Covid and children: Advice for parents

Deputy First Minister John Swinney has warned that numbers of children in hospital are currently “on the high side” compared to previous figures.

It comes after Health Secretary Humza Yousaf announced on Wednesday that ten children under the age of ten were admitted to hospital with Covid last week, around eight per cent of the total number of admissions.

So how worried should parents be?

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The Scottish Government has not been able to give any more information about how numbers of children in hospital during the pandemic have changed.

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However, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) has said it is not concerned about a rise in numbers of children in hospital, and that parents should not be worried.

It is worth noting that some increase in the proportion of younger people affected by Covid-19 is to be expected as they are still unvaccinated while older people have more protection.

Children are also more likely to be hospitalised for other issues now, with lockdowns easing, such as broken bones from more activities, or routine operations which had been postponed. This puts them at risk of catching Covid in hospital, and these cases are also included in reporting figures.

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“Parents shouldn't worry,” said Dr Steve Turner, Registrar at the RCPCH and consultant paediatrician at Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital.

He said: "As it stands there are very few children in hospital in Scotland and across the whole of the UK due to Covid.”

"We're not seeing any evidence of an increase in paediatric admissions with Covid. A very small number of admissions who test positive for Covid is what we'd expect.

"Our experience over the last 15 months is that many children who test positive have come into hospital for something else, like broken bones. At the moment the situation in the UK is stable. The number of children in hospital with Covid remains very low.”

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The main symptoms of Covid in children are the same as in adults – a high temperature, a continuous cough, and a loss of taste or small.

The NHS advises that if your child has any of these symptoms, you should order them a PCR test as soon as possible.

If you are concerned about your child, you should call 111 or 999. NHS advice can be found here.

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