The Impacts of Home Confinement Due To Coronavirus (COVID-19) on Children: A Cross Sectional Survey Study, Mediclinic City Hospital, Dubai, UAE
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Children are developing individuals with countless factors affecting their growth and development, from genetics to parenting, schools, environments, nutrition, good habits of sleep and health. They are very sensitive individuals to sudden changes in routine. Schools represent life for them and a place of not only learning, but also social interaction and sensory neurodevelopment. Disasters and pandemics such as the existing situation of COVID-19 are a major cause of trauma affecting their education, play, mental health, physical health, vaccinations, sleep, and development. The governments’ strategies particularly home confinement and school closure to prevent the COVID-19 pandemic spread added unavoidable stress and psychosocial impacts on both adults and children. Trauma of this kind may endure for a long time with negative consequences that may manifest later on, even up to adult life. We conducted a cross sectional parental survey, to assess the impacts of home confinement on children in the cosmopolitan city of Dubai, UAE. Children included were from 3 years until 16 years old who were in schools or pre-school placements before COVID-19 started. Total number of children included in the survey was 658 of which 327 were boys and 331 girls. We found that the impact of the home confinement on children was significant and directly affected their quality of life (QoL) that may extend beyond the lockdown for longtime. This study will help relevant authorities and organizations to understand the negative impacts brought by the COVID-19 confinement on children and to adopt appropriate strategies to help children and their parents tackle these impacts and get them back to normal life and school again. This study also paved the way for future studies in the identification and management of children’s behavior, attention, education, and other factors that play active roles in QoL and normal development. Moreover, this study may help in embracing early preventative and management plans by schools and authorities in future similar pandemics, infections, disasters or school outbreaks. We also discuss strategies for school reopening and flexibility when an outbreak happens again in a school or community.