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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

UNICEF Innocenti's curated library of COVID-19 + Children research

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What do arts-based methods do? A story of (what is) art and online research with children during a pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
Julie Spray; Hannah Fechtel; Jean Hunleth

Published: October 2022   Journal: Sociological Research Online
This comic draws viewers behind the final product and into the process of arts-based research. Specifically, it focuses on research produced over Zoom during the Covid-19 pandemic. Based on a study of asthma caregiving, it illustrates how a 10-year-old study participant, Becca, and researcher Hannah connected in embodied, sensory and material-spatial ways across digital space through the making and unmaking of art forms using simple sensory-sculptural materials (pipe cleaners, play-doh, balloons). The study considers what arts-based methods do: for the participant, the researcher, their relationship, and ethical knowledge production. And it shows what research processes can look like as unpredictable, messy and patient communing.
Cite this research | Open access | Vol.: 27 | Issue: 3 | Language: English | Topics: Health | Tags: child health, COVID-19 response, internet, lockdown, social distance, teleworking | Countries: Ireland
Social communication skill attainment in babies born during the COVID-19 pandemic: a birth cohort study

AUTHOR(S)
Susan Byrne; Hailey Sledge; Ruth Franklin (et al.)

Published: October 2022   Journal: Archives of Disease in Childhood

The SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) pandemic was managed with sustained mass lockdowns to prevent spread of COVID-19 infection. Babies born during the early stages of the pandemic missed the opportunity of meeting a normal social circle of people outside the family home. This study compared 10 parentally reported developmental milestones at 12-month assessment in a cohort of 309 babies born at the onset of the pandemic (CORAL cohort) and 1629 babies from a historical birth cohort (BASELINE cohort recruited between 2008 and 2011).

The impact and lived experience of Covid-19 restrictions for vulnerable children and families in a low-income Irish community

AUTHOR(S)
Margaret Curtin; Maria O’Shea; Claire Hayes

Published: September 2022   Journal: Child Care in Practice
The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted on all aspects of life. The physical health burden predominately impacts adults. However, the psychological burden has impacted significantly on the development and wellbeing of babies and young children. The aim of this research was to explore the impact of Covid-19 restrictions on vulnerable children (aged 0–6) and their families who were registered with a prevention and early intervention programme in an area of socio-economic disadvantage in southern Ireland. A convenience sample of 15 mothers were contacted by the staff from the multidisciplinary Infant Mental Health home visiting team.
Exclusive breastfeeding and women's psychological well-being during the first wave of COVID-19 pandemic in Italy

AUTHOR(S)
Louise Marron; Annamaria Ferenczi; Katie M. O'Brien (et al.)

Published: September 2022   Journal: Vaccine
Vaccination of children aged 5 years and older is recommended as part of a multifaceted strategy to protect children against SARS CoV-2 infection and serious disease, and to control the spread of infection. COVID-19 vaccine trials in children aged less than5 years are underway, however, parental acceptance of vaccines for this age group is unknown. Between June and August 2021, a cross-sectional national survey of parental attitudes towards childhood vaccination in Ireland was conducted. Parents of children aged 0–48 months were surveyed to determine their attitudes towards COVID-19 vaccines for their children. A total of 855 parents were surveyed. Overall, 50.6 % reported that they intend to vaccinate their child, 28.7 % reported that they did not intend to vaccinate and 20.2 % were unsure. Among those who stated that they did not intend to vaccinate their child, concern about risks and side effects of vaccination was the primary reason reported (45.6 %). The most frequently reported information needs related to side effects of the vaccine (64.7 %) and vaccine safety (60.3 %).
Cite this research | Open access | Vol.: 40 | Issue: 39 | No. of pages: 10 | Language: English | Topics: Health | Tags: COVID-19, immunization, immunization programmes, infectious disease, pandemic, parents, vaccination, vaccination policies | Countries: Ireland
Feasibility of a peer-led, after-school physical activity intervention for disadvantaged adolescent females during the COVID-19 pandemic: results from the Girls Active Project (GAP)

AUTHOR(S)
Sara McQuinn; Sarahjane Belton; Anthony Staines (et al.)

Published: August 2022   Journal: Pilot and Feasibility Studies volume

There is a critical need for interventions that can be feasibly implemented and are effective in successfully engaging adolescent females in physical activity (PA). A theory-based, peer-led, after-school PA intervention, the Girls Active Project (GAP), was codesigned with adolescent females. This study aimed to assess the feasibility of implementing and evaluating the GAP programme. One single-sex, female-only, designated disadvantaged postprimary school (students aged 12–18) in Dublin, Ireland. Mixed methods were applied with multiple stakeholders over a 12-week trial (March to May 2021). A single-arm study design was used to examine intervention: reach, dose, fidelity, acceptability, compatibility and context. Feasibility of using proposed self-reported outcome measures (moderate-to-vigorous PA levels, self-rated health, life satisfaction, PA self-efficacy and PA enjoyment) was also explored.

Impact on the incidence of suspected physical abuse in children under 24 months of age during a global pandemic: a multi-centre irish regional retrospective cross-sectional analysis

AUTHOR(S)
Caoimhe McDonnell; Michael Courtney; Michael Barrett (et al.)

Published: July 2022   Journal: The British Journal of Radiology

he advent of the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in periods of nationwide restrictions in Ireland including school and workplace closures. The authors hypothesised that this disruption to society may have led to a change in patterns of suspected physical abuse (SPA) presentations to the paediatric emergency department (ED), whilst ED attendance fell dramatically during the period. We reviewed data to determine whether there was an increase in presentations of SPA during periods of social restrictions. The National Integrated Medical Imaging Service was searched for all skeletal survey examinations performed between the dates of the 1 March 2016 and 28 Feb 2021 for studies performed in cases of SPA. Electronic records of attendance were extracted from the emergency department administrative system at the three paediatric emergency departments which serve the 400,000 children regionally. The data were reviewed to determine if SPA presentations increased during restriction periods.

Health literacy of COVID-19 and compliance with precautionary measures: a cross-sectional study in adolescents and young adults in Ireland

AUTHOR(S)
Finiki Nearchou; Clodagh Flinn; Aine French (et al.)

Published: May 2022   Journal: Youth
The COVID-19 pandemic has been associated with an ‘infodemic’, and young people have reported difficulties dealing with COVID-19-related information. The present cross-sectional study aimed to explore health knowledge related to COVID-19 and accessing relevant information as aspects of health literacy in a cohort of adolescents and young adults residing in Ireland. It also aimed to explore COVID-19-related concerns and levels of compliance with precautionary measures. Data were collected from young people (n = 1009) aged 12–25 years old through an online anonymous survey.
Teacher experiences of facilitating play in early childhood classrooms during COVID-19

AUTHOR(S)
Christina O’Keeffe; Sinead McNally

Published: April 2022   Journal: Journal of Early Childhood Research
he COVID-19 pandemic posed major challenges for the lives of children in terms of school closures, loss of routine, reduced social contact, bereavement and trauma. The pandemic also gave rise to a focus on play as a fundamental support for children’s wellbeing. This study examined early childhood teachers’ reported practices of using play upon returning to school in Ireland after lockdown restrictions which included a 6-month period of school closures. Building on previous research on play in early childhood education during the early stages of the pandemic, 12 primary school teachers in early childhood classrooms (children aged 3–8 years) participated in focus groups aimed at exploring teachers’ experiences of using play upon returning to in-class teaching. Through reflexive thematic analysis of the focus groups, four themes were identified that encapsulated teachers’ experiences: play in the classroom embodied similar characteristics and qualities during COVID-19 as before the pandemic; play was considered a priority in early childhood education classrooms; teachers planned carefully for facilitating play in the classroom in response to COVID-19 regulations; teachers’ noted the importance of the social and relational components of play for children in the context of COVID-19 regulations.
Parenting a newborn baby during the COVID-19 pandemic: a qualitative survey

AUTHOR(S)
Hailey Sledge; Marguerite Lawler; Jonathan Hourihane (et al.)

Published: March 2022   Journal: BMJ Paediatrics Open

 The COVID-19 pandemic caused long periods of lockdown, social isolation and intense challenges for parents. This study examines parenting in an infant cohort born at the pandemic onset. The CORAL study is a prospective longitudinal observational study looking at allergy, immune function and neurodevelopmental outcome in babies born between March and May 2020. Demographic information was collected, babies were reviewed at 6-monthly intervals, and serology for COVID-19 infection was recorded. When babies were 12 months old, parents were asked for 3–5 words to describe raising a baby during the pandemic. Frequency of word usage was compared between first time parents and parents with other children, and parents of babies with and without a diagnosis of COVID-19 infection.

Learning in a pandemic: primary school children’s emotional engagement with remote schooling during the spring 2020 Covid-19 lockdown in Ireland

AUTHOR(S)
Yekaterina Chzhen; Jennifer Symonds; Dympna Devine (et al.)

Published: February 2022   Journal: Child Indicators Research
The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the greatest disruption to children’s schooling in generations. This study analyses primary school children’s emotional engagement with remote schooling during the Spring 2020 lockdown in the Republic of Ireland, which involved one of the longest school closures among rich countries at the time. It investigates whether children’s engagement with their remote schooling varied by personal and family characteristics, using data from the Children’s School Lives (CSL) surveys. CSL is a nationally representative study of primary schools in Ireland, which collected information from children aged 8–9 years in May – August 2019 and in May – July 2020. Linear regression estimates with school fixed effects are based on the analytic sample of nearly 400 children (from across 71 schools) who took part in both waves and have complete data on all the key variables.
Parental mediation in pandemic: predictors and relationship with children's digital skills and time spent online in Ireland

AUTHOR(S)
Beatrice Sciacca; Derek A. Laffan; James O'Higgins Norman (et al.)

Published: November 2021   Journal: Computers in Human Behavior
During the COVID-19 pandemic, an increasing reliance on digital technology to carry out social, entertainment, work and school activities increased, which may have affected the ways in which parents mediated their children's digital technology use. Given the prominent role that digital technology will have in the future, it is important to investigate parent and child characteristics which impacted parental mediation of children's digital technology use. Therefore, the present study aimed at analysing the frequency of parental mediation strategies (i.e. active and restrictive) during lockdown, their determinants, and how the two strategies affected children's digital skills and time spent online. Data were collected from 461 parent and 461 child participants. Results showed that almost half of parents (46%) practiced parental mediation with the same frequency, while the 42.6% applied it more often.
The impact of the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic on parents of children with externalising difficulties in Ireland: a longitudinal cohort study

AUTHOR(S)
Anna Berry; Tom Burke; Alan Carr

Published: October 2021   Journal: International Journal of Clinical Practice

This longitudinal cohort study aimed to examine the impact of the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Ireland on parents of children with externalising difficulties, in comparison to parents of children without such difficulties. Parents of 159 children completed online self-report measures at three time points during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic; (a) Delay and Mitigation Phase (March 2020 to May 2020), (b) Reopening of Society Phase (June 2020 to July 2020) and (c) Wave 2 Case Acceleration Phase (September 2020 to October 2020). Participants were allocated to the clinical group if they met the clinical cut off point on the Conduct or Hyperactivity/Inattention subscales of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire at Time 1.

Parental involvement during COVID-19: experiences from the special school

AUTHOR(S)
Una O'Connor; Jessica Bates; Jayne Finlay (et al.)

Published: August 2021   Journal: European Journal of Special Needs Education
The closure of schools worldwide in response to the COVID-19 pandemic required parents to undertake key pedagogical roles to support their children’s education and movement to a remote, often virtual world of online teaching presented many challenges for families. For the parents of children attending special schools, the loss of educational, as well as therapeutic provision, added a further layer of complexity unique to this group. This paper presents findings from a Northern Ireland-wide survey undertaken during the first lockdown period. Using Hornby and Blackwell’s model of parental involvement (PI), the paper describes parents’ experiences relative to their child’s needs, family circumstances and societal expectations, and the intersection of these with teacher relationships and the wider school community. The findings reveal those factors that facilitated and inhibited PI and makes suggestions for improvements at school and policy levels in the short and longer term. The results have relevance and reach beyond the Northern Ireland context and should contribute to international dialogue on the synergy between PI and the special school setting.
“Zooming In” on children’s rights during a pandemic: technology, child justice and Covid-19

AUTHOR(S)
Nessa Lynch; Ursula Kilkelly

Published: June 2021   Journal: The International Journal of Children's Rights
The implementation of public health measures in response to the covid-19 pandemic has impacted heavily on the operation of child justice systems and places of detention, creating new challenges in the safeguarding and implementation of children’s rights. Yet, it has also been a time of innovation, particularly in the use of technology. Using case studies from Ireland and Aotearoa New Zealand, we discuss how technology has been used to maintain the balance between restrictive yet necessary public health measures and the operation of the child justice system. Examples include remote participation in remand hearings and trial and the use of “virtual visits” for children in detention.
Discourses of childism: how covid-19 has unveiled prejudice, discrimination and social injustice against children in the everyday

AUTHOR(S)
Rebecca Adami; Katy Dineen

Published: June 2021   Journal: The International Journal of Children's Rights
Do children suffer from discriminatory structures in society and how can issues of social injustice against children be conceptualised and studied? The conceptual frame of childism is examined through everyday expressions in the aftermath of policies affecting children in Sweden, the UK and Ireland to develop knowledge of age-based and intersectional discrimination against children. While experiences in Sweden seem to indicate that young children rarely suffer severe symptoms from covid-19, or constitute a driving force in spreading the virus, policy decisions in the UK and Ireland to close down schools have had detrimental effects on children in terms of child hunger and violence against children. Policy decisions that have prioritised adults at the cost of children have unveiled a structural injustice against children, which is mirrored by individual examples of everyday societal prejudice.
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COVID-19 & Children: Rapid Research Response

UNICEF Innocenti is mobilizing a rapid research response in line with UNICEF’s global response to the COVID-19 crisis. The initiatives we’ve begun will provide the broad range of evidence needed to inform our work to scale up rapid assessment, develop urgent mitigating strategies in programming and advocacy, and preparation of interventions to respond to the medium and longer-term consequences of the COVID-19 crisis. The research projects cover a rapid review of evidence, education analysis, and social and economic policies.