COVID-19 in children

At the Childcare Seminar for Foreign Parents, Dr. Kawamata, a pediatrician of Kin-ikyo Hospital in Sapporo, talked about vaccinations and common diseases among infants on November 14, 2020.  One of topics was “COVID-19 in children”.


    • COVID-19 in children

What we know about COVID-19?

  • Children of any age can get COVID-19.
  • Incidence of child-to-child infection is lower than adult-to-child.
  • Symptoms are less severe in children than in adults.
  • Multisystem inflammatory syndrome* in children is rare but is one of the serious conditions associated with COVID-19. (One case has been reported in Japan.)
  • Regarding direct breastfeeding when the breastfeeding mother has or is at risk for COVID-19;
    • There are no reported cases of babies getting COVID-19 via breast milk, therefore mothers can directory breastfeed their baby after washing their hands and wearing a mask.


*Note: Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) is a condition where different body parts can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, intestine and so on.

Symptoms of COVID-19 in children


According to a systematic review of 7480 children <18 years of age with COVID-19.:

   Asymptomatic (15%), Mild (42%), Moderate (39%), Severe (2%), Critical (0.7%) and Death (0.08%)


      • Fever, cough, shortness of breath, headache, sore throat, diarrhea, myalgia, nausea/vomiting, abdominal pain, rhinorrhea (runny nose) and loss of smell or taste.
      • Loss of smell or taste is one of infamous symptoms of COVID-19. Incidence varies by age (1% in 0-9 years and 10% in 10 -19 years).

    Precautions at the Pediatric Outpatient Department during COVID-19

      • People aged 2 years or older who come to the clinic/hospital are required to wear a mask.
      • Hand sanitizer is located in various places.
      • There are many vinyl/ plastic partitions at the reception.
      • In the Pediatric Department, toys and books were removed so that they cannot be shared.
      • There are fewer benches/chairs, which are placed more widely apart in the waiting room to maintain physical distancing.
      • Doctors and nurses will be wearing PPE (personal protection equipment)
        • Eye guard, face shield, surgical mask, plastic apron, plastic gown, etc.

                                         – It may feel overwhelming.


    Because of these measures to prevent COVID-19, there have been no large outbreaks of any other childhood infectious disease this year.

However, this doesn’t mean that common infectious pathogens have disappeared forever.

As the number of children who have not built-up immunity to common infectious diseases will increase, these infectious diseases will eventually spread among children.

Therefore, it is important that children have their recommended vaccines without delay.


    Infectious Diseases in Children

All children get infections, but younger children are the most likely to get them.

After starting to attend day care centers, almost all children frequently get infections such as common cold in the first year.

To prevent severe infectious disease

  • Vaccination is important.
  • As is personal hygiene:  Hand washing, not putting things in their mouths, etc.

Information is subject to change. Please obtain up-to-date information.

Dr. Nobuko Kawamata on November 14, 2020