COVID-19 information

We understand this is a worrying time for children and their families, especially those with a health condition. Here is some information about coronavirus (COVID-19) and coming to our hospitals.

Image courtesy of Fusion Medical Animation

For the most up-to-date information visit the dedicated NSW Health coronavirus information page or see the NSW Health resources.

Updated 15 October 2021

A message from the Chief Executive

Hello everyone,

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has been challenging for all of us, and we understand that it can be an especially anxious time for patients with long-term health conditions and their families. The situation is changing rapidly and there is a lot of information to take in. This page aims to answer some of your questions about coming to our hospitals and the care we are providing for patients.

The health and safety of patients is our absolute priority. In response to COVID-19, we have made some important changes to ensure no one is placed at risk when coming to our facilities. Changes are regularly updated on this web page. You can read my letter to patients and families for more information.

If you have any specific concerns about your child's medical condition, please reach out directly to your child’s health care team.

Please stay safe and remember to get tested even with the mildest of symptoms.

Cathryn

Cathryn Cox
Chief Executive, Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network

Visitor guidelines 

Updated 15 October 2021

Visitor restrictions have now eased across all NSW Health facilities.

In most inpatient areas:

  • Two fully vaccinated people over the age of 12 years can visit a patient per day. Proof of vaccination must be shown upon entry.

    • This includes at least one parent/carer.
    • If you are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated and are the only person who can accompany your child, you are permitted to enter but must restrict your movement within the hospital. A second person cannot visit with you.
    • Unfortunately, siblings under 12 years are unable to visit. Siblings of long stay patients (more than nine days in hospital) are welcome to visit, at a time pre-arranged with the ward’s nurse leader.   

Due to space limitations and the need to maintain physical distancing, one fully vaccinated parent/carer can accompany a patient in the below areas*:

  • Emergency Department
  • Outpatients Department
  • Ward C2 North, Short Stay, Surgical Unit, Recovery, Medical Day Unit and COVID wards (Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick)
  • Middleton Day Surgery Ward, Recovery, Turner Ward, CHW Radiology and COVID wards (The Children’s Hospital at Westmead)

*If you are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated and are the only person who can accompany your child, you are permitted to enter but must restrict your movement within the hospital.

Keeping families connected is important to us. Although siblings are unable to physically visit these areas, we encourage virtual visits using platforms like Facetime or WhatsApp. If you need access to a tablet for video conferencing, please speak to a member of your child’s health care team.

Additional mask advice

  • Children aged 12 years and under do not need to wear a mask.
  • To protect our staff and other families and patients, mask exemption letters will not be accepted and entry to our facilities will not be possible.
  • Please bring your own mask if possible. A cloth or surgical mask is sufficient. If you don't have a mask, we will provide one for you.
  • Masks do not need to be worn when eating, drinking or sleeping.
  • Face mask wearing guidelines are available on the NSW Government website.
  • Please avoid congregating in large groups, particularly if physical distancing cannot be maintained.

Full Conditions of Entry

In line with public health orders and hospital guidelines:

  • In most areas, two fully vaccinated people over the age of 12 years can accompany a patient per day. Proof of vaccination must be shown upon entry.
  • Face masks must be worn at all times (if over 12 years of age)
  • Do not enter our hospital if you are a close contact of a COVID-19 case
  • Please advise staff if you have visited a COVID-19 case location
  • All visitors must check in using our QR code
  • Filming, photography or audio recordings of others is not permitted
  • Please check the NSW COVID-19 case location webpage before visiting and follow the public health advice.

 

Check-in and screening process

To help keep track of visitors to our hospitals, you will need to check-in via a QR code system. You will also need to show proof of vaccination.

Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick

  • Check-in via a QR code available upon entry.

The Children’s Hospital at Westmead

There are two ways to complete your health screening:

  • scan the QR code on display at the hospital entrances, or
  • use our e-Gate App. It allows you to complete a one-off registration before coming to the hospital to save time.

e-Gate resources

COVID-19 testing clinics for children

Sydney Children's Hospital, Randwick (SCH)

The Hospital's testing clinic has merged with Prince of Wales Hospital

  • OPEN: Open 9am-8pm 7 days 
  • LOCATION: Prince of Wales Hospital, Avoca Street Randwick, NSW, 2031
  • PARKING: Street parking or the Randwick Hospitals Campus carpark (off Barker Street). Please do not access the clinic by walking through the main hospital building. Follow the signs to access the clinic

Please note, the COVID-19 testing clinic:

  • Do not offer medical review. Any child who requires a medical review will need to either visit their GP or local Emergency Department
  • Do not provide COVID-19 testing/blood tests for travel purposes.

The Children's Hospital at Westmead (CHW)

The COVID-19 Clinic at The Children's Hospital at Westmead is currently closed. Please visit the NSW Health website to find your closest COVID-19 Clinic

General criteria

You do not need to have travelled overseas or been in contact with someone who has coronavirus.
Contact your doctor (GP) or a COVID-19 Testing Clinic, or call 1800 020 080 (24 hours a day/7 days a week).

Tips for getting kids tested

Sometimes children can be anxious about having medical tests, especially if they are not feeling well. This video will answer lots of their questions and hopefully makes your job as parent or carer, a little easier.

Your child may go through a range of emotions after having a COVID-19 test, which may leave you wondering - what do I do now?

COVID-19 Vaccination

Vaccination is our best protection against COVID-19.

Vaccination bookings for eligible 12-15 year olds 

People aged 12 – 15 from eligible groups (Aboriginal, rural and specified medical conditions) can now book a vaccination appointment through a general practitioner or a NSW Health vaccination centre. 

At NSW Health vaccination centres all people under 16 require parental consent and a parent or guardian to accompany them to the appointment. An online solution for consent is in development.

Information on where to get vaccinated in NSW can be found: Where and how to get your COVID-19 vaccination in NSW | NSW Government

Read for more information on the ATAGI recommendations for children aged 12-15.

Vaccination bookings for eligible children over 16 years of age

As part of the Australian Government’s COVID-19 vaccination roll out, adolescents over the age of 16 years with specified underlying medical conditions are eligible for COVID-19 vaccination. If your child is 16 years or older and receives care at SCHN, please contact your child’s health care team. To register for an appointment, members of the public should use the Australian Government’s COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility Checker.

Clinics at Westmead and Randwick

AstraZeneca clinics at Randwick and Westmead - open to the general public (60 years of age and over)

AstraZeneca vaccination clinics located at Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick and The Children’s Hospital at Westmead are now open to members of the general public. Sydney Children's Hospital, Randwick also offers Pfizer vaccination.

Booking is only available via the Australian Government’s COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility Checker.

If you have any questions about vaccination please don’t hesitate to contact you GP or health care provider

Watch our leading vaccination experts answer Frequently Asked Questions on children and vaccination.

We encourage you to read more about COVID-19 vaccination, including eligibility details, by visiting the Australian Government website.

You can also read frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccine on the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance website.

Vaccination videos

Your child's health can't wait

Don't delay, visit when you need us

How COVID-19 affects children

The risk to children and babies, and the role children play in transmitting COVID-19, is still being researched. Children can develop COVID-19, but evidence suggests they do not get as sick as adults, especially elderly adults.

The rate of confirmed COVID-19 cases among children, compared to the broader population, has so far been low. Very few children develop severe symptoms with COVID-19 and the vast majority globally have recovered without needing medical support.

The National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS) has carried out research to understand the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) in NSW schools, and the findings show that the COVID-19 transmission rates  within NSW schools has been very limited. Read about the study on the rate of COVID-19 transmission in NSW educational settings.

Evidence suggests that coronavirus infection in children is very uncommon and severe disease is rare, with a majority of COVID-19 infections occurring in adults. Infectious diseases experts at The Children's Hospital at Westmead are conducting research to better understand why this is the case by analysing the human immune response amongst children and adults. Read more about this research.

There have been reports from overseas of a link between COVID-19 in children and Kawasaki disease, a condition which has been named Paediatric Inflammatory Multisystem Syndrome Temporally associated with SARS-COV-2 (PIMS‑TS). The overall risk for any severe COVID-19 outcomes in children in Australia is extremely low. The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) has released a statement about the condition - read the statement here.

What to do if your child starts showing symptoms

The Australian Government's Department of Health website has information about symptoms.

If your child develops an unexplained fever, a cough, sore throat or shortness of breath, isolate them and seek medical attention.

Options for medical attention for children showing mild symptoms:

Options for medical attention if your child is very unwell:

  • Take them to the nearest Emergency Department
  • Call 000

On arrival to any facility, you will be asked a series of questions and may be asked to wear a mask.

If you are unsure if your child should be tested for COVID-19 please call Healthdirect on 1800 022 222.

Advice for chronically-ill and immunocompromised patients

As a parent of a chronically-ill or immunocompromised child, it can be hard to know what to do amidst the COVID-19 pandemic where the situation and information is constantly evolving. Children with chronic health conditions can be more susceptible to infections, although it is not clear if this is the case with coronavirus (COVID-19). 

The current available evidence shows that infection with COVID-19 is milder in children than in adults. However, having a weakened immune system may make it harder for the body to fight infections such as this virus. Children who are chronically-ill or immunocompromised should take extra precautions to protect themselves where possible. For specific advice about your child's condition, please consult your treating team.

Updated advice for paediatric oncology and BMT patients during the COVID-19 pandemic can be found on the Australian & New Zealand Children's Haematology/Oncology Group website.

Advice for families with booked appointments

If you are unwell or have visited a COVID-19 Case Location, please call ahead to discuss your options.

If you have a telehealth appointment, there is a lot of useful information for patients and families about preparing for your virtual appointment on the Agency for Clinical Innovation website:

Preventing the spread of COVID-19

The best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and stay safe during this time is to:

  • Wash your hands often - with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser if soap and water are not available.
  • Try to avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are known to be unwell.
  • Cough/sneeze into your elbow or a tissue, then throw the tissue in a bin.
  • Practice physical distancing - keep a distance of at least 1.5m between you and other people
  • Self isolate as much as possible and stay home from work or school if you are sick

Visit the NSW Health website for more information about how to protect yourself and others.

Information for people who have a COVID-19 infection

Please see the NSW Health fact sheet for confirmed COVID‑19 cases (people who have a COVID-19 infection).

COVID-19 and caring for your baby

For information about caring for an infant if you suspect you have COVID-19 or have received a positive COVID-19 test, including advice on breastfeeding and vaccinations, please see the guidance for parents and carers on the NSW Health website.

School and your child's health

Research to date is clear: the spread of COVID-19 within NSW schools has been very limited. Read more about research findings on COVID-19 transmission in schools.

There are lots of resources available which provide updated information about school/childcare and COVID-19:

Finding reliable information about COVID-19

To keep you and your family safe, it's important to refer to reliable sources of information. 

Wellbeing resources for children and families

Infectious diseases outbreaks like coronavirus (COVID-19) can cause a great deal of anxiety in the community. It is understandable to feel worried about the COVID-19 pandemic, especially if your child has a pre-existing health condition.

Feelings of unease are normal in this situation and for many families, this will be compounded by concerns for loved ones, social isolation and financial hardship.

Here are some resources for helping your children during the COVID-19 pandemic:

Translated resources

Translated resources are available on the NSW Health website.