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Antigen tests for children

The information on this page is about using antigen tests you buy in a shop or pharmacy.

Most children do not need to get tested for COVID-19.

If your child has symptoms

Your child should stay at home and avoid contact with other people if they have symptoms of COVID-19 and:

  • are unwell
  • have a high temperature (38 degrees Celsius or higher)

How to do an antigen test with your child

To do the antigen test you use a swab to take a sample from your child's nose.

When you have finished with an antigen test, put it in a plastic bag and put the bag in your bin.

Read step-by-step advice on how to do an antigen test

Watch a video on doing an antigen test with a child:

Antigen test results

The test will show the result in about 15 minutes.

There are 3 types of antigen test results:

  • Positive (detected)
  • Negative (not detected)
  • Invalid
Positive antigen test results

If your child tests positive for COVID-19, they should:

  • stay at home for 3 full days from the day their symptoms started
  • avoid contact with other people

If your child did not have symptoms, they should stay at home for 3 days from the day they tested positive.

What to do if your child has COVID-19

Negative antigen test results

Your child can go to school or childcare, if they do not have symptoms of COVID-19.

School, childcare and COVID-19

Invalid antigen test result

An invalid test means the test did not return a positive or negative result.

Page last reviewed: 19 April 2023