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Coronavirus in children

Coronavirus in children

Although statistically children are less likely to get coronavirus, it is still possible. Here we explain the symptoms in children and steps to take as a parent. 


Symptoms of coronavirus in children 

Symptoms of coronavirus include: 

  • A high temperature. 
  • A new, continuous cough which means coughing a lot, for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours  
  • Some children also have muscle pain, tiredness and vomiting and/or diarrhoea
  • Some report a loss of sense of smell and taste. 


Whilst most children who get coronavirus have mild symptoms there are recent reports of a complication called multisystem inflammatory syndrome. However, this is rare and generally treatable. 


What to do if my child shows symptoms 

If your child or young person has symptoms of coronavirus, please do not take them to your GP or pharmacist – stay at home and contact your GP by telephone or use the NHS 111 online service at for medical advice. You will want to explain if they have other health conditions. You may also want to mention that they are autistic or have learning difficulties.   

However, if you are very worried about your child and they look very sick to you, you should always call 999 or go to your local A&E or urgent care centre. 

If your child or anyone in your household shows any symptoms you will all need to stay at home and self-isolate for 14 days.  

You can ask for a test within the first three days of symptoms occurring. You can request a test from the NHS.  



The Government has released videos on how to do a home test.  

The test involves swabbing your child’s throat and nose using the cotton bud and collection tube provided. It might be a bit uncomfortable and your child might cough or sneeze.

To support an autistic young person, our visual guide explaining the coronavirus home testing kits will be useful. We also have a guide for parents and carers explaining how you can support an autism-friendly coronavirus home test


Prepare in advance 

Preparing autistic children and young people for situations in advance helps to relieve some fear and anxiety.  

If your child has underlying health conditions or is shielding, though the chances are slim, they may have to go to hospital. Preparing your child for a hospital visit in advance could make a huge amount of difference - in what could be a very stressful situation.  

We have detailed information and resources for children with autism, families and healthcare staff on preparing for a hospital trip.