Baby's Social Development Hasn't Been Affected by COVID, New Study Says

Researchers have found that the presence of caregivers during the pandemic has kept the social development of babies from being negatively affected.
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By Wyndi Kappes, Assistant Editor
Published July 19, 2022
mother and baby sitting at desk working at home during covid pandemic
Image: IKO-studio/Shutterstock

From mental health issues to struggles with social interactions, many kids and adults have certainly been impacted by COVID-19 over the past few years. But what about America’s youngest members of society? Would a lack of family visits and day care interactions set back baby’s social development?

Researchers at the University of Zurich set out to answer this question in a study of infants between 12 to 15 months.

The study focused on the children’s ability to follow another person’s gaze, as “this ability is fundamental for engaging in social interactions, building relationships and developing language skills," says Stephanie Wermelinger, an author of the study. If this ability is impaired, it can hamper a person’s ability to interact with society, as is the case for people with autism.

The study compared the gaze tracking of 80 babies born during COVID-19 against 113 babies born before the pandemic. The researchers surprisingly discovered that there was no significant difference in the babies’ abilities whether they were born before or during the pandemic.

Researchers believe that while the outside world changed dramatically during COVID-19, the steady presence of caregivers, many of who worked from home, provided reliable social interactions for baby.

You can learn more about baby’s social development here.

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