Emerging Research and Resources Related to Expectant Parents and Families with Infants and Toddlers
Explore highlights of research, articles, and other recent news items of interest to professionals who work with expectant parents and families with infants and toddlers. Be sure to join us on Facebook and Twitter to share your thoughts and stay up to date on the latest news and information from ZERO TO THREE. ~ Kathy Reschke, ZERO TO THREE Journal Editorial Assistant
Marijuana Use During Pregnancy Linked to Autism in Babies, Study Says
Sandee LaMotte, CNN
August 10, 2020
In what they call the largest study ever done, researchers found using marijuana while pregnant may increase the risk that a child will develop autism. “Women who used cannabis during pregnancy were 1.5 times more likely to have a child with autism,” said study author Dr. Darine El-Chaâr, a maternal fetal medicine specialist and clinical investigator at Ottawa Hospital Research Institute in Canada. The study reviewed data from every birth in Ontario, Canada, between 2007 and 2012, well before recreational marijuana was legalized in Canada in 2017. Of the half a million women in that data pool, researchers then narrowed the study to 2,200 women who said they used only marijuana during pregnancy, without mixing it with tobacco, alcohol or opioids.
Cited Source: Maternal Cannabis Use in Pregnancy and Child Neurodevelopmental Outcomes, D. J. Corsi, J. Donelle, E. Sucha, S. Hawken, H. Hsu, D. El-Chaâr, L. Bisnaire, D. Fell, S. W. Wen & M. Walker. Nature
Mismatched Caregiver-infant Interactions During Feeding Could Boost Babies’ Risk of Later Obesity
Caitlin Kizielewicz, SRCD News
July 14, 2020
Infancy is a sensitive developmental period that presents opportunities and challenges for caregivers to feed their infants in ways that support healthy growth and development. A new integrative review examined evidence related to infants’ self-regulation of behavior and emotion, and how that relates to interactions when they are fed by their caregivers, including how those interactions may derail infants’ ability to regulate their intake of food. The review found that infants who are fed in the absence of hunger or beyond fullness may develop skewed perceptions of hunger and fullness, which could increase their risk of obesity and related health problems later in life.
Cited Source: Feeding During Infancy: Interpersonal Behavior, Physiology, and Obesity Risk, DE. A. Hodges, C. B. Propper, H. Estrem and M. B. Schultz. Child Development Perspectives
Relations of Maternal Depression and Parenting Self-Efﬁcacy to the Self-Regulation of Infants in Low-Income Homes (full text)
R. A. Bates, P. J. Salsberry, L. M. Justice, J. M. Dynia, J. A. R. Logan, M. R. Gugiu and K. M. Purtell, Journal of Child and Family Studies
June 25, 2020
The purpose of this study was to investigate the associations among maternal depression, parenting self-efﬁcacy, and infant self-regulation for a racially diverse sample of 142 mother–infant dyads living in lowincome households in the United States. The study found that if a mother had some postpartum depression symptoms, she was more likely to think that she had difficulties parenting, and in turn more likely to have an infant with self-regulation problems (i.e., the conscious effort to regulate emotions, soothe themselves, and attention). Lead author Randi Bates said of the study, “We found that mothers living in low-income homes with even minor postpartum depression symptoms were more likely to feel less parenting competence and have infants with self-regulation problems.“
Considerations for Building Post-COVID Early Care and Education Systems that Serve Children with Disabilities
Mallory Warner-Richter and Chrishana M. Lloyd, Child Trends
August 6, 2020
Coping with the COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging for all families, especially those caring for young children with disabilities. Of the 24 million children under age 6 in the United States, about 5 percent (1.2 million) have a diagnosed disability. This fact sheet examines the interrelationship between disability, race, and ethnicity, and how this plays out across the country. Next, it discusses specific impacts of the pandemic on families with young children with disabilities, and, finally, the resource offers considerations for states as ECE programs begin to reopen.
How Child Care Disruptions Hurt Parents of Color Most
Cristina Novoa, Center for American Progress
June 29, 2020
As states ease social distancing policies and call on Americans to return to work, critical questions have emerged about how to repair the nation’s broken child care system for the 21.5 million workers with a child under the age of 6. This is an especially important issue for parents of color, who due to decades of occupational and residential segregation, have less access to telework and the flexibility it affords families with young children. Indeed, many workers of color across the country have worked through the pandemic in essential frontline occupations.
A State-by-State Look: How Child Care Programs are Holding On Until Help Comes
July 29, 2020
The lack of sufficient public investment for child care in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic has forced families, educators, and programs into a series of impossible choices. To help policymakers and the public understand the challenges the field is facing, NAEYC has surveyed tens of thousands of programs across states and settings in March, April, May, and June, and has created a series of reports summarized in this brief. Snapshots of state-by-state data follow, and are also available via an interactive map.
Health Care Access for Infants and Toddlers in Rural Areas
Jessie Laurore, Gayane Baziyants, and Sarah Daily, Child Trends
July 23, 2020
Approximately 1 million infants and toddlers live in rural areas in the United States. While some rural communities offer certain protective factors that support positive health and development, many children in rural areas are more likely to face a unique combination of challenges that impact their health and development—for instance, fewer health care providers, barriers to accessing care, and higher rates of poverty. While many public reports provide indicator data on rural health care access at the national level, this brief uses data from the State of Babies Yearbook: 2020 to examine state-level differences in how infants and toddlers living in rural areas are faring.
The first three years of a child’s life are a distinct developmental period, characterized by rapid brain development, reliance on relationships with adults, and extreme responsiveness to environmental variation. Identifying the competencies (i.e., knowledge, skills, and other attributes) essential to infant and toddler (I/T) teaching and caregiving may offer a common language and lens for assessing job performance and provide a clear structure for professional growth and development. This compendium highlights measures that can be used to assess the competencies of I/T teachers and caregivers who work in group care settings (i.e., centers and family child care homes).