Testing children for coronavirus

As of 8 February 2021 the rules on coronavirus testing for children aged 4 to 12 have changed. Primary school pupils who have symptoms of coronavirus must stay home and get tested. It does not matter whether their symptoms are mild or severe. 

Is your child very sick? Call your doctor

If your child is very sick, contact your family doctor.

Children under 4

Children younger than 4 can go to daycare if they have a mild cold. If your child coughs a lot, is short of breath, has a fever or other more severe symptoms, you should keep the child at home. Children under 4 can be tested for coronavirus. You should always keep your child at home and arrange a test if:

  • your child’s symptoms are severe. This includes frequent coughing, shortness of breath and fever;
  • your child is very sick. Ask your family doctor if your child should be tested;
  • your child has been in close contact with someone who has coronavirus;
  • your child has coronavirus symptoms and has been in contact with someone who has coronavirus;
  • the municipal health service (GGD) advises you to get your child tested as part of an outbreak investigation.

If your child has severe symptoms but you do not want to get your child tested, keep your child at home. If your child has a fever or shortness of breath, everyone who lives at the same address should also stay at home. If your child has had no symptoms at all for 24 hours, they may go to daycare again and other members of your household can end their self-quarantine.

If the symptoms persist, you must keep your child at home for 7 days before they may go to daycare again. If the symptoms haven’t gone away after 7 days, your child may go back to daycare.

Primary school pupils (aged 4 to 12)

Children who go to primary school must stay at home and get tested if they have coronavirus symptoms. It doesn’t matter if the child’s symptoms are those of a mild cold (runny nose, sneezing, sore throat) or more severe (frequent coughing, fever, shortness of breath).

Children who only cough occasionally and children who have asthma, hay fever or a chronic respiratory disease do not need to be tested as long as they have no other symptoms. If your child has a fever or shortness of breath, everyone who lives at the same address should also stay at home.

If you do not want to get your child tested, they may not go back to school until they have had no symptoms at all for 24 hours. Other members of your household can also end their self-quarantine after that time. If mild symptoms persist, you must keep your child at home for 7 days before they may go to school again. If mild symptoms haven’t gone away after 7 days, your child may go back to school.

Children older than 4 must also stay home and get tested if they had close contact with someone who has coronavirus.

Secondary school pupils

The rules are unchanged for secondary school pupils and teenagers aged 13 and over. If they have symptoms they must stay home and get tested. They must also stay home and get tested if they have been in contact with someone who has coronavirus.

Making an appointment for a child to get tested

A child’s parent or carer should call 0800 1202 to make an appointment. 

  • Children aged 12 and older must get on the phone to give their consent for the test. 
  • Teenagers who are 16 or 17 can call to make an appointment themselves. 
  • In most cases, people aged 18 and older must call to make an appointment themselves.

If your child has a DigiD username and password, you can make an appointment online.

If your child has been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, the GGD will tell you how you can make an appointment.

They can also tell you more about how young children are tested in your region.

Keep your child at home until you receive the test results. For more information, read about quarantining rules for families with children.

Back to school after having had coronavirus

If your child has had coronavirus and symptoms reappear within 8 weeks, your child does not have to be tested again. Reinfection is rare, so there’s little benefit to retesting within the first 8 weeks after infection. That’s why children may still go to school if they get symptoms anytime within 8 weeks of having had the virus. If you want your child to get tested anyway, contact the municipal health service (GGD) to see if that’s possible.

Information about children and coronavirus

For more information on children and coronavirus, go to the website of the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM).