Protect your child from COVID-19 by encouraging them to:
- get a COVID-19 vaccine if it's available to them now
- wear a face mask if they should
- wash their hands regularly and properly - watch a video on teaching your child to wash their hands
You should also follow advice on:
When your child should wear a face mask
Children aged 9 or older must wear a face mask in healthcare settings.
They are advised to wear one on public and school transport. But they don't have to.
If your child has symptoms
If your child has symptoms of COVID-19 they need to:
- isolate from other people until they have not had symptoms for 48 hours
- wear a medical, respirator or well-fitted face mask, depending on their age
They do not need to get tested unless they:
- have a condition that puts them at higher risk
- live with someone who has a weak immune system
If your child is aged 3 months or less, phone your GP for advice
Sending your child to school
All children should go to school unless they have:
- symptoms of COVID-19 - if a runny nose or sneezing is their only symptom, it's OK to send them
- tested positive for COVID-19
If there is a case in your child's class in school or childcare
You can request free antigen tests for your child if there are cases of COVID-19 in their in their class in school or childcare facility. They don't have to be tested, but you can get free tests for them if you want.
Children with health conditions
The risk of severe illness from COVID-19 seems to be low, even if your child has:
- an underlying health condition
- special healthcare needs or educational needs
But children with underlying health conditions may be vulnerable to any infection. If you're worried about your child's health condition, ask their specialist team for advice.
Protect a child with a health condition
School and children with health conditions
There is no reason a child with any of the following health conditions cannot go to school:
- cystic fibrosis
- inflammatory bowel disease
Children may need to stay away from school for some time if they have been told to do so because they have:
- recently had a transplant
- severe immunodeficiency from very recent cancer treatment
- unstable or severe cystic fibrosis
Their specialist can tell you if your child needs to take any extra precautions. Contact the specialist and GP straight away if your child gets COVID-19.
Exercise and play
If you and your child go to a play area:
- follow advice on protecting yourself and others from COVID-19
- 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
You don't have to wear a face mask. But if you are indoors and your child is aged 9 or older, wearing a face mask will help give them some protection against getting COVID-19.
If your child gets COVID-19
Children who get COVID-19 generally get a milder infection than adults. They often have no symptoms of COVID-19.
A small number of children with COVID-19 have developed an inflammatory syndrome called paediatric inflammatory multisystem syndrome (PIMS). This condition is very rare.
Last updated: 1 March 2022 at 9.15am