Early in the pandemic, when much of the world was in lockdown, many parents and other caregivers expressed fears about how a historic period of prolonged isolation could affect their children.

Now, a study out of Ireland has shed some light on this question. Its results suggest that babies born during Ireland’s first covid-19 lockdown were likely to be slower to develop some social communication skills than their pre-pandemic peers. They were less likely to be able to wave goodbye, point at things and know one “definite and meaningful word” by the time they turn 1. On the other hand, they were more likely to be able to crawl.

Experts say children’s early years of life are their most formative – their brains soak up every interaction and experience, positive and negative, to build the neural connections that will serve them for the rest of their lives.

For the cohort of “lockdown babies,” the “first year of life was very different to the pre-pandemic babies,” Susan Byrne, a pediatric neurologist at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and lead author of the study, told The Washington Post.... Read More: Washington Post