TARGet Kids! COVID-19 study of children and families

In Progress

Child and Youth Health


This study is part of the MAP/St. Michael’s Hospital Foundation COVID-19 Catalyst Fund, launched to advance our most urgent priority projects. Learn more

How does COVID-19 spread among children and within families — across socioeconomic gradients?

COVID-19 infections are spreading among children and their parents in Canada, but no Canadian studies have yet evaluated to what extent this is happening, and how best to limit spread within the home.

Using TARGet Kids!, Canada’s largest ongoing study of children, this project will detect COVID-19 infections, identify COVID-19 risk factors, and monitor outcomes on child and parent mental health and family functioning.

During the pandemic, parents of young children (0-10 years old) enrolled in TARGet Kids! will be asked to provide a weekly nasal swab from themselves and their child, submit a weekly symptom checklist, and complete online questionnaires related to their family’s health. We will also track participants’ health-care use through health-services utilization data. More than 1,000 children will be followed through the study, over the next six months and long term.

This will be the first and largest study worldwide to investigate COVID-19 transmission and its socioeconomic context and effects among children and families.

The Outcome

Evidence from this project will help interrupt unrecognized chains of transmission, calibrate policies, and develop targeted public health efforts to protect children and families from COVID-19 and its consequences.

Child and Youth Health


Dr. Jonathon Maguire

Dr. Jonathon Maguire believes that by focusing on the factors that foster resilience, we can help our children lead healthier, happier lives. He is a hospital pediatrician and the co-leader of TARGet Kids!, the largest primary-care research network for children in Canada.


  • Dr. Catherine Birken (SickKids) Principal Investigator
  • Dr. Laura Anderson (McMaster University)
  • Mary Aglipay (St. Michael’s Hospital)
  • Dr. David Fisman (University of Toronto)
  • Dr. Peter Jüni (St. Michael’s Hospital)
  • Dr. Charles Keown-Stoneman (St. Michael’s Hospital)
  • Dr. Laura Kinlin (SickKids)
  • Dr. Mark Loeb (McMaster University)
  • Dr. Muhammad Mamdani (Unity Health Toronto)
  • Dr. Tony Mazzulli (Sinai Health System)
  • Dr. Ashleigh Tuite (University of Toronto)
  • Shelley Vanderhout (University of Toronto)


  • COVID-19 Immunity Task Force (Government of Canada)
  • Fast Grants
  • St. Michael's Hospital AFP Innovation Fund
  • St. Michael’s Hospital Foundation


  • SickKids
  • Unity Health Toronto

Contact Info

Dr. Jonathon Maguire