COVID-19 and your child

Last updated 20 March 2020

For the most up-to-date information on the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) pandemic in Queensland visit the dedicated Queensland Health web page.

We understand that you might be worried about COVID-19 particularly for what it means for your child’s health.

  • Latest information – patient visitor restrictions
    To protect our patients and staff, visitation restrictions are now in place at the Queensland Children’s Hospital and all Children’s Health Queensland facilities, including the Ellen Barron Family Centre and Community Clinics.
    These include:
    Inpatients: Limited to two visitors only within a 24-hour period (including parents and carers).
    Outpatient appointments: Limited to one parent/carer accompanying the patient. Wherever possible, accompanying patient siblings should also be limited.
    We acknowledge there may be situations that will need special consideration and ask that you speak with the nurse unit manager in your ward or service.

Here is a list of FAQs about COVID-19 and what to expect when coming to the hospital.

Yes, it is safe to attend the Queensland Children’s Hospital whether it’s through the Emergency department or for an appointment or planned admission.

However please note, visitor number restrictions have been introduced to protect our patients and staff. Currently, we ask that visitors (including parents and carers) are limited to two per inpatient within a 24-hour period.

For outpatient appointments, we ask that one parent/carer accompanies the patient. If possible, accompanying patient siblings should also be limited.

We acknowledge that there may be situations that will need special consideration and ask that you speak with the nurse unit manager in your ward/area about this.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we ask that people do not visit the hospital if they:

  • have acute flu like or respiratory-illness symptoms;
  • have travelled from an overseas country within the past 14 days;
  • have had contact with anyone confirmed or suspected of having COVID19 until 14 days after the exposure risk; and
  • are in quarantine or self-isolation until 14 days after the exposure risk.

When visiting the hospital, please wash your hands regularly and use the hand sanitiser (red and white bottles) located at the hospital entrances, on most counters, ward entries as well as outpatients and emergency department; practice good respiratory hygiene practices; and observe social distancing guidelines.

If your child has a planned appointment or admission, and is feeling unwell please contact us before arriving at the hospital.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are known to cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

However novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new strain of coronavirus that has not been previously identified in humans.

Symptoms in children may include cold-like symptoms, such as fever, runny nose or a cough. In a small number of cases, patients have also presented with diarrhoea and vomiting.
People who have:

  • been in contact with a person with COVID-19
  • visited or transited through mainland China (excluding Macau, or Taiwan), Iran, Italy or South Korea in the previous 14 days
  • visited another country at risk of COVID-19 in the previous 14 days

People with underlying illnesses that make them more vulnerable to respiratory disease, including those with diabetes, chronic lung disease, kidney failure, people with suppressed immune systems and older people are at a higher risk of serious disease.

Based on current available information, it appears the rate of infection in children under 14 years of age is much lower than in older age groups.

As of 13 March 2020, only one child has tested positive to the COVID-19 infection in Queensland. This child presented with mild symptoms and has now recovered.

Most children and adolescents with COVID-19 in China had mild or no symptoms and recovered within one to two weeks.

If your child develops any of the above symptoms and has travelled overseas (or lives with someone who has travelled overseas) within the previous 14 days or been in contact with a person with confirmed coronavirus, attend your nearest coronavirus testing centre or fever clinic. You do not need to phone ahead.

If you are worried your child is very unwell and needs to see a doctor, make an appointment with your GP or local emergency department. It is important to phone ahead so that the practice or local emergency department can make appropriate preparations and protect other patients. This may include asking you to wear a mask.

Practicing good hand and respiratory hygiene is important to help protect you and your family.

Always remember to:

  • clean your hands regularly with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rubs. Ensure you wash your hands after going to the toilet or assisting your children to do so.
  • cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or flexed elbow when coughing or sneezing
  • avoid contact with anyone who has cold-like symptoms
  • keep your children at home from school or childcare if they are unwell
  • try and stay at least 1.5 metres away from people coughing or sneezing.
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Further information

Queensland Health’s Frequently Asked Questions
Queensland Health’s Fact sheet – Novel coronavirus

Call the National Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080. It operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you require translating or interpreting services,
call 131 450.