Key points

  • Symptoms of the virus (fever, coughing and difficulty breathing) are very similar to a range of other illnesses, including the flu. Having these symptoms doesn’t necessarily mean you have COVID-19.
  • Staying at home and good hygiene practices (washing your hands with soap and coughing/sneezing into a tissue or your elbow) are the best defence for you and your family.  
  • Always seek urgent medical care if your child is showing signs of being very unwell or has difficulty breathing. Make sure you call the doctor before you visit to ensure the virus doesn’t spread to other people.
  • Info in NZ Sign Language: If you're deaf or hearing impaired, the Ministry of Health and Deaf Aotearoa have some great videos in NZSL that you might find useful alongside the information on this page. 

Can I travel to access healthcare facilities at Alert Levels 3 & 4?

Yes. You can travel to a healthcare facility, but it is recommended you call the facility before you go, so you know what to do when you get there.

What should I do if my child is feeling unwell and I need medical assistance?

Phone your doctor or PlunketLine on 0800 933 922. Minor health issues can become more serious if ignored. Do not delay seeking help for any health needs at any Alert Level.

If your child or you have a fever, cough or difficulty breathing please telephone Healthline (for free) on 0800 358 5453.

My child's regular immunisation vaccinations are due during Lockdown, should I still go?

It's important to get your wee one's immunisation on time. You can get your tamariki immunised as it falls under essential personal movement. Just make sure that you call the facility before you go, so you know what to do when you get there.

Should I go to the doctor if myself, or my child has COVID-19 symptoms?

If you think that you or your child has COVID-19 or has been exposed, call Healthline (for free) on 0800 358 5453 if you or your child has symptoms. 

I’m a parent/caregiver and I’m feeling really worried about COVID-19

It’s very normal to feel worried, especially in such uncertain times. We recommend staying in touch with friends and family, and trying to stay positive and have fun with your children while we're in lockdown.

Remember that physical distancing doesn't mean stopping your social connection. It just means doing it in different ways - like text or video chat. 

If you are worried about your child, please give Plunket’s lovely registered nurses a call on 0800 933 922.

PlunketLine is a free, 24/7 service and we’re here to support you with kindness and specialist advice you can trust.

What do I do if I have COVID-19 but I'm breastfeeding/formula feeding?

There is currently no clinical evidence to suggest that the virus can be transmitted through breast milk. Infection can be spread to your baby in the same way as to anyone in close contact with you. When a person who has COVID-19 coughs, sneezes or talks, they may spread droplets containing the virus.

The benefits of breastfeeding outweigh any potential risks of transmission of the virus through breast milk or by being in close contact with your child, however, this will be an individual decision and can be discussed with whānau, midwife, well child nurse or family doctor by telephone or email.

If you are breastfeeding or formula feeding, take precautions to limit the potential spread of COVID-19 to your baby by:

  • washing your hands before touching your baby, breast pump or bottles
  • avoiding coughing or sneezing on your baby while feeding at the breast
  • if you do cough or sneezes cover your mouth and nose with tissues or your elbow, put your used tissue in the rubbish bin or in a plastic bag and wash and dry your hands with soap and water or hand sanitiser
  • cleaning any breast pump, bottles, and teats as recommended by the manufacturer after each use
  • consider asking someone who is well to feed your expressed milk or formula to your baby
  • where possible, contact a friend, family member or delivery services to get your baby's formula and feeding equipment from your normal supplier.

If you are feeding with formula, sterilise the equipment carefully before each use. You should not share teats or bottles with someone else.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to a range of other illnesses such as the flu. Having these symptoms does not necessarily mean that your child or you have coronavirus. Symptoms of the virus include:

  • fever
  • cough
  • difficulty breathing.

Difficulty breathing can be a sign of pneumonia. Urgently seek medical attention if your child (PlunketLine is available 24/7 on 0800 933 922) or member of your family is struggling to breathe.

What can I do if we have children and have to self-isolate?

The Ministry of Health has produced this fact sheet for self-solation with children here.

Also check out Plunket's Facebook chats and information for parents here.

Need free support or advice?

Call PlunketLine 24/7 on 0800 933 922