Antigen tests for children

The antigen programme for primary schools and childcare services is no longer running.

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

If your child has symptoms

If your child has symptoms of COVID-19:

Most children do not need to get tested unless they have symptoms and they:

  • have a condition that puts them at higher risk
  • live with someone who has a weak immune system

Find out when your child may need a test for COVID-19

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. The results are quicker than a PCR test because the sample does not need to go to a lab.

There are 3 types of antigen test results:

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

If your child's antigen test is positive, they need to stay at home and avoid contact with other people.

You should also report the positive antigen result to the HSE.

Negative antigen test results

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

Continue to follow the advice on how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

Invalid antigen test result

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

Page last reviewed: 30 June 2022