We’ve been living in a world of Coronavirus for months now and it’s turned me into a neurotic mess. Every time my child sneezes, I tremble that it’s the virus. But should I (or you) be taking our kids for a COVID test every time they get a cold?

One of the side-effects of the pandemic is that parents have been more vigilant at keeping their children home from school at any sign of a cold. This has helped stem the spread of coughs and colds and the whole family has benefitted.

But, especially with the change of season, those pesky snotty noses are bound to stuff things up. But should we be rushing our kids off for a COVID test every time they cough? The test isn’t exactly pleasant so I’d rather not put my kids through it if I don’t have to.

Does My Kid Need A COVID Test?

The department of health has emphasised the importance of the COVID test and has urged people to have a test if even the mildest of symptoms pop up.

“Any cough, fever, sore throat is COVID until proven otherwise. We have an obligation to protect other people,” Dr Sam Hay explained to Kidspot.

“What’s challenging is in reality if anybody has got literally just a mild runny nose and they are completely well – kids who are acting fine, eating, sleeping, not irritable and all you see is a little bit of snot coming out, then that is most likely going to be a common cold,” Dr Hay says.

“Even a serious cold is most likely going to be a common cold, but we all have an obligation at the moment to protect other people from COVID because that’s the most dangerous issue.”

What’s The Risk?

Dr Hay said that families need to take into account their risk factor as well as their location, when considering their decision to get a COVID test.

“If you’re in Victoria and you present with any of those symptoms – even the most mild runny nose – there’s a bloody good chance it’s COVID,” he says.

If you’re in NSW, the risk is still “ridiculously low” and if you’re South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania or Northern Territory, “the risk of that being COVID is so infinitely close to zero.”

Get Another Opinion

While the official message is that you should get the COVID test, Dr Hay says “if you’re right on the mild end of a runny nose and you’re happy to keep your kids home until it’s all settled down, then that’s fine. But you do need to consider our obligations and consider going to get a COVID test”.

“Schools or daycare centres won’t let you back until you’ve had a COVID test and I think that’s pretty reasonable. You should contact your GP and have a conversation with them. Then you can both decide together if you really do need the COVID test or not. But you shouldn’t be making that decision on your own.”

Many parents will not be rushing off their kids to have the uncomfortable swab test.

What Parents Think

One mum wrote on facebook: “I won’t test my kids for a sniffle nose etc we all suffer from hay fever and allergies 99% of the time, if i was so concerned i would just self isolate for 2 weeks.”

Another said: “Kids get on average 8 to 10 colds per year i never rushed the kids to the dr b4 covid unless high fever and really chesty I ain’t doing it now waste of time and besides apparently you can be asystematic and have it so we should all go get tested every day by this theory.”

However, other parents are fully supportive of the need to get the COVID test done on their kids.

“My boys have had it done, brain tickle is what we called it. Not a hard test to have done plus it is better to be safe then sorry…and you don’t want to pass it on to vulnerable people including grandparents,” said one parent.

“Get it done. It’s a small price to pay compared to what others are going through. It’s the way of the world now, we have to. It’s that simple.”

Have you taken your kids for a COVID test? Would you get your kids tested if they got a cold? Tell us in the comments below.

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  • I work with special needs children and many are high risk. I have seen awesome parents that do all they can to protect their children and the others. I ahve also seen parents that dont bother to test their child and send them to school with symptoms which then turns out to be covid and they then infect other children and staff. If your child has symptoms and you are going out in public then please test them. You and your family might not be concerned but for others that are high risk it can be a matte of life and death,


  • I honestly believe people are running scared, and media are making things worse. My families immune systems are well protected with healthy living and exercise. We also take enough Vitamin C to prevent illnesses.
    We need to relax and just enjoy life.


  • Noone in our family has had a Covid test because we have not had symptoms. My son had a cold. We knew it was a cold, and it was.


  • My children haven’t been tested, but they haven’t had symptoms either. I wouldn’t hesitate to test them.


  • I don’t think it’s necessary as the stay at home currently.


  • I know it is in short supply, but surely some good old fashioned ‘common sense’ should be used in this situation. I have been home now for 8 weeks so if I get the sniffles due to the northerly winds which always happens during spring, then I know it can’t be COVID as I haven’t been anywhere.


  • I’m in Tasmania where there are no cases, however my daughter and I recently caught a cold and my work demanded I get the test- not 100% sure what her schools policy is but I got my daughter tested too. It’s ridiculous really. Took 2 days to find out and even when negative my boss wanted me to not be showing symptoms. I ended up having 3 days at home!

    • There do appear to be different rules all over the place.


  • My husband and son have an annual cough, it’s been 15 years for my husband and my boy since birth. My son also usually has a runny nose. They would never leave the clinic if they had to get a test for every cough or sniffle. As we live in WA we have the privilege to not have to panic. If I lived in Victoria however, they probably would get tested to make sure it wasn’t their usual annual cough.


  • One of my kids had a test. For ths most part we ha e stayed home this year, but there was once she got quite sick and we had a sudden surge in community transmission so she got a test. My instincts told me it wasn’t covid but had it done anyway, I suffer from asthma, have a younger kid and elderly MIL. There have been other times when we’ve gotten sick but didn’t get tested as we knew risk of infection was extremely slim


  • Following recommended guidelines when it comes to the management of covid.


  • Wether you get them tested or not is entirely up to you but I believe anyone who is unwell should stay home and isolate as much as they can just to be safe. I would imagine that if someone is suffering even from a regular cold they would be more susceptible to picking up the virus so it is in their best interest to just stay home.

    • Yes I agree we should stay home when unwell. This is of course always a sensible choice but now even more so.


  • No probably not. If they haven’t been near any people who may be at risk or in an area where COVID is rampant. Most parents know the difference when it comes to their children as far as colds or something more sinister goes.


  • I went to the GP with my youngest for his opinion and he advised not to get her tested. Usually we don’t go to the GP with a cold; now we do and also stay quicker home

    • Since there’s actually a lack in test, I think we shouldn’t use it unless seriously indicated. But our GP’s can perfectly advice us in that


  • Always a big worry, I’m keeping my kids home until restrictions ease off


  • I would take mine for the test on the advice of our GP. Not just my decision.


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