(HealthDay News) — Babies born into lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic may have some potential deficits in early-life social communication, according to a study published online Oct. 11 in Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Susan Byrne, M.D., Ph.D., from the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin, and colleagues 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 1,629 babies from a historical birth cohort (recruited between 2008 and 2011).

The researchers found that babies born into lockdown appeared to have some deficits in social communication compared with the historical cohort. At the 12-month assessment, fewer infants in the pandemic cohort had one definite and meaningful word (76.6 versus 89.3 percent), could point (83.8 versus 92.8 percent), or wave bye-bye (87.7 versus 94.4 percent). These social communication differences were significant in adjusted log-binomial regression analyses: one definite and meaningful word (relative risk, 0.86), pointing (relative risk, 0.91), and waving bye-bye (relative risk, 0.94).

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“Babies are resilient and inquisitive by nature, and it is hoped that with societal re-emergence and increase in social circles, their social communication skills will improve,” the authors write.

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