If your child is told to isolate from other people

The advice on this page is related to babies and children up to age 12 who are told to isolate.

Adults or children over 13 should follow separate advice on self-isolation

If your child is told to isolate they need to:

It's not possible to ask young children to isolate on their own. They will need an adult to look after them.

When your child needs to isolate

Your child will need to isolate from other people if they:

How long your child needs to isolate

If your child has symptoms of COVID-19, they need to isolate from other people (stay at home) until 48 hours after their symptoms are mostly or fully gone.

Positive test result

If your child tests positive for COVID-19 and has symptoms, they need to stay in isolation until when both of these apply:

  • they have not had a high temperature (38 degrees Celsius or over) or other symptoms for 48 hours
  • it has been 7 days since they first developed symptoms

It's OK for them to stop isolating after 7 days if they only have a mild cough or changes to their sense of smell – these can last for weeks after the infection has gone.

If they tested positive but did not have symptoms, they need to isolate for 7 days. This is from the day they got tested.

Negative test result

If your child gets a negative result, they can stop isolating once they have had no symptoms for 48 hours.

Choose one carer to look after your child

Where possible, only 1 person should look after your child while they isolate. This should be someone who is in good health and fully vaccinated against COVID-19 if possible.


Do not ask someone to care for your child if they:

  • have a long-term illness
  • have a weak immune system
  • are at high risk from COVID-19

People in these groups are at a higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19

Advice about caring for someone who cannot self isolate

People your child lives with

People in the household should:

If anyone else develops symptoms

If anyone else in the household develops symptoms they should:

They do not need a COVID-19 test unless a GP or health professional advises them to have one.

Page last reviewed: 29 March 2023