Confused with all the different Covid-19 tests in Singapore? We've put together this guide full of helpful hints and tips when it comes to ART and PCR tests for kids in Singapore...
Looking forward to travelling again, but the thought of taking your three-year old for a PCR test is putting you off? We hear you! Or maybe you’re yet to give an ART test to your little one and don’t know where to start? Read on, mums and dads. Here’s everything you need to know about ART and PCR tests in Singapore for kids, plus some handy hints and tricks on how to keep the little ones calm.
ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW: PCR AND ART TESTS FOR KIDS IN SINGAPORE
ART vs PCR tests – what’s the difference?
First up, the basics. What exactly are the differences between the two tests? While they both test for Covid-19, they do so in different ways. The Antigen Rapid Test (ART) uses a shallow swab method, meaning it’s generally a bit more comfortable to administer than a Polymerase Chain Reaction test (PCR). It’s also suitable for at-home self-testing, with results available within 15 minutes. The PCR test is administered by a professional and takes up to 24 hours for the results, swabbing the nose a little deeper compared to the ART test. However, PCRs are regarded as more accurate, with the ability to detect both past and present infections.
When are PCR tests used in Singapore versus ART self-tests?
The ART test is now the default for testing in Singapore, which is good news, given that it’s more comfortable and can be easily administered without the need to go to a clinic. The Ministry of Health (MOH) announced in early October 2021 that ART would be the test of choice for anyone who has symptoms but is well, alongside community testing, and for testing those who have come into contact with Covid-19 cases. PCR tests in Singapore are now reserved mainly for people who are unwell and have Covid-19 symptoms, as well as those looking to go abroad (pre-departure and pre-arrival tests).
At what age can my child be given a PCR or ART self-test in Singapore?
MOH has stated that children aged three and below are not required to perform an ART self-test. This differs for PCR tests for travel – the guidelines exempt those aged two and under.
Where do I get an ART test from in Singapore?
Back in August, six free tests were provided to all households in Singapore and three tests per pupil at preschools and primary schools. The government recently announced that they would be distributing another ten kits to each household from 22 October onwards. You can also buy ART self-test kits from pharmacies and supermarkets. See this guide for the full list.
Where do I take my child for a PCR test in Singapore?
You can use this website for a list of Swab and Send Home (SASH) clinics that administer the PCR tests. There are also dedicated paediatric clinics that administer PCR tests for kids under 12, which your doctor might refer you to.
TOP TIPS FOR ART AND PCR TESTS WITH KIDS IN SINGAPORE
1. Talk about it first
It’s totally normal for kids to be apprehensive (let’s be honest, we are too!), so don’t rush the process, especially with younger kids. Make sure you plan to give the test when you have time, not five minutes before you need to leave the house. Explain the process in simple terms, and use phrases that your kids are familiar with. Lots of parents use the concept of tickling to explain it – “I’m just going to tickle your nose for a few seconds”. If it’s for a PCR test in Singapore, you might want to prep your child for the PPE kit too. We know our kids won’t bat an eye at a mask these days, but full-scale PPE is quite different and can look a little scary. Check out this list of resources for more advice on how to help explain Covid-19 to kids.
2. Role play the test with a toy
What kid doesn’t love playing doctors? Role-play what you’re going to do with a cotton bud in advance on a favourite toy or doll. Then, get your child to give it a go, so they can visualise what’s going to happen.
3. Practice keeping still
One of the trickiest parts of the tests is keeping still! Practice this in advance, especially if you’re preparing for a PCR test. You can play musical statues, with a little reward if they manage to stay still for 10 seconds. Then add in the challenges, such as staying still if you tickle their chin, tummy, nose etc. You can then repeat the same process at the test.
4. Find a comfy spot
If you’re at home, then make sure you’re in a comfy space, not standing up in your kitchen. For PCR tests, you can always ask your kid what would be best. Hugging them and offering support this way often helps.
5. Model it and go first!
If all the family are doing ART tests, then go first (and try and keep a straight face!). The same goes for PCR; make sure parents go up first, so your child can see you do it and know it really isn’t that bad (brave faces everyone!).
6. Use distractions
Distractions are a key trick of the trade for most in day-to-day parenting, so put this expertise to the test in this scenario, too, whether it’s letting them watch their favourite cartoon or singing a song together. Try and pick something that fits with the timing (usually 10 seconds on each side), so you can use it as a countdown.
7, Don’t stress and try again!
If it all goes wrong, don’t stress. You won’t be the first, and you definitely won’t be the last. Have a break and try again, but stay positive. If it’s in relation to PCR tests, then don’t worry; the experts have seen it all before and know the best way to deliver the tests and distract the kids, so seek their advice too.
8. Be encouraging and give them praise
Once your little one has been tested, make sure you give them credit where it’s due; whether it’s a small treat or just positive words, it’s no easy feat for anyone, especially our kids.
Don’t worry, Mum and Dad – you’ve got this!