How to Do a Lateral Flow Test on a Child?

How to Do a Lateral Flow Test on a Child?

If your child has Covid-19 symptoms such as a high temperature, a continuous cough or a loss of sense of taste or smell, they may need to get tested. Other reasons why a child might need to take a Covid-19 test include if they have been exposed to someone infected with the virus, they need to take the test before travelling or if their school or GP requires it.

One of the Covid-19 tests you can use on your child is the lateral flow test. There is no minimum age for a lateral flow test as the test is suitable for use for all ages. This test is also suitable for children as it can be done at home, and it also gives results in minutes. Besides, college students or children in secondary schools who are aged 12 years and above can use the test without the help of an adult. In this article, we give you guidelines on how to do a lateral flow test on a child.

Signs You Should Carry out a Covid Test on Your Child

Children, just like adults, can get infected with Covid-19. The good news is that the infection among children is often mild, and most kids recover from the virus in a few days. However, if your little one is showing Covid-19 symptoms, they should stay at home and avoid contact with other people. Also, they should get tested as soon as possible.

Notably, Covid-19 may exhibit similar symptoms as those of other respiratory infections such as influenza and respiratory syncytial virus. So, even as you test your young one for Covid-19, you may also want to test them for other respiratory infections.

Let’s now look at signs that may prompt you to test your child for the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

  • Fever and chills
  • Continuous cough that lasts more than an hour or a cough that has three or more episodes within 24 hours
  • New loss of sense of smell or taste
  • Headache
  • Body and muscle ache
  • Shortness of breath
  • A runny, blocked nose
  • Sore throat
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Tiredness
  • Diarrhea, vomiting or nausea
  • Feeling sick.

Tips to Prepare Your Child for Doing a Lateral Flow Test

Although the procedure for doing a Covid-19 test on children is the same as for adults, lateral flow testing for children can be challenging. This is because the procedure is a bit intrusive as it involves taking a swab of the nose or the back of your child’s throat.

Notably, experts advise that the key to taking a correct LFT is to have your child stay as still as possible. So, here are tips that can help put your child at ease before a lateral flow test

    1. 1. Talk to your child about the test. Ensure you’re calm and confident as you go through the process.
    2. 2. Answer your child’s questions as honestly as you can. Some questions that children ask before the test include: does a Covid test hurt, will the test make me feel better, will the test make me cry.
    3. 3. Practice doing the Covid-19 test on your child first without the testing materials.
    4. 4. Have your child hold their favorite toy and play some music or a game to help calm them down before the test.
    5. 5, Practice with them how to slow down their breathing, open their mouth wide, and stick out their tongue before the test.

Steps to Test Your Child for Covid with a Lateral Flow

When taking a lateral flow test on a child, it’s important to follow instructions carefully to ensure the test is done correctly. A lateral flow test involves taking a swab on your child’s nose or the back of their throat. If there is another adult with you in your home, you can ask them to hold your child’s hand or have your child sit on their lap during the swabbing.

Here are the steps you should follow when taking the lateral flow test:

  1. 1. Wash your hands and those of your child before taking the test.
  2. 2. Explain to your child what you’re going to do before swabbing their nose or throat.
  3. 3. For the nasal swab, ask your child to tilt their head and use the cotton-tipped nasal swab stick to swab each nostril in turn. Insert the swab into the nostril and rotate it for about three seconds so that it touches the nostril walls. Repeat this process in the other nostril.
  4. 4, To take a throat sample, have your child tilt their head back, tell them to stick out their tongue and open their mouth wide. Gently rub the swab over their tonsils and the back of their throat for about ten seconds.
  5. 5. Put the swab inside the tube and close the top of the tube firmly.
  6. 6. Read the instructions on the kit on how to package and dispatch the test kit.
  7. 7. Thank your child for their help and for being brave during the Covid-19 test.


In closing, children who have Covid-19 symptoms should get tested. Testing helps determine if your child has an active infection, and it also helps stop the spread of the virus. Hopefully, after reading this article, you now know how to do a rapid antigen test on your child. 

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