COVID-19 PCR tests for children

Your child can get a PCR test if they have symptoms of COVID-19 and:

  • 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

Your child's PCR test

We will send your child's PCR test details and results to you by text message.

The test that children have is simpler than the test adults have. Their test sample is taken using a nasal swab. A swab is a type of cotton bud. It's put between 1cm and 2cm inside each of your child's nostrils for a second or two.

Your child will usually get their result within 48 hours. But it can take longer. If you are waiting more than 3 days for your child's result, phone HSELive on 1800 700 700.

What to do if your child has symptoms of COVID-19

While your child waits for their PCR test and results

What you and your child need to do depends on your situation.

If your child has symptoms of COVID-19

Your child should isolate from other people.

When they get their test result, they'll be told what to do next.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, self-isolate (stay in your room) until you have not had symptoms for 48 hours.

Do this even if you are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or had a positive PCR test in the past.

You do not need a test if you are:

  • under 55 years of age with symptoms of COVID-19 and you are otherwise healthy
  • age 55 or older and you are fully boosted, even if you have symptoms of COVID 19

Find out when you may need a test for COVID-19

Test results for children

You'll get your child's test result by text message usually within 24 hours of their test.

It will be one of the following:

Read more about COVID-19 test results

Bringing your child to a test centre

You may need to drive your child to a test centre. It may be a strange experience for your child. They will see people in protective clothing and may find this frightening. Explain to them what will happen before they go.

What to expect at a COVID-19 test centre

These visual guides may also help children who need to be tested:

Getting ready to go to the Test Centre (Comic) (PDF, 5.54 MB, 3 pages)

Autism Social Story for Testing (PDF, 837 KB, 4 pages)

Getting ready to go to the COVID-19 test centre

Watch a video for children on what to expect when they attend a COVID-19 test centre.

Getting ready to go to the COVID-19 test centre

Watch a video for children on what to expect when they attend a COVID-19 test centre.

Last updated:  1 March 2022 at 9am