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Tests For Children & Young People

Children and young people can have a coronavirus test if they have any of these symptoms of the illness;  

  • A high temperature 38°C or above. *Click here* to find out how to check your child's temperature.
  • A new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if your child usually has a cough, it may be worse than usual).
  • A loss or change to your child's sense of smell or taste – this means you've noticed your child cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal.

The test is not accurate if you do not have these symptoms. The sooner the test is taken the more effective it is. If it is 5 days or more since the person first became unwell it will not work.

Testing is really important;

  • It will let you know if COVID-19 is causing your child to be unwell.
  • If the test is positive and the person and their family will know they need to self isolate at home. If the text is negative the household can get back to normal.
  • It also helps services know how many people are infected in the community.

If a child’s test confirms a positive result, track and trace health professionals will get in touch. They will ask the parents, or the child if they are able to understand and consent for themselves, who they have been in close contact with whilst infectious. These people will be asked to self isolate too. This is one of the ways that the virus can be controlled and our lives get back to something more normal.

Some children and young people may have additional physical, emotional or practical issues that mean who completes the test and where it happens need more careful consideration.

How To Get A Test For Your Child

It is important that a test is taken as soon as possible after COVID 19 symptoms appear.

Most children and young people can follow the same pathway to get a test as everyone else. This can be by booking a slot at a local test centre or by applying for a home test. You can organise your child’s test without seeking any extra advice. *Click here* to find out how to get a test.

This route will suit most children and families.

Some children and young people may be offered a test in a way that will suit their needs better. For example;

  • Looked after children and some children supported by children’s services.
  • Children and young people up to the age of 25 with special educational needs and disabilities who might need extra support to cope with the test.
  • Children and young people aged 19 and under who are due to attend hospital for a pre-booked treatment.
  • When a setting like a school needs to test a number of pupils.
  • Children and young people aged 19 and under who have long term conditions or illnesses that might make them more vulnerable to COVID-19 (and sometimes their brothers and sisters).

This will be discussed with you (and sometimes other professionals involved in your child’s care) to assess the best way for your child to get a test. Most children under 16 years will need their parents to give consent for the test, unless it is felt the young person is fully able to understand and do so themselves.

  • In some rare circumstances it may be decided that testing is not in the best interests of your child. This could be because of their particular set of physical and / or emotional challenges. The reasons for this will be discussed with you, and you will be given advice on self-isolation and reducing the risk of spreading the virus.
  • If it is decided that your child can follow the usual pathway you will be able to get a test to carry out at home, or go to a test centre - *click here* to find out more. We have advice on completing a home test *here*.
  • If it is decided your child’s test should be completed in the community they will be referred to the Community Testing Team.
  • If your child is already cared for by the Children’s Community Nursing team they may complete the test on your child.

The people carrying out the test will be sensitive to your child’s worries and particular needs. Children / young people will not be forced to have a test if this causes distress.

You will be given the results by telephone by the community testing team. They will aim to be in touch within 72 hours of the test being taken.


Who Can Help?

You can contact the Healthy Child Programme by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or texting Parentline on 07520631590. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.

If you are 11-19 you can text ChatHealth on 07480635060 for confidential advice from one of our team.

You can speak to other Norfolk parents and carers by clicking our online community forum below. 


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