Data_Sheet_1_Association Between the COVID-19 Pandemic and Infant Neurodevelopment: A Comparison Before and During COVID-19.docx
Aim: To investigate the association between the experience of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and neurodevelopment of 6-month-old and 1-year-old children and explore the differences in the association by birth order.
Methods: This comparison study was embedded in the Born in Guangzhou Cohort Study in China. The exposed group included 546 6-month-old and 285 1-year-old children who attended neurodevelopment assessments between March 1 and May 15, 2020, and the non-exposed group included 3,009 6-month-old and 2,214 1-year-old children during the same months from 2015 to 2019. Neurodevelopment at age 6 months and 1 year was assessed by trained clinical staff using the Ages and Stages Questionnaires, third edition (ASQ-3) and the Gesell Developmental Schedules (GDS).
Results: The experience of the pandemic in 2020 was associated with a higher risk of delay in the fine motor (adjusted OR: 2.50, 95% CI: 1.25, 4.99; estimated by logistic regression) and communication (adjusted RR [aRR]: 1.13, 95% CI: 1.02, 1.25; estimated by log-binomial regression) domains at age 1 year. The association between the experience of the pandemic and communication delay at age 1 year only existed in first-born children (aRR: 1.15, 95% CI: 1.03, 1.30) but not in later-born children (aRR: 1.02, 95% CI: 0.84, 1.25). No associations were observed in any domain among 6-month-olds.
Conclusion: Experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic and related public health strategies might be associated with a higher risk of delay in the development of fine motor and communication in 1-year-old children; the association observed in the communication domain only existed in first-born children.