COVID-19 COVID-19

COVID-19 (coronavirus) information for children, young people and families

The rapidly evolving COVID-19 pandemic may have raised lots of questions and concerns about your child and family’s health and wellbeing. We’ve created and collected these handy resources to help answer some of your questions and help you support your family through the coming weeks and months.

Explore Birdies tree storybook Birdie and the virus
Explore Birdies tree storybook Birdie and the virus

Supporting your teenager through the COVID-19 changes

isolated With the need for home isolation and social distancing being almost at opposite ends of everything a teenager wants to do… parenting through adolescence just got a lot harder! Here are some tips to help you get through the coming weeks and months.

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How to get the most out of home-based learning (for you and your kids)

back to home Here are some tips for supporting your child to learn at home to help make the transition from parent/carer to teacher aide a little easier – so you both get the most out of the home-based learning experience.

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COVID-19 (coronavirus) – everything you need to know, in language you can understand

With so many people talking about the COVID-19 pandemic, it can be tricky to figure out what you need to pay attention to, and sometimes it is hard to understand the information you’re being told. Here are the facts you should know.

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COVID-19 and Kids: What you need to know

blowing nose While there’s still a lot to learn about COVID-19, what we do know to date, and what we want families to take some comfort in is that children make up a very small proportion of confirmed cases worldwide. Here’s a breakdown of the current clinical facts you need to know, so you can be aware of and informed but not alarmed.

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How to talk with your children about COVID-19

talking to little girl Even if you’ve tried to keep your kids away from the news and adult conversations, now that schools, restaurants, cinemas and even playgrounds are closed, they’re bound to be a little curious – and maybe even anxious. Here are some tips for talking with young children about COVID-19 and the SARS-Cov-2 coronavirus and helping them cope over the coming weeks.

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COVID-19 and children

The medical world is learning more about COVID-19 and the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus which causes it every day, but what we know now is that children make up a very small proportion of confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide.

Current data also shows children tend to have less severe cases of COVID-19 than adults. In most cases the SARS-CoV-2 virus causes mild or moderate symptoms, which can include fever and cough, but also milder cases of pneumonia. Some children may require hospitalisation but severe complications in children are uncommon.

To help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and protect those in our community who are more at risk, it is very important for everyone to follow the recommended infection prevention guidelines (see below).

For more, read our blog COVID-19 and Kids: What you need to know

For more information about COVID-19 and what it might mean for children with chronic and complex medical conditions, please see below. We will update and add to this list as new information becomes available.

General information

Good hand and respiratory hygiene remains the most important measure for preventing infection. These include:

  1. Washing hands with soap and water regularly and properly.
  2. Covering your nose and mouth with a tissue or flexed elbow when coughing or sneezing.
  3. Avoiding contact with anyone who has flu-like symptoms.
  4. If possible, avoiding close contact with family members with flu-like illnesses.
  5. Avoid touching your face.

All Queenslanders are being asked to follow social distancing practices:

If your child develops any of the symptoms of COVID-19 and:

  • has returned from overseas in the past 14 days, or
  • someone in your household has returned from overseas in the past 14 days, or
  • has been in contact with a person with confirmed coronavirus, or
  • lives in Brisbane, the Gold Coast or Cairns, where an outbreak has occurred or a First Nations community,

go to your nearest COVID-19 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 very important to phone ahead so that the practice or local emergency department can
make appropriate safety preparations and protect other patients. This may include asking you to wear a mask.

The Australian Government recommends and funds the seasonal influenza (flu) vaccine for ‘medical at risk’ groups from six months of age. Your child’s condition may make them eligible for free seasonal influenza vaccine, which is expected to be available from 27 April.

Please note, the seasonal ‘flu’ vaccine does not prevent COVID-19 but is the most important measure we have to prevent influenza and its complications. At this time, preventing this common and serious respiratory infection is extremely important.

You can get the seasonal influenza vaccine at:

  • Local immunisation providers (e.g. council clinics and community child health clinics)
  • General Practitioners
  • Queensland Children’s Hospital
    • Inpatients – discuss with your treating doctor
    • Outpatients – Queensland Specialist Immunisation Service (Level 2, Mon-Fri 8am to 4pm (no appointment required).

Flu vaccination is also recommended for all family members.

Babies and infants

There is currently no evidence to suggest that healthy babies and infants are at high risk of developing a severe COVID-19 infection. Internationally, approximately 10% of infants with confirmed COVID-19 have so far been admitted to hospital requiring oxygen support, in the same way that oxygen is often required for infants who become ill with other winter viruses (like influenza or ‘the flu’). These are serious infections and must be safely managed but the majority of these babies recover without needing any intensive care support. This is very different to the experience in the elderly, particularly those with existing health problems.

Children with complex and chronic conditions

There is currently no specific information about the impact COVID-19 may have on the health of children with cancer.

However, children with a compromised immune system are potentially more at risk of developing a serious infection from COVID-19. (See Immunosuppressed or immunocompromised below)

Our current advice is to follow the recommended infection prevention guidelines (outlined above) to protect your child’s health.

My child is currently receiving treatment for cancer – are they at an increased risk of getting COVID-19?
If your child is currently receiving oncology treatment and they are immunocompromised, they are potentially more at risk of developing a serious infection from COVID-19.

Current evidence shows that children receiving chemotherapy do not experience life-threatening complications from other respiratory viruses such as influenza (the flu). It is hoped that this will also be the case with COVID-19 but there is not enough information available at this stage to be certain of any risk. Until more is known about COVID-19, It is important to follow the recommended infection prevention guidelines (outlined above) to protect your child’s health.

Speak to your child’s oncologist about the best plan for your child over the coming months.

My child has completed their cancer treatment. Are they at increased risk?
Most children with cancer who have completed their planned treatment should have a relatively normal immune system within two to three months of completing therapy and are unlikely to be at increased risk of severe infection. No further special precautions are advised for these children at this stage.

Is it safe for my child to return to school?
On 8 May 2020, the Australian and New Zealand Children’s Haematology/Oncology Group (ANZCHOG) announced that it was safe for the vast majority of paediatric oncology and BMT patients to return to school. If your doctor had advised that it was safe for your child to attend school prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is now safe for your child to attend school when they are re-opened. Read more

There is currently no information specific to people with congenital heart disease (CHD) but the overall risk of COVID-19 for children and young adults with CHD is believed to be low.

Children are at significantly less risk of developing severe lung infection from COVID-19 than adults and it is believed this low risk should apply to most children with CHD.

However, children with complex lesions with associated heart failure or low oxygen levels may be at an increased risk.  Some cardiac children may also have an associated impaired immune function or be on medicines which affect immune function, which could place them at an increased risk. Speak to your child’s specialist about the best plan for your child over the coming months.

Should I take any special precautions to protect my child? 
It is important to follow the recommended infection prevention guidelines (outlined above) to protect your child’s health. It is also recommended your child has the seasonal flu vaccine.

Currently there is no specific information available about whether children with chronic respiratory illnesses (such as asthma) are at increased risk of COVID-19. However, most children with chronic respiratory illness do not have life-threatening disease when they contract other respiratory viruses such as influenza (the ‘flu’), and it is likely that this is also the case with COVID-19.

Should I take any special precautions to protect my child?
Until more information about COVID-19 and children with chronic respiratory illness is available, it is important to follow the recommended infection prevention guidelines (outlined above) to protect your child’s health. It is also recommended your child has the seasonal flu vaccine.

As with all viral seasons, it is important to obtain medical review if your child develops a persistent moist cough for more than three days.

If your child is on regular treatment make sure your child has enough medications for the next two to three months.

Seek medical advice if your child is unwell and avoid contact with sick people.

Currently there is no specific information available about whether children with cystic fibrosis are at increased risk of COVID-19. However, most children with chronic respiratory illness do not have life-threatening disease when they contract other respiratory viruses such as influenza (the ‘flu’), and it is likely that this is also the case with COVID-19.

Should I take any special precautions to protect my child?
Until more information about COVID-19 and children with cystic fibrosis is available, it is important to follow the recommended infection prevention guidelines (outlined above) to protect your child’s health. It is also recommended your child has the seasonal flu vaccine.

As with every viral season, it is very important to have a supply of antibiotics available in case your child has a chest flare up or develops a moist cough. Make sure your child has enough medications for the next two to three months.

Seek medical advice if your child is unwell and avoid contact with sick people.

For more information
Cystic Fibrosis Service
Queensland Children’s Hospital
t 07 3068 2303
e QCH_CF@health.qld.gov.au

Based on current available information, there is no evidence that children with diabetes (type 1, type 2 and MODY) are at increased risk of COVID-19.
However, children with compromised immune systems due to medical treatment (for example, immunosuppressive medications like steroids) are more at risk from the common cold, the flu and other infections, and are potentially more at risk of developing a serious infection from COVID-19. Talk to your child’s medical or nursing team about their currently level of immunosuppression.

Should I take any special precautions to protect my child?
It is important to follow the recommended infection prevention guidelines (outlined above) to protect your child’s health. It is also recommended your child has the seasonal flu vaccine.

For more information
Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes
Queensland Children’s Hospital
t 3068 5264

Children whose immune systems have been compromised due to medical treatment (such as organ transplants, current use of immunosuppressive medications etc) are more at risk from the common cold, the flu and other infections, and are therefore potentially more at risk of developing a serious infection from COVID-19. This includes patients with autoimmune diseases, inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative colitis), those who are post liver transplantation, and those who have had a splenectomy.

It is important to discuss your child’s current level of immunosuppression with their specialist, and follow the recommended infection prevention guidelines (outlined above) to protect your child.

You should maintain your child’s current therapies and pathology monitoring as directed by your specialist team. Self-regulating dosing to reduce levels or use of emergency steroid management without specialist supervision will put your child at unnecessary greater risk of disease flare, increased risks of infection, increased risk of complications, organ rejection, and possibly death.

If you are unsure about the wellbeing of your child and you are concerned, visit your GP or attend your local emergency department for a review. Be sure to explain their background medical history.

If your child develops a temperature of 38°C or over, please seek a medical review. Remember to follow your team’s usual management plans and protocols and your child’s emergency management and or emergency steroid management plan if they have one.

Based on current available information, there is no evidence that children with a physical disability are at increased risk of COVID-19. Most children with physical impairments do not have life-threatening disease when they have other respiratory viruses such as influenza (or ‘the flu’), and it is likely that this will also be the case with COVID-19. However, until further research and information is available, parents and carers are advised to follow the recommended infection prevention guidelines (see above) to protect your child’s health.

If your child has an underlying health condition, that makes them more susceptible to respiratory and other serious health complications, speak with their specialist, or your child’s GP about any risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

For more information and advice about children with disability and COVID-19, visit

Also, there is information available on the Department of Education website (both general and specific to children with disability).

Based on current available information, there is no evidence that children with rheumatological conditions such as juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) or Lupus are at increased risk of COVID-19. However, if your child is taking immunosuppressive medicines to manage their condition, they are considered more at risk from the common cold, the flu and other infections, and therefore potentially more at risk of developing a severe infection from COVID-19.

Should I take any special precautions to protect my child?
It is important to follow the recommended infection prevention guidelines (outlined above) to protect your child’s health. It is also recommended your child has the seasonal flu vaccine.

Should my child continue to take their immunosuppressive medication?
Yes, your child should continue to take their current medications so their disease doesn’t flare. This includes commonly used low-dose immunosuppressive medications such as methotrexate, biologics, mycophenolate, azathioprine, leflunomide and steroids.

If your child becomes unwell especially with a fever, the medication should be withheld as you would normally do. If your child is taking steroids these must NOT be stopped during an illness and your steroid action plan should be followed.

For more information
Rheumatology Service
Queensland Children’s Hospital
t 07 3068 2389
e CHQ_RheumAdmin@health.qld.gov.au

The information is based on the current evidence-based information about COVID-19 and was correct at time of distribution. Updated: 01/04/2020

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If you have specific questions about COVID19 and your family, please email COVIDquestions@health.qld.gov.au.

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