COVID-19 and your child’s health

We know that many parents and carers will be worried about COVID-19 – also known as coronavirus or SARS-CoV-2 –particularly if your child has a long-term health condition. With the help of our child health specialists, we’ve created this page to share all the information, service updates and advice we have about COVID-19 and what it means for your child’s healthcare in one handy place.

We’re #InThisTogether and committed to making sure you have all the information you need to keep you and your family safe and well.

For the latest government guidance about COVID-19, please visit the dedicated Queensland Health and Australian Government web pages.

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Service changes
Latest Updates
Information for families
Getting tested
Family Testing Clinic
Information for interstate families

Frequently Asked Questions

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by a new strain of coronavirus (now identified and officially named SARS-Cov-2). Some coronaviruses can cause illness similar to the common cold, while others can cause more serious diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). SARS-CoV-2 causes a mild illness in many people, but in a minority of people it causes a severe respiratory and multi-organ disease.
Everyone who gets coronavirus (COVID-19) will experience it a little differently. Symptoms of COVID-19 include:

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

Other symptoms people may experience include muscle or joint pain, and loss of appetite.

Based on what we currently know about coronaviruses, those most at risk of serious infection are:

  • elderly people
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples (as they have higher rates of chronic illness)
  • people with chronic medical conditions
The SARS-Cov-2 coronavirus spreads between people, usually when a sick person coughs or sneezes. You might catch novel coronavirus (COVID-19) if someone with the virus sneezes or coughs onto you. You could also catch the virus if they have coughed or sneezed onto a surface (like a door handle) that you touch, getting the droplets on your hands and then transferring them to your mouth, nose or eyes when you touch your face or eat. Worldwide, most people infected with SARS-CoV-2 have caught the virus from another sick person that lives in their household. This is particularly true for children, in most cases children have caught the virus from an adult within their household who has SARS-Cov-2.
There is no specific treatment for COVID-19 infection. Antibiotics are not effective against viral infections. However, most of the symptoms can be treated with medical care.
Two vaccines will be available in Australia: Pfizer from late February and AstraZeneca from March. They are both safe and effective and offer strong protection against COVID-19. Having a COVID-19 vaccine is an important step to take to reduce the serious effects of COVID-19 in people who become infected with the virus.

For more information about the vaccine, read the Queensland COVID-19 vaccine information fact sheet. Learn more about the rollout of the vaccine in Queensland.

Currently, the vaccine is not approved for persons under the age of 16.
A vaccine is important but it’s just one part of what’s needed to keep everyone safe and healthy.

Good hygiene and physical distancing, and staying home if you’re feeling sick will continue to be important to control the spread and effect of the virus in the community as we move through the pandemic.

The most important things your child can do to stay COVID-safe in school, as well as the wider community, are to wash their hands frequently (especially before eating), practise physical distancing with their friends and practise good respiratory hygiene (cover coughs and sneezes). If they are unwell, you should also keep them at home (and get them tested if they have any symptoms of COVID-19).
In Queensland, anyone who has fever (or history of fever) OR acute respiratory symptoms (cough, sore throat, shortness of breath) should be tested.

Children may also experience other symptoms, such as runny nose, headache, loss of smell, loss of taste, nausea or vomiting, muscle pain, joint pain, fatigue, diarrhoea, or a loss of appetite. Symptoms can vary depending on each case.

If your child has any symptoms, you can visit your nearest COVID-19 testing centre or ‘fever clinic’.

If you are unsure, or if your child has a sudden onset of any COVID-19 symptoms, you should contact your local doctor, hospital Emergency Department, or call 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84). Before going to your GP clinic, please call ahead and tell them about your child’s symptoms so they can prepare for your visit.

If you’re visiting your local Emergency Department or Fever Clinic there is no need to call ahead.

The Department of Health recommends that anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, sore throat, cough, shortness of breath, loss of sense of taste or smell) gets tested each time they develop these symptoms.
Saliva tests are not currently available in Queensland, and are still being evaluated for accuracy in adults. Children often find it difficult to produce saliva for tests however, and so this may not prove appropriate for children.
As COVID-19 and the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus are still quite new, we are still learning about the impact it might have on children with complex and chronic medical conditions. However, there are encouraging reports that even children with serious underlying conditions will mostly only experience a mild illness with COVID-19. Severe complications in children are also uncommon. For the best advice for your child and their specific condition, speak to their specialist.

For more on COVID-19 and children, see the ‘Health Advice’ section on our Information for children, young people and families page.

If your child is unwell with fever, cough, sore throat, or shortness of breath, visit your nearest Fever Clinic for testing.

If you are unsure if your child has symptoms of COVID-19, or if your child has a sudden onset of any COVID-19 symptoms, you should contact your local GP, hospital Emergency Department, or call 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84).

Before attending a GP clinic, it is important to phone ahead so they can make appropriate preparations for your visit.

Practising good hand and respiratory hygiene is important to help protect you and your family.

Always remember to:

  • clean your hands regularly with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rubs. Ensure you wash your hands after going to the toilet or assisting your children to do so.
  • cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or flexed elbow when coughing or sneezing
  • avoid contact with anyone who has cold-like symptoms
  • keep your children at home from school or childcare if they are unwell
  • try to stay at least 1.5 metres away from people coughing or sneezing
  • if you or your child are unwell, avoid sharing utensils, cups and glasses
  • get vaccinated.
Yes, it is safe to attend the Queensland Children’s Hospital whether it’s through the Emergency department or for an appointment or planned admission. We have precautions in place to protect all visitors to the hospital and are ready and prepared to respond to COVID-19 presentations.

When visiting the hospital, please remember to wear the mask provided, wash your hands regularly and use the hand sanitiser (red bottles) located at the hospital entrances, on most counters, ward entries as well as outpatients and emergency department. It is also mandatory for families and visitors to check-in on entry via the Check-In Qld app.

All surgeries are proceeding as normal at this time.

If you have any queries about your child’s surgery, please contact our Elective Surgery Bookings Office on 07 3068 1125.

Yes. In line with current Public Health Directions parents/carers, visitors and staff are required to wear a mask inside the Queensland Children’s Hospital.

Children under 12 are not required to wear a mask but encouraged to wear one if they are willing to. It is not recommended that children under the age of two wear a mask for safety reasons. Face masks will be provided at the entry to the Queensland Children’s Hospital.

Read more about how to safely wear a face mask for you and your family.

In line with directions from the Queensland Chief Health Officer, visitor restrictions have been eased at the Queensland Children’s Hospital, but the requirement to wear face masks remains in place until 6am on Friday, 30 July 2021.

On arrival at the Queensland Children’s Hospital, you will be asked a series of questions about your current health. We understand this may cause a short delay, but we appreciate your patience and support in helping us keep everyone in the hospital safe.

Visitors cannot enter the hospital if they:

  • are unwell
  • have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or asked to quarantine
  • have returned from overseas in the last 14 days (excluding safe travel zone countries)
  • have had contact with a person with COVID-19 in the last 14 days
  • have visited a COVID-19 hotspot in the last 14 days or since the hotspot was declared (whichever is shorter)
  • have visited an interstate exposure venue in the last 14 days unless an exemption has been granted for an end of life visit
  • have been in an interstate area of concern in the last 14 days or since the identified start date (whichever is shorter), unless they have received a negative COVID-19 test since entering Queensland
  • have been tested for COVID-19 and are waiting to receive the results
  • have COVID-19 symptoms of fever (37.5 degrees or more), cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, loss of smell or taste, runny nose, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting or fatigue.

To help us maintain appropriate physical distancing in the hospital, we ask that you consider limiting the number of people (including siblings) accompanying your child to the hospital and/or visiting wherever possible.  It is also mandatory for families and visitors to check-in on entry at all Children’s Health Queensland facilities via the Check-In Qld app.

Schools are considered to be safe places for students at this time and present a low risk in relation to the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus).

Children’s Health Queensland recommends all families follow the Government advice about children attending school, unless a child has a chronic or complex health condition and have been advised by a specialist that they should remain at home. If you are concerned about your child, please contact their specialist or GP.

For the latest school-related information, read these frequently asked questions

Our paediatric specialists are aware of a type of inflammatory syndrome affecting small numbers of children infected with SARS-CoV-2. This syndrome is called Paediatric Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome – Temporally Associated with SARS-CoV-2 (or PIMS-TS). It has some features that are similar to other rare auto-inflammation diseases, such as Kawasaki disease.

Our infectious diseases specialists are working closely with the Paediatric Active Enhanced Disease Surveillance (PAEDS) network on hospital-based surveillance across Australia and will continue to provide information and advice for families as it becomes available.

PIMS-TS is an extremely uncommon disease and parents should be assured that there have been very few cases of COVID-19 in children and no cases of PIMS-TS in Queensland. If your child is unwell and you are worried about their condition, you should seek help from a health professional.

Yes. If you want to breastfeed, this will be supported by your health care team. Breastmilk is best for almost all babies. Breastfeeding helps you and your baby bond together and it also helps protect your baby against infection.

Your decision to breastfeed may involve thinking about your baby’s health, how sick you are and whether you are well enough to care for your baby. Your healthcare team will discuss your individual circumstances and feeding options with you. For more information, read the COVID-19 and breastfeeding fact sheet.

We have made some changes to the way some outpatient appointments are offered at the Queensland Children’s Hospital and our community sites during the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes conducting more appointments via phone and teleconferencing.

If there are any changes to your child’s outpatient appointment, we will contact you directly.

If you have any queries about your child’s outpatient appointment, please call the Children’s Health Queensland Outpatient Call Centre on 1300 762 831.

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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
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Health advice
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(13 43 25 84)

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