RCPCH comments on reports of increased admissions of under 5s in hospital with COVID-19

In response to reports of increased admissions of under-fives in hospital with COVID-19, RCPCH comments:

Children’s wards are experiencing a busy winter, as is usual for this time of year. As expected, this means paediatricians are seeing lots of babies and young children with fever and respiratory conditions.

We know that Omicron is much more transmissible than previous COVID-19 variants and results in a higher rate across the community. It is therefore to be expected that there will be more children and young people testing positive for COVID-19. It is important to note that paediatricians are not reporting Omicron to be a more serious or severe disease in children and young people in the UK. We are also reassured to hear that very few children and young people admitted to hospital with Omicron are needing paediatric intensive care. While this is reassuring, we cannot be complacent and will monitor the situation.

Parents and carers will understandably be anxious if their child falls ill, and it can be confusing to know what to do if your child is ill during the pandemic. Importantly, the NHS is open and continues to provide safe care for children and young using national guidance. We encourage families to follow the advice on nhs.uk if their child has a fever or to contact 111 or their GP.

Notes to editors