This information resource has been compiled to assist healthcare professionals with the management of neonates, infants, and children with suspected or confirmed COVID-19. This information is not intended to replace the recommendations or requirements of your local hospital policies.
This resource refers to the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines.1 Please use the link within this resource to ensure you are accessing the WHO’s most up-to-date advice.
The epidemiological and clinical patterns of COVID-19 remain unclear, particularly among neonates, infants and children.
- In the neonatal population, several studies have found the risk of vertical transmission of COVID-19 at birth is unlikely, and that there is a low risk of babies being infected at birth, even if born to a COVID-19-positive mother.2-5
- In a study of 2,143 pediatric patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19,6 it was found that:
- 94% of pediatric patients were diagnosed as asymptomatic, mild or moderate.
- 5.9% of pediatric patients were diagnosed as severe or critical, compared with 18.5% of adult patients. There was one reported death of a 14-year-old patient in this study.
- Subsequent studies published out of Europe7 and the US8 have supported this early data from China:
- A small percentage of all COVID-19 cases are in children (1.7% in the US data, despite making up 22% of the US population, and 1.2% in the Italian data).
- Few pediatric patients are diagnosed with severe or critical illness, with only 2% admitted to PICU in the US data.
- Only three deaths (< 0.2% of pediatric patients) were reported in the US data, and no deaths were reported in pediatrics in the Italian study.
In most pediatric cases, there is no evidence to suggest therapy decisions should be changed. Care should be driven by the patient’s underlying physiological and clinical presentation in conjunction with current evidence-based respiratory-management strategies.