Caring for a child with COVID-19 at home
Most babies and children with COVID-19 will experience milder symptoms than adults and are less likely to develop severe illness. This means, a child with mild symptoms and no other health conditions that could place them at risk, can often be safely cared for at home by their parents or carers.
Parents and carers should seek medical advice at any time if they are concerned about their child’s condition.
Stopping the spread
If your child has COVID-19 they must isolate at home for 7 days from the date of their positive test. They can only come out of isolation if they have had no symptoms of COVID-19 for 48 hours or if the only remaining symptom is a very mild dry cough which is persistent but not getting worse.
Isolating your child will help stop the spread of COVID-19 to other people. Everyone in your household will need to isolate at home, too. Learn more about preventing the spread of COVID-19 in the home.
Monitoring your child’s health
While your child is isolating and being cared for at home, you should monitor their condition regularly. It’s possible they may have mild symptoms at first, but could become sicker over time. You know your child better than anyone else, and may notice even slight changes in their behaviour. Always trust your instincts and seek medical advice if you have any concerns.
Ask the following questions three times a day (i.e. morning, afternoon and night):
- Are they feeling well and behaving normally?
- Are they eating?
- Are they drinking enough fluids?
- Are they urinating (weeing) less than normal?
- Are they breathing normally?
If you notice any of the above changes in your child, or are concerned that they are becoming more unwell:
- Call the National Coronavirus (COVID) Helpline: 1800 020 080.
If your child develops other health issues while in isolation:
- Call your usual GP or local health service.
When to seek urgent help
Call triple zero (000) and ask for an ambulance if your child:
- collapses or faints
- is having difficulty breathing
- has chest pain
- has severe or worsening abdominal pain
- has stopped urinating or is urinating much less than usual.
- is drowsy or sleepy.
Please tell the 000 operator that your child is COVID-19 positive in home isolation.
Your child might need to be admitted to hospital if their symptoms get worse.
Even if your child’s symptoms are mild, they might have to be admitted to hospital or a virtual care service if:
- they have a chronic health condition or a disability and need extra support
- it’s hard to isolate them safely from others in your home
- you live a long way from a hospital.
Coping with isolation
Helping your child recover from COVID-19 and get through the isolation period can be challenging. Try these tips to help manage this time:
- Maintain a daily routine as much as possible.
- Ensure your child enjoys some physical activity each day.
- Encourage your child to talk to you about COVID-19 and share any concerns. Here’s how to start the conversation.
- If your child is anxious or stressed, encourage them to take some time for mindfulness and relaxation – see the Relaxing with Birdie book and video.
- Make time for fun activities – see the ‘Fun with Birdie’ activity book.
- Stay in touch with friends and family via phone or video-conferencing (Skype, Zoom etc) to reduce the feeling of social isolation.
Need more information?
Call 134 COVID – 13 42 68
Call 134 COVID (13 42 68) for general information about COVID-19, including testing and vaccination. You can also visit the Queensland Health COVID-19 website.