Best rapid antigen tests for kids [Updated]

Posted: 15 February 2022 11:37 am

Parents can now take the hassle out of rapid antigen testing with a range of non-intrusive, child-friendly oral RAT kits.

Most kids don't enjoy having things stuffed up their nose, especially while suffering from flu-like symptoms. Throw a healthcare stranger into the mix and it's a recipe for a major meltdown.

The fastest way to know if your child has COVID-19 is to do a rapid antigen test at home. Typically costing between $10 and $20 per test, you can find out the result in 10-15 minutes rather than waiting to hear back from a lab.

While home testing is a lot more convenient for families, there is one problem. Sticking a swab up a child's nose is only going to end in tears – do you remember the feeling from your first test?

Thankfully, saliva and oral fluid tests are now available at a range of retailers across Australia. These are your easy way out of hours of temper tantrums, waterworks and bribing your little one with sweets or a new toy in exchange for a test.

We've scoured the Internet and found the best rapid antigen tests for even the fussiest kids. You can thank us later.

Rapid antigen tests for kids

Note: Australia is currently experiencing RAT stock shortages which has resulted in shipping delays. We advise checking the estimated delivery date before purchasing your product.

JusChek Antigen Rapid Test - Oral Fluid Kit
JusChek Antigen Rapid Test - Oral Fluid Kit

The JusChek Antigen Rapid Oral Fluid Kit can be purchased in a variety of pack sizes from 5 to 48. The test requires a self-collected oral fluid specimen with no nasal swab required.

AllTest COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test Single kit (Oral Fluid)
AllTest COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test Single kit (Oral Fluid)

HiCraft is selling non-invasive saliva tests for $17.60 per pack. The high accuracy tests come with clear instructions on how to collect oral fluid from your child with results in 15 minutes.

Check availability at HiCraft

Ecotest Covid-19 Antigen Saliva Pen Test
Ecotest Covid-19 Antigen Saliva Pen Test

Uncomfortable nasal swabs can be a thing of the past thanks to Ecotest's saliva pen tests. Easy to use and non-invasive, you'll get rapid results when testing your child at home. Purchase a 2-pack for $26.99 from Fast Test Kits or opt for a bulk pack to ensure you have tests on hand for the future.

Check availability at Fast Test Kits

For regular updates on RAT test stock availability, delivery and pricing, see our where to buy rapid antigen tests guide.

Frequently asked questions

What are home rapid antigen tests?

Antigen tests are rapid COVID-19 tests that produce quick results when you test for COVID-19 at home, which is highly convenient for busy families with young children.

  • How it works. Samples are placed in an extraction buffer or reagent and tested for the presence of SARS-CoV-2-specific virus proteins (also called antigens).
  • What it tests. It tests for a current COVID-19 infection (usually within 15 minutes).
  • How samples are collected. Samples are collected through a nose, throat or oral swab.
  • How long does it take? It usually takes 10-15 minutes to see the results.

How do I know if a RAT test is legitimate?

Rapid antigen tests have been available to buy in Australia since 1 November 2021. However, RAT tests have become more difficult to purchase since the outbreak of the Omicron variant and the rapid rise in case numbers.

It's also worth noting that all COVID-19 testing kits require Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) approval and inclusion in the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG) to be legally supplied in Australia. Dozens of kits from different companies have been assessed by the TGA. Approved kits must meet the following criteria:

  • Instructions for use are written in a way that all consumers can understand.
  • Usability testing has been successful.
  • Self-tests perform satisfactorily against variants such as Delta and Omicron.

When purchasing a test kit for your child, always purchase from a reliable retailer or website and ensure that the above criteria are met.

Is home testing as effective as going to a clinic?

No. The chief benefit of rapid antigen testing is speed and simplicity, which is essential when you have kids. Unlike PCR testing, the RAT test doesn't need to be administered by a medical professional or sent to a lab. You can do it by yourself at home. On the downside, they aren't as reliable. If you need to book a PCR test, we have information in this guide.

My kid has a positive RAT test, do I need to tell someone?

Yes. At the time of writing, if you record a positive test for your child in Victoria, Tasmania or New South Wales, you need to register with your state health authority. It's expected that all states and territories will soon adopt this requirement.

Victoria is the first state to include rapid antigen test results in its daily reporting numbers, not just PCR tests. That led to a significant spike in reported numbers over the weekend.

The federal government also announced that as of 10 January, a positive rapid antigen test can also be used to claim the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment.

Unsure about what to do? Learn more about how COVID-19 testing works.

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