New Study: Babies Born In Lockdown Less Likely To Speak Before First Birthday

Observational research finds that pandemic restrictions stunted several development milestones in children

Published on 12 October, 2022

Steve Watson

A new study by researchers in Ireland has concluded that babies born during the COVID lockdown were less likely to be able to speak before their first birthday than children born previously.

The study, led by the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, found that children were less likely to be able to reach so called development milestones including waving ‘goodbye’ and pointing at objects.

The study, published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood, focused on 309 babies born in the first three months of lockdown in Ireland between March and May 2020, and tested for ten behavioural milestones at their first birthday, with results then compared against 2000 babies born between the years 2008 and 2011.

The study, titled Social communication skill attainment in babies born during the COVID-19 pandemic, found lockdown babies were 14 per cent less likely to have said their first word, nine per cent less likely to have started pointing, and six per cent less likely to wave goodbye.

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