned safely for children
  • well maintained and stocked hand washing facilities
  • a strict cleaning routine - where regularly touched objects and surfaces are disinfected often
  • a plan for dealing with children and staff who develop symptoms of coronavirus
  • a small supply of masks in case staff need to care for a child who develops symptoms of coronavirus
  • a plan for how they will manage core services if any staff need to self-isolate or restrict their movements

Where possible, children should be placed in one consistent group during childcare. This group will contain the same children and staff members to minimise the spread of infection.

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 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. As restrictions ease, personal responsibility and your own judgement are more important than ever.

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.

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.

Read more about vaccines for your child.

If your child visits someone at higher risk from coronavirus

Children may play a role in spreading the virus. This is why they should take care when visiting people at very high risk from coronavirus, such as people over the age of 70. Use your judgement to protect those who are cocooning.

Read the visiting advice for people who are cocooning.

Related topics

Explaining coronavirus to your child

If your child has symptoms of coronavirus

How coronavirus is spread

Dealing with fake health information during the coronavirus pandemic

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