Learn about the types of COVID-19 tests available for kids and when to test

As COVID-19 continues to spread and children have risk of exposure, it’s important to understand when and where you can get your child tested if you think they may have COVID-19. Testing is an important way to reduce the spread of the virus.   

Learn about the different types of tests available for kids, if at-home tests are accurate, tips to prepare your child and more from an infectious disease expert at Children’s HealthSM.

What to know about COVID-19 testing for children.

When should I get my child tested for COVID‑19?

Getting a COVID‑19 test is an important way to reduce the spread of the virus. You should get your child tested for COVID‑19 in the following situations:

  • Your child is showing signs of COVID‑19, such as:
    • Congestion
    • Cough
    • Diarrhea
    • Fatigue
    • Fever or chills
    • Headache
    • Loss of taste or smell
    • Muscle or body aches
    • Runny nose
    • Shortness of breath or trouble breathing
    • Sore throat
    • Vomiting or nausea
  • Children should also be tested if they had known or suspected close contact with someone with COVID‑19. Test at least 5 days after they had close contact. Learn more about what to do if your child is exposed to COVID‑19.
  • You may also choose to get your child tested if you're concerned about any potential exposure before being around someone who is at high risk for serious illness.
  • There may also be times when your child needs to get tested for school, certain activities or travel situations.

Are at-home COVID‑19 tests accurate for kids?

At-home COVID‑19 tests, also known as self-tests or over-the-counter (OTC) tests, are an important public health tool. They can be used on children and accurately detect high levels of COVID‑19. Having an at-home COVID‑19 test on hand is helpful to quickly test your child when needed.

What to know about COVID-19 testing for children.