Looking after a sick child at home

If your child is sick or injured

1. Always call Triple Zero (000) if your child needs urgent medical care
2. COVID symptoms – get them tested
3. Mild symptoms, like cough and runny nose - rest and care at home
4. Contact your GP or paediatrician if you’re worried or your child isn’t getting better
5. If you don’t know what to do, or need access to a list of local GPs visit the Healthdirect website or call 1800 022 222 for 24/7 advice

Moderately unwell children

Test your child for COVID-19 if your child has mild symptoms including:

  • a slight fever
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • runny nose
  • stomach ache
  • constipation
  • vomiting and/or diarrhoea

Keep your child comfortable at home with paracetamol or ibuprofen, plenty of fluids and rest.

Children with worsening symptoms

If your child isn’t getting better or you’re concerned:

  • Contact your GP or paediatrician - in person or virtually. They know your child best.
  • If your regular GP is unavailable, you can use Healthdirect’s health service finder to find the nearest GP service open now.
  • You can also call Healthdirect 24/7 on 1800 022 222 to get trusted, expert advice from a nurse over the phone. It’s free, quick and easy.

If you’re still worried, visit your local emergency department.

Please be patient with staff. The sickest people are seen first, so you may need to wait.

Severely unwell children

If your child is severely unwell, with symptoms like difficulty breathing, call 000 immediately.

See the Signs of serious illness in children factsheet

Last updated Monday 22nd January 2024