If you are a parent looking forward to finally getting abroad in the summer holidays this year, then you may also be a little worried about your children falling ill and catching COVID-19 before you go. 

However, the good news is that according to the NHS, if your child does catch COVID, they are more likely to be less ill with it than if an adult catches it. They go so far as to say that “it is a mild illness, and most get better in a matter of days.”

It is still a good idea for parents to ensure they are aware of the symptoms of COVID in children so that you can get your little ones tested for the virus as soon as possible. 

What are the symptoms of COVID-19 in babies, toddlers & children?

The symptoms you need to look out for when it comes to COVID-19 in babies, toddlers and children are very similar to those for adults, and they include:

  • a high temperature or shivering (chills)
  • a new, continuous cough
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste
  • shortness of breath
  • feeling tired or exhausted
  • an aching body
  • a headache
  • a sore throat
  • a blocked or runny nose
  • loss of appetite
  • diarrhoea
  • feeling sick or being sick

# High Temperature

A high temperature is generally known as a fever, which can be pretty common in small children. The average temperature for a child, according to the NHS, is about 36.4c, with a high temperature starting from about 38c. 

Signs that your child has a high temperature can include feeling a little hot or sweaty on their chest and/or back. They may also tell you that they don’t feel very well. 

A high temperature as a symptom on its own doesn’t necessarily mean your child has COVID, but it can be a sign of that, as well as many other illnesses.  

If your child is three months or under and has a temperature of 38c, then you are advised to ring 111 or your GP and ask for advice. 

#New continuous cough

If your child develops a cough and starts coughing a lot, this could be a sign of COVID-19. 

The NHS defines a “continuous cough” as coughing for more than an hour or three coughing episodes in 24 hours. 

normal cough that is not continuous is not considered a symptom of COVID-19.

#Loss of taste and smell

One of the most distinctive symptoms of COVID-19 is the loss of taste and smell. The virus is known to cause a change to your sense of smell and taste, meaning children might complain that their food tastes different to normal. 

Of course, this symptom might be harder to detect in younger children, but if they seem less hungry than usual or leave food that they would typically eat, it might be a good idea to test them for COVID. 

What should I do if my child is showing symptoms of COVID?

The current NHS advice is that if your child is showing symptoms of COVID, they should “stay at home and avoid contact with other people.”

If your child seems very unwell, then you should seek medical advice. The NHS article on “Coronavirus in Children” gives clear guidance on which symptoms require the most urgent care.

Should I send my child to school if they have a mild cough?

If your child has a mild cough or cold but isn’t displaying any of the other main symptoms of COVID-19, then it should be safe to leave the house and go to school. 

As we said above, the cough caused by COVID-19 tends to be continuous, meaning your child will cough for long periods and not just occasionally. 

What should I do if I think my child has been exposed to COVID-19?

If your child is not showing any symptoms of COVID-19, but you think they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID, then you can use a home COVID test to test them in the comfort of your own home. 


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