Pediatrician: No reason to limit use of at-home COVID-19 tests to children age 2+

Starting later this month, free at-home COVID-19 tests should start showing up on millions of Americans’ doorsteps.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Starting later this month, free at-home COVID-19 tests should start showing up on millions of Americans’ doorsteps.

Many tests say they’re not intended to be used on children age 2 and younger. But News4JAX spoke with a pediatrician who says that doesn’t mean they’re not safe.

Pediatrician Dr. Bethany Atkins says there’s a reason at-home tests are only recommended for children age 2 and older.

“A lot of times, limitations are placed on what the device manufacturer has gotten approval to do, as opposed to whether they can be effective,” Atkins said.

That is why, as households start getting a supply of at-home tests, Atkins recommends there’s no reason to limit the use to just those age 2 and older.

“Everybody in our office says if you have them and you think your child under 2 has coronavirus, please test them at home,” Atkins said.

But Atkins adds that obviously if the swab is too big for the child’s nose, then those are cases not to use them.

That begs the question: How do you make sure you’re not hurting your child and that you’re not putting the swab too far up their nose?

“It can be very scary, and most children don’t like it, so they’re not going to be sitting and calmly letting them put this swab up their nose. It really only needs to go about a quarter- to a half-inch,” Atkins said.

As for the accuracy of these tests on children, Atkins says that if a child has symptoms and it comes back negative, you may want to get a PCR to be absolutely certain, but if it comes back positive, parents should likely trust it.


About the Author:

Lauren Verno anchors the 9 a.m. hour of The Morning Show and is the consumer investigative reporter weekday afternoons.