HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Masks and social distancing are important to stopping the spread of COVID-19. But medical experts worry the precautions could be affecting babies' speech and social development, and are urging parents to think about what kind of interactions their infants get.
Dr. Melinda Ashton, a pediatrician at Hawaii Pacific Health, said babies are out in public less during the pandemic so they are having less interaction with others.
“There’s a period, right around 9 months for most kids, where they become really nervous about strangers and they have to learn to trust people that are not their parents," Ashton said.
"Whether it makes it easier, because we’re not making funny faces at kids, or harder because they’re not seeing the smiles, I don’t know.”
Ashton pointed out that many children who would be in daycare are now at home with parents. Little ones also have had less interaction with other relatives outside the household.
She said video chats with then can make a big difference.
“I think it’s really important that children see faces and so video visits with your family and friends, whatever you can do, so they’re seeing people other than mom and dad or grandma,” she said.
Television also exposes babies to more faces so they can learn expression and forming words.
Ashton added that children are remarkable in that they can adapt to their circumstances.