Many families are seeking convenient testing services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Parents may receive an email notifying them that their child has been exposed to someone infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, or a child may show symptoms of COVID-19, which may be especially concerning if their child is not vaccinated. Given these factors, it is not a surprise that more than one-fifth of our patients are minors.
Curative interviewed and observed patients and field staff, parents, and caregivers. We discovered that parents encounter unique challenges when bringing their child to test for COVID-19, including trying to swab their squirming child. Youth, too, may be worried about this process. Our goal is to make the process as convenient and comfortable for all patients as possible. If you have any concerns about testing, please turn to your child’s pediatrician. To assist, we’ve put together some considerations as you prepare to take your child to a COVID-19 test.*
Prepare Your Child in Advance
- Talk to your child about what they can expect, perhaps showing pictures or a video of how it will go. Below are some links to independent third-party sites that you may find helpful.**
- Give your child a “job” to do while being tested, like unwrapping a treat
- Distract them by showing a video on your phone, invite them to sing a song, or tell a story or joke. Distractions could help take away the confusion a child may feel while testing
- Coach your child during the swab: take belly breathes with them, count to twenty
- Model the testing for them in advance showing that there’s nothing to be afraid of
How to Test Your Child
- Hold your child in an unconstrained position, perhaps holding their hands
- Handle the swab gently so that in case the child squirms, the swab will not jab them
- Talk them through the process while you do it, explaining what you are doing: “I am going to tickle their nose and it might feel funny!” or “I am going to dig for boogers in your nose!”
- Make sure to swab both nostrils for the indicated amount of time — it may be challenging, but it’s important to get enough of a sample for tests to be accurate!
- Afterward: Tell the child how well they did!
We at Curative want to help parents and children experience the best test process possible. Coming soon: we will be offering stickers to children who test with Curative! Here’s a preview below!
Parent resources to read:
Videos for the child to watch to prepare in advance of a COVID test
*This is not medical advice, and you should talk to your child’s doctor if you have any concerns or would like medical direction.
**Curative has no control over these independent, third-party sites, and provides them here as a courtesy only.