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:

  • develop symptoms of COVID-19
  • test positive for COVID-19 - this is either through a PCR or antigen test

Read about when to do a PCR test or antigen test

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) at least until they get their test results.

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

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 is aged 3 months to 3 years and gets a negative PCR test result, they can stop isolating once they have had no symptoms for 48 hours.

If your child is age 4 or older and has symptoms, they should continue to do an antigen test every day for 3 days even if the first 2 tests are negative.

If all 3 antigen test results are negative, they an 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:

Read advice about caring for someone who cannot self isolate

People your child lives with

People your child lives with need to restrict their movements at least until your child gets their PCR test result or completes their antigen tests.

They do not need to do this if they:

  • have had a booster vaccine more than 7 day ago - boosters are only available to over 16s
  • recovered from COVID-19 in the past 3 months and have had their first round of COVID-19 vaccine
  • recovered from COVID-19 after testing positive since 1 December 2021

What they need to do next depends on your child's test result.

If your child's test is negative

If your child gets 3 negative antigen test results or a negative PCR test, anyone your child lives with who has been restricting their movements can return to their normal activities as long as they do not have symptoms.

If your child's test is positive

If your child gets a positive antigen or PCR test result, the people they live with will become close contacts. They will need to get tested for COVID-19.

They may also need to restrict their movements, but this depends on their situation.

Child cannot isolate alone

If your child cannot isolate alone and cannot stay away from other people in the house, everyone they live with is at an ongoing risk of getting COVID-19.

There is separate advice for the people they live with. They should follow the advice that matches their situation.

Child is old enough to self-isolate alone

If your child is old enough to stay in their room alone and has no contact with the people they live with, the people they live with can follow the advice for close contacts.

Information:

There is separate advice for:

adults who are close contacts

children who are close contacts

If anyone else develops symptoms

If anyone else in the household develops symptoms they should:

They should do these even if they have had their first round of COVID-19 vaccine, booster dose or have had a previous positive COVID-19 test.

Children who are told to restrict their movements

Your child may need to restrict their movements (stay at home) and get tested if they:

  • become a close contact - even if they have had their first round of COVID-19 vaccine
  • live with someone who has symptoms of COVID-19 and is getting tested

Follow the advice that matches your child's age and situation.

When your child does not need to do anything

Your child does not need to isolate or restrict their movements if they do not have symptoms of COVID-19 and they:

  • have had a booster vaccine more than 7 day ago - boosters are currently only available to people aged 16 and older
  • have recovered from COVID-19 in the past 3 months and have had their first round of COVID-19 vaccine
  • have recovered from COVID-19 after testing positive since 1 December 2021
  • are aged 12 or younger and are a non-household close contact. This is unless they have been told to restrict their movements by the HSE.

If your child develops symptoms, they will need to:

Last updated: 14 January 2022 at 9am

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