In most cases, COVID-19 may be milder in young children than in adults, but parents and caregivers should understand that children can be infected with the coronavirus, can develop complications requiring hospitalization, and can transmit the virus to others. In some cases, babies infected with the coronavirus can develop a serious lung infection and become very sick with COVID-19, and deaths have occurred. That’s why it is important to use precautions and prevent infection in babies as well as adults.
Babies can get unwell really quickly and they will not be able to communicate. So watch out and immediately go to a doctor if you see the following.
• Baby is under 3 months old and has a temperature of 38C or higher, or you think they have a fever
• Child is 3 to 6 months old and has a temperature of 39C or higher, or you think they have a fever
• Child has other signs of illness, such as a rash, as well as a high temperature (fever)
• Your baby has a high temperature that’s lasted for 5 days or more
• The baby does not want to eat, or is not their usual self and you’re worried
• The infant has a high temperature that does not come down with paracetamol
• The baby is dehydrated – for example, nappies are not very wet, sunken eyes, and no tears when they’re crying
Coronavirus variants, including the very contagious delta variant, continue to spread, particularly in areas with low rates of community COVID-19 vaccination. For children too young to be vaccinated (and adults who have not received coronavirus vaccines) it is important to follow proven COVID-19 precautions such as mask wearing when in public, indoor places to reduce the 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.
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. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most newborns who test positive for the coronavirus have mild symptoms or none at all, and recover, but serious cases have occurred. Pregnant women should take extra precautions, including talking to your doctor about getting a COVID-19 vaccine, to avoid the coronavirus.