When you should keep your child home from school or childcare

This advice is for babies and children up to the end of secondary school.

Children and babies can get COVID-19. But they seem to get it less often than adults and it's usually less serious.

When to get urgent medical help

Read about symptoms in babies and children that need urgent medical help

If your child becomes very unwell quickly, it's unlikely that this is caused by COVID-19. Their symptoms may be because of another illness.

Immediate action required: Phone 999 or 112:

your baby is under 3 months old and has a high temperature (38 degrees Celsius or more)

Urgent advice: Phone your GP immediately if:

your baby is aged 3 to 6 months and has a high temperature

When to keep your child at home

Do not send your child to school or childcare if any of the following apply.

Your child has:

  • a temperature of 38 degrees Celsius or more
  • any other common symptoms of COVID-19 - a new cough, loss or changed sense of taste or smell, shortness of breath or an existing breathing condition that has recently become worse
  • been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19
  • been living with someone who is unwell and may have COVID-19
  • other uncommon symptoms of COVID-19, such as sore throat or headaches
  • diarrhoea
  • returned from another country in the last 14 days

What to do if you need to keep your child at home

Follow the advice for children with symptoms if your child has:

  • common symptoms of COVID-19
  • other symptoms, such as sore throat or headaches
  • diarrhoea
  • an existing breathing condition that has recently become worse

Follow the advice on what to do if your child is a close contact of COVID-19 if your child has:

  • been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19
  • been living with someone who is unwell and may have COVID-19
  • returned from another country in the last 14 days

Last updated: 2 December 2020