COVID-19 COVID-19

Getting your child tested

What type of test does my child need?

There are two types of tests to detect COVID-19 in Queensland:

  • Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test – performed at testing clinics
  • Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) – can be done at home.

A PCR test is usually recommended if your child is sick or if you are unable to get a RAT.

A RAT is best used when your child is a close contact and has no symptoms.

When should my child get tested?

If your child is sick

If your child (or anyone in your family) feels unwell:

  • Get tested today
  • Keep them home and isolated until you get the results and symptoms resolve.

Testing helps us find as many cases in the community as quickly as possible.

If you have any of the following COVID-19 symptoms, no matter how mild, get tested:

  • fever
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • headache
  • fatigue
  • shortness of breath
  • runny nose
  • diarrhoea
  • vomiting or nausea
  • loss of the sense of smell or taste
  • muscle or joint pain
  • loss of appetite.

Call 000 and ask for an ambulance if your child is very sick or if they are having difficulty breathing.

If your child is a close contact

If your child is a close contact of a confirmed positive case of COVID-19, you will need to follow the testing and quarantine requirements for close contacts on the Queensland Health website.

If you are in home quarantine with your child

If you are in home quarantine with your child you may be asked by your doctor, nurse or the Queensland Government to get tested for COVID-19.

Where can I get my child tested?

If your child has any COVID-19 symptoms, they can get tested at a respiratory clinic, fever clinic or testing location, or you can give them a RAT at home.

Respiratory clinics are doctor (GP)-led clinics that provide face-to-face assessments, testing and treatment for people experiencing mild to moderate respiratory symptoms. This includes testing for COVID-19.

You should make an appointment at a respiratory clinic if you have cold, flu or COVID-19 symptoms. The clinics are for everyone, including children.

The clinics are free (no cost), even if you do not have a Medicare card. Bookings are required. Book your appointment via HotDoc or calling 1800 022 222.

Respiratory clinics are supported by PHNs (primary health networks) and funded through the Commonwealth Department of Health.

Fever clinics are specialist clinics managed by Hospital and Health Services that assess people who may be infected with COVID-19. Most clinics offer testing for children and some offer a drive-through service which you may find more convenient for testing your child.

These clinics help to keep people who may be contagious away from other areas of hospitals and health centres. This helps to reduce the potential spread of the virus and keeps the emergency department available for emergencies.

During peak periods the wait times at fever clinics could be a few hours. If your nearest testing facility is experiencing delays, look for other testing locations near you. Remember to check opening hours before leaving home and bring water, a hat and sunscreen, and toys or books with you in case you need them.

Some types of RATs can be used to detect a current COVID infection in children but not all are suitable for young children and babies. Adults should always test children or supervise children who are doing a test. Read the instructions that come with the kit before using the test on the child or baby.

RATs can be purchased at various locations such as supermarkets and pharmacies, where available. RATs may also be provided at some COVID testing clinics. These tests can be conducted at home and usually takes 15-30 minutes to give a result.

Find your nearest COVID-19 testing centre

If your child is very unwell or in an emergency, call 000 and let them know your child has COVID-19 symptoms.

Find your nearest COVID-19 testing centre.

If your child is very unwell or in an emergency, call 000 and let them know your child has COVID-19 symptoms.

What does a PCR test involve?

During a PCR test, a healthcare worker wearing a mask, gown, eye protection and gloves (personal protective equipment) will use a nasal swab to collect secretions from the back of your child’s nose. The thin swab will be inserted about 2-3cm inside your child’s nose. The collected sample will be sent to a laboratory for testing.

What happens after the test?

After your child’s test, you will be sent home to isolate while you wait for the test results.

If your child is very sick, they may be admitted to hospital for treatment. If your child become sicker while you are waiting for results, please contact your doctor or call 000 for an ambulance and let them know you are waiting for test results for COVID-19. If the result is positive, you and your child will need to immediately isolate at your home for 7 days from the date of your test.

Still got questions? Read our FAQs.

  • If you are concerned that your child may have COVID-19 and requires medical treatment, take them to the Queensland Children’s Hospital Emergency Department (open 24 hours, seven days a week).
    Call emergency services on 000 if your child is very sick.

More information

Questions?

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.
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Quick links

Latest news and advice
Queensland Health: COVID-19
Queensland Health: COVID-19 translated resources
Queensland Government: Unite Against COVID-19
Australian Government: COVID-19 Health Alerts
COVID-19 vaccines

Queensland Health COVID care self-checker

Health advice
over the phone

134 COVID
(13 42 68)

In an emergency, always call 000 and ask for an ambulance.

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