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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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Lockdown babies: Birth and new parenting experiences during the 2020 Covid-19 lockdown in South Africa, a cross-sectional study

Elise Farley; Amanda Edwards; Emma Numanoglu (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: Women and Birth

Perceived birth experiences of parents can have a lasting impact on children. This study explored the birth and new parenting experiences of South African parents in 2020 during the Covid-19 lockdown. It was a cross-sectional online survey with consenting parents of babies born in South Africa during 2020. Factors associated with negative birth emotions and probable depression were estimated using logistic regression.

An online cross-sectional survey of complementary feeding practices during the COVID-19 restrictions in Poland

Andrea Horvath; Agata Stróżyk; Piotr Dziechciarz (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: Nutrients
This cross-sectional online survey performed in Poland aimed to improve understanding of how COVID-19 pandemic restrictions affected complementary feeding practices among parents of infants aged 4 to 12 months. Self-selected parents were recruited through the internet. The anonymous questionnaire was opened during two intervals during COVID-19 restrictions. The primary outcome was an assessment of sources of information and infant feeding practices in the context of COVID-19 restrictions. Data from 6934 responders (92.2% mothers) were analyzed.
Socioeconomic inequalities in low birth weight risk before and during the COVID-19 pandemic in Argentina: a cross-sectional study

Eduardo Cuestas; Martha E. Gómez-Flores; María D. Charras (et al.)

Published: August 2021   Journal: The Lancet Regional Health - Americas

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic may have exacerbated existing socioeconomic inequalities in health. In Argentina, public hospitals serve the poorest uninsured segment of the population, while private hospitals serve patients with health insurance. This study aimed to assess whether socioeconomic inequalities in low birth weight (LBW) risk changed during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. This multicenter cross-sectional study included 15929 infants. A difference-in-difference (DID) analysis of socioeconomic inequalities between public and private hospitals in LBW risk in a pandemic cohort (March 20 to July 19, 2020) was compared with a prepandemic cohort (March 20 to July 19, 2019) by using medical records obtained from ten hospitals.

Neonatal care during the COVID-19 pandemic - a global survey of parents’ experiences regarding infant and family-centred developmental care

Johanna Kostenzer; Julia Hoffmann; Charlotte von Rosenstiel-Pulver (et al.)

Published: August 2021   Journal: EClinicalMedicine
The COVID-19 pandemic restrictions affect provision and quality of neonatal care. This global study explores parents’ experiences regarding the impact of the restrictions on key characteristics of infant and family-centred developmental care (IFCDC) during the first year of the pandemic. For this cross-sectional study, a pre-tested online survey with 52 questions and translated into 23 languages was used to collect data between August and November 2020. Parents of sick or preterm infants born during the pandemic and receiving special/intensive care were eligible for participation. Data analysis included descriptive statistics and statistical testing based on different levels of restrictive measures.
Young children and the pandemic: UNICEF early childhood COVID-19 response in East Asia and the Pacific
Institution: *UNICEF
Published: July 2021

At the height of nationwide lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 150 million children younger than 5 years in East Asia and the Pacific were affected. The pandemic brought service provision for young children in many of the 27 countries supported by UNICEF programmes that promote nurturing care and are essential to their optimal development to a standstill. Yet, even before the pandemic, more than 42 million children in the region were at risk of not reaching their developmental potential. Using the latest available evidence, this report summarizes the impact of the pandemic on services essential for young children’s development: For example, that the number of children younger than 5 years visiting community health centres in Viet Nam dropped by 48 per cent; that in Indonesia, more than 50 per cent of households reported not being able to meet their family’s nutritional needs; or that in the Philippines, more than 80 per cent of households experienced a decrease in their household income. Households facing disadvantages before COVID-19 – those with young children, those living in rural and remote areas and low-income households – are in most cases more disproportionally affected by the pandemic.

Early childhood educators’ wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic

Patricia Eadie; Penny Levickis; Lisa Murray

Published: May 2021   Journal: Early Childhood Education Journal
The importance of Early Childhood (EC) educators’ wellbeing has been brought into sharp focus during the COVID-19 pandemic, as educators have navigated numerous additional stressors while providing education and care services for some children and ongoing support for many others learning at home. This study aimed to explore the impact of the pandemic on EC educators’ wellbeing and educator-child relationships, as growing evidence shows the infuence of these factors on children’s developmental outcomes.
Childbirth care among SARS-CoV-2 positive women in Italy

Serena Donati; Edoardo Corsi; Michele Antonio Salvatore (et al.)

Published: April 2021   Journal: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
The new coronavirus emergency spread to Italy when little was known about the infection’s impact on mothers and newborns. This study aims to describe the extent to which clinical practice has protected childbirth physiology and preserved the mother–child bond during the first wave of the pandemic in Italy. A national population-based prospective cohort study was performed enrolling women with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection admitted for childbirth to any Italian hospital from 25 February to 31 July 2020.
Early life stress and neural development: implications for understanding the developmental effects of COVID-19

Karen E. Smith; Seth D. Pollak

Published: April 2021   Journal: Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience
Chronic and/or extreme stress in childhood, often referred to as early life stress, is associated with a wide range of long-term effects on development. Given this, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to concern about how stress due to the pandemic will affect children’s development and mental health. Although early life stress has been linked to altered functioning of a number of neural and biological systems, there is a wide range of variability in children’s outcomes. The mechanisms that influence these individual differences are still not well understood. In the past, studies of stress in childhood focused on the type of events that children encountered in their lives. This study conducted a review of the literature to formulate a new perspective on the effects of early life stress on development. This new, topological model, may increase understanding of the potential effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on children’s development.
Effects of COVID-19 confinement on the household routines of children in Portugal

André Pombo; Carlos Luz; Luis Paulo Rodrigues (et al.)

Published: April 2021   Journal: Journal of Child and Family Studies
The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 disease (COVID-19) was first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan, China, and was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization on 11 March, 2020. Since then, physical distancing measures such as confinement have been adopted by different governments to control human to human transmission. This study aimed to determine how confinement affects children’s routines, more specifically their physical activity (PA) and sedentary time. An online survey was launched to assess how Portuguese children under 13 years of age adjusted their daily routines to confinement. Parents reported the time each child was engaged in different activities throughout the day, which was used to calculate overall sedentary time and overall physical activity time.
Missing early education and care during the pandemic: the socio-emotional impact of the COVID-19 crisis on young children

Suzanne M. Egan; Jennifer Pope; Mary Moloney (et al.)

Published: April 2021   Journal: Early Childhood Education Journal
Worldwide, millions of children have missed out on early childhood education and care (ECEC) due to the closure of their settings during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, little is known about the socio-emotional impact of these closures on young children. This paper draws upon a study of 506 parents of children aged 1–10 years in Ireland who completed the online Play and Learning in the Early Years (PLEY) Survey during lockdown in May and June 2020. Parents responded to a series of questions about their child’s play, learning and development during lockdown, and described the impact of the restrictions on their children’s lives.
Young children's nutrition during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown: a comparative study

Raja Omar Bahatheg

Published: April 2021   Journal: Early Childhood Education Journal
During the COVID-19 pandemic, most countries took precautionary steps to save their citizens by initiating a lockdown and stopping all social activities by closing schools, companies, entertainment places, markets, gardens, and other social gathering places. As children stayed at home with no physical activities, their weight may have increased. The purpose of this study was to examine the link between fast food, sugars, or soft drinks and the ongoing domestic lockdown of the COVID-19 pandemic. This phenomenon was studied in three different cities from three different countries (Saudi Arabia, Britain, and Turkey) from the perspective of children’s parents.
SARS pandemic exposure impaired early childhood development in China

Yunfei Fan; Huiyu Wang; Qiong Wu (et al.)

Published: April 2021   Journal: Scientific Reports
Social and mental stressors associated with the pandemic of a novel infectious disease, e.g., COVID-19 or SARS may promote long-term effects on child development. However, reports aimed at identifying the relationship between pandemics and child health are limited. A retrospective study was conducted to associate the SARS pandemic in 2003 with development milestones or physical examinations among longitudinal measurements of 14,647 children. Experiencing SARS during childhood was associated with delayed milestones, with hazard ratios of 3.17 (95% confidence intervals CI: 2.71, 3.70), 3.98 (3.50, 4.53), 4.96 (4.48, 5.49), or 5.57 (5.00, 6.20) for walking independently, saying a complete sentence, counting 0–10, and undressing him/herself for urination, respectively. These results suggest relevant impacts from COVID-19 on child development should be investigated.
Assessment of knowledge and opinion regarding breastfeeding practices during COVID-19 pandemic among paediatricians and obstetricians in India: an online survey.

Sunil Malik; Payas Joshi; Pradeep Kumar Gupta (et al.)

Published: January 2021   Journal: Sudanese Journal of Paediatrics
Coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) is a novel coronavirus infection that has a wide spectrum of disease severity. The virus has not been known to pass through the placenta and has not been reported in the breastmilk of affected mothers. As the cases are still on a rise, it is expected that the number of pregnant females would also rise in the coming times. Among many queries during pregnancy, to breastfeed or not is an important question that needs to be answered. We conducted this survey to assess the knowledge regarding breastfeeding practices among Indian paediatricians and obstetricians during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Newborn bloodspot screening in the time of COVID-19

Ronda F. Greaves; James Pitt; Candice McGregor

Published: January 2021   Journal: Genetics in Medicine

A COVID-19 pandemic business continuity plan (BCP) was rapidly developed to protect the Victorian newborn screening (NBS) program. Here, we present the outcomes of our COVID-19 BCP and its impact on the Victorian NBS laboratory service. Change management principles were used to develop a BCP that included mapping of NBS processes against staff resources, triaging priorities, technology solutions, supply chain continuity, gap analysis, and supporting maternity service providers. The effect was assessed quantitatively by review of key performance indicator data and qualitatively from staff feedback.

Best of UNICEF Research and Evaluation 2020

Evidence and objective assessment are needed more than ever to help enhance the rights and well-being of the world’s children. Researching the changing world around us and evaluating progress are two sides of the same coin, both critical to reimagining a better future for children. In recognition of this, UNICEF celebrates and showcases innovative and influential research and evaluations from our offices around the world every year. For 2020, Innocenti and the Evaluation Office joined forces to find the most rigorous UNICEF studies with greatest influence on policies and programmes that benefit children.

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UNICEF Innocenti's Children and COVID-19 Library is a database collecting research from around the world on COVID-19 and its impacts on children and adolescents.


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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.