Can You Use a Lateral Flow Test for a 2-Year-Old?

Can You Use a Lateral Flow Test for a 2-Year-Old?

As the winter months roll on, it becomes increasingly difficult to protect our little ones from the various infections, flu, and colds that circulate during this season. The added uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic only adds to the stress, as parents wonder if their child’s runny nose and coughing are just common colds or are COVID-19 symptoms. 

One potential solution for concerned parents is to use a lateral flow test, also known as a rapid antigen test, to check for the presence of COVID-19 at home. However, conducting a COVID test for a 2-year-old can be challenging, as young children are often uncooperative in getting their shots and tests. Additionally, many manufacturers of these tests advise against using them on children under 2 years of age.

So, the question is can you use a lateral flow test for a 2-year-old kid? This article will explore the answer to this concern, tips, and the right method to conduct a COVID-19 test on your young ones. 

When to Test Your 2-Year-Old Child for COVID-19?

A lateral flow test, also known as a rapid antigen test, can be a convenient and effective way to check for COVID-19 in children from the comfort of your own home. It is generally recommended to test a child if they are showing symptoms of COVID-19, such as a fever, cough, shortness of breath, or loss of sense of smell or taste. 

Additionally, testing may be advised if the child has been in close contact with people with symptoms of COVID-19 or has been in an area with high transmission rates.

To test your child, you can use a FlowFlex Antigen Rapid COVID Test. The chance of a false positive is very low if the test result is positive. However, there is a risk of a false negative result if the sample is not large enough or if there is not enough detectable virus present. 

If your child shows symptoms after a negative test, it’s best to quarantine them and retest them the next day. It’s also important to consult a healthcare provider to determine the best course of action and get a proper diagnosis.

Are There Special Tests for This Age Group?

In addition to nasal or throat swab tests, there are also special COVID-19 tests available for children as young as 2 years old. These tests include diagnostic tests, such as rapid antigen testing and PCR testing, which can determine if a child has an active infection. 

Antibody tests are also available, indicating if a child has been infected with the virus in the past. 

However, it’s important to note that testing guidelines and recommendations vary by country or region, so it’s always best to consult a healthcare professional for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

How to Do the Test for a Child Under 2?

At-home COVID tests for children under 2 years old require extra caution, as even a small mistake can lead to inaccurate results. Samples can be collected using a nasal or throat swab or through saliva in a tube.

  • For Antigen Tests: use an over-the-counter test by gently inserting a nasal swab into the child’s nose, rotating it for a few seconds, then placing the swab in the reagent reservoir, swirling it, and applying the liquid mixture to the test strip. The strip will provide digital reading or lines indicating positive or negative results.
  • For Molecular Tests: use a swab-like tool provided in the kit to collect samples, and follow the instructions for stabilising the sample and shipping it back to the lab. Some molecular tests may also use a smartphone app to provide results. It’s important to seek the help of a paediatrician or other experienced healthcare professional when collecting samples from young children.

Tips to Make COVID Testing for Babies Easier 

COVID testing for a 2-year-old can be difficult for parents. Still, there are a few tips to make the process go more smoothly:

Prepare the child: Explain the testing process to the child in simple, age-appropriate language and make it as non-invasive as possible. Reassure them that it is safe and won’t hurt.

Explain how they will feel: Be calm and composed while explaining the process to the child. Let them know that they may feel a bit strange, but assure them that you will be there with them throughout the process.

Gather materials: Ensure you have all the necessary materials for the specific test, such as clean cotton or a flocked swab. Get the FlowFlex COVID Self Test to get a hassle-free test at home anytime. 

Test them playfully: Play games and make the process fun by having them stick out their tongue or say “ahh” loudly, then show them the swab stick and have them keep saying “ahh” while you swab their tonsils.

Take the help of another adult: To perform a COVID test for a 1-year-old or a 2-year-old child, consider having another adult hold the child on their lap to make it easier to perform the test. Decide beforehand who will comfort the child and who will perform the test.

Perform the test on yourself first: To show the child that the process is safe and painless, perform the test on yourself first. This will also help them understand what is happening.


Getting a positive test result for a child can be a stressful and overwhelming experience for any parent, but it’s important to remain calm. One step you can take is to get a second rapid test to confirm the results. If both the rapid tests and a PCR test from a doctor come back positive, it is confirmed that your child has contracted the COVID-19 virus.

Following the guidelines set by the CDC for quarantine and isolation is crucial. Keep your child at home, make sure they stay hydrated and monitor their symptoms. It’s essential to keep your child away from unimmunised individuals, those at high risk, and other children for the duration of the quarantine period. 

Additionally, you can also consult with your doctor and have them guide you through the necessary steps to ensure the best possible outcome for your child.

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