The Parent’s Guide To ART Self-Tests for Children



Often referred to as ART test kits, Antigen Rapid Test (ART), self-test kits can be found in many retail pharmacies in Singapore. It is a game changer in Singapore’s efforts to stop the spread of the disease.

These kits are suitable for both adults and children as early as 3 years old. They can be used to screen for possible COVID-19 infection so that people can quickly isolate themselves from it before they seek treatment. Although there are many brands on the market, they all have an approximate 80% accuracy rate in screening for the SARS CoV-2 virus.

These self-tests usually take around 20 minutes to complete. The instructions are easy to follow (with practice) and can be done at your convenience.

Parents with young children will find it especially useful to be able conduct these tests in familiar surroundings. Younger children might view them with fear or disdain, so it is particularly helpful to have someone with whom you can share the test. Even though it is simple and straightforward, no one, particularly young children, will appreciate a swab sticking up their nostrils.

Here are some tips and tricks to make it easier for parents to handle the stress and agony of administering such tests.

What should an ART self-test look like on a child?

First, it is important that you note that ART self-test kits for children between 3 and 14 years old should be administered by an adult.

Follow these steps if you are helping a child under 14 to do an ART self test.

  • Step 1: Follow the instructions.

You can read the instructions on the ART self test kit. Take a look at the process and take note of the order of the steps. Important to note that instructions and requirements may vary from one brand of test kit to another.

  • Step 2: Start a conversation

Your child should be calm and confident when explaining the steps involved in conducting the test. You can take your time explaining to your child. If your child is old enough, you can also address any questions they may have about the test or the reasons it is required.

  • Step 3: Examine your environment

Make sure that the ART self test is done in a well-ventilated area, such as a room with windows. You will need a stable surface on which to lay the items in the ART self test kit.

  • Step 4: Cleanliness

After you have both settled in the room with your child, clean the surface and wash your hands before you begin the test. Then, place the contents of the kit on the flat surface.

  • Step 5: Take a snuff sample

This step is the most difficult. Gently place a swab in one nostril of your child and gently rotate it for at least five times. Gently take the swab out of the nose.

Notice: For younger children, it is best to place the swab approximately 2cm inside the nostril. The swab should only be used until there is resistance. This step may be easier for older children.

  • Step 6: Dip a swab in the vial

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to prepare the liquid and transfer the mixture onto the cartridge. Check the instructions regarding the waiting period and be patient before you check the results. You should keep the cartridge flat on a surface. Any disturbances could affect the accuracy of your result.

  • Step 7: Check the results

Follow the instructions on the test kit to review your results. Take a photo of your results and attach your identification. You can also note the date and times if you need it to be verified. If you find an invalid result, it is possible that the test was not done correctly and you will need to repeat the test using a different kit.

  • Step 8: Clean up

After you have completed the test, make sure that you properly dispose off all test materials. They should be thrown away immediately. Don’t forget disinfecting the surfaces you have used.

How can I prepare my child to take the test?

There are steps you as a caregiver or parent can take to reduce anxiety and fear in your child. Your child will be more comfortable taking the test if he or she is prepared. How can you prepare your child for the ART test?

  • Before the test

You could test your child yourself if they feel uncomfortable or scared. Young children may require another adult to help them relax while you take the sample.

A coping plan can help you get through the difficult times. You could, for example, play your child’s favorite song and allow them screen time during the test. Or, get them to hold their favorite toy.

  • During the test

Your child should be reminded to remain as still as possible during the test. This is a good time for you to create a coping plan to distract your child’s attention from the test.

During the test, be calm and confident. Do not panic if your child pushes you or becomes anxious. You can either give your child some time or stop the test altogether.

  • After the test

Your child should be praised for being a great sportsman! Perhaps you could reward your child for passing the test.

What time should I conduct the test

If your child has been exposed to someone who is suspected or tested positive, it is important that they get tested within 3 – 5 business days of coming into contact with them. If your child has symptoms such as fatigue, fever, or cough, you should consider having the test done.

What should you do if the self-test for ART is failing?

  • If your child is not at risk, the ART self-test shouldn’t be done.
  • In the past 48 hours, I had a nosebleed
  • Recent facial injury
  • A bleeding disorder has been diagnosed

Have you had a recent nasal or facial procedure?

It is important to be aware of any body language your child uses when testing for COVID-19 at-home. If your child is injured during the test, it’s important to immediately take them to an Accident & Emergency Department at the hospital.

It can help your child to remain calm and conduct a successful ART self-test by preparing you and your child. Our medical professionals are always available to assist you if you have any questions or are unsure about the COVID-19 test.

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