Although in a majority of cases disease seems to be milder in young children, it’s important for parents and caregivers to understand that children can be infected with SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, and can transmit it to others.
In rare cases, children can become very sick with COVID-19, and deaths have occurred. That’s why it is important to use precautions and prevent infection in children as well as adults.
Can newborns get COVID-19?
It appears that women infected with the coronavirus can, in very rare cases, pass the disease to her baby. Infants can also become infected shortly after being born, most newborns who test positive for the coronavirus have mild symptoms or none at all, and recover, but serious cases have occurred
What are coronavirus symptoms in babies and children?
Generally, COVID-19 symptoms are milder in children than in adults, and some infected children may not have any signs of being sick at all.
Symptoms for children and adults include:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
- New fatigue
- Nausea or vomiting
- Congestion or runny nose
Fever and cough are common COVID-19 symptoms in both adults and children; shortness of breath is more likely to be seen in adults. Children can have pneumonia, with or without obvious symptoms. They can also experience sore throat, excessive fatigue or diarrhea.
However, serious illness in children with COVID-19 is possible, and parents should stay alert if their child is diagnosed with, or shows signs of, the disease.
When to call the doctor
Parents or guardians should immediately seek urgent or emergency medical care if they notice these warning signs in a child:
- Difficulty breathing or catching his or her breath
- Inability to keep down any liquids
- New confusion or inability to awaken
- Bluish lips
Following proven COVID-19 precautions can lower your child’s chance of becoming infected with the coronavirus.
Indoor activities are riskier than outdoor activities, but risk can be reduced by masking, distancing, hand washing, and improved ventilation.
Hand-washing — along with limiting exposure to people who are (or might be) sick with COVID-19 — is key to keeping your children healthy. Our expert shares how to properly wash hands and make it fun for the whole family.
Children with Medical Conditions
Asthma: Children with asthma may have more severe symptoms from COVID-19 or any other respiratory disease, including the flu. There are no indications that most children with asthma experience severe symptoms due to the coronavirus, but observe them carefully and, if symptoms develop, call the child’s doctor to discuss next steps and to arrange appropriate evaluation as needed. Keep your child’s medications refilled and take extra care to avoid things that set off asthma attacks in your child.
Diabetes: Control of blood sugar is key. Children with well-managed diabetes are not expected to be more susceptible to COVID-19. But poorly controlled diabetes can weaken the immune system, so parents and doctors should watch these children carefully for signs and symptoms that may require evaluation.
What you need to know from Johns Hopkins Medicine.