Impact of lockdown and school closure on children’s health and well-being during the first wave of COVID-19: a narrative review

Otro nuevo artículo concluye que “el confinamiento y el encierro de escuelas por una pandemia tienen efectos adversos sobre la salud y el bienestar de los niños a corto y probablemente a largo plazo. Instamos a los gobiernos a tener en cuenta las consecuencias negativas para la salud pública antes de adoptar medidas restrictivas en la infancia”.

  1. Luis Rajmil1,
  2. Anders Hjern2,
  3. Perran Boran3,
  4. Geir Gunnlaugsson4,
  5. Olaf Kraus de Camargo5,
  6. Raman6,7
  7. and on behalf of International Society for Social Pediatrics & Child Health (ISSOP) and International Network for Research on Inequalities in Child Health (INRICH) COVID-19 Working Group
  8. Correspondence to Dr Luis Rajmil;


Background In the context of containment measures against the COVID-19 pandemic, the aims were to examine the impact of lockdown and school closures on childs’ and adolescents’ health and well-being and social inequalities in health.

Methods Literature review by searching five databases until November 2020. We included quantitative peer-reviewed studies reporting health and well-being outcomes in children (0–18 years) related to closure measures’ impact due to COVID-19. A pair of authors assessed the risk of bias of included studies. A descriptive and narrative synthesis was carried out.

Findings Twenty-two studies, including high-income, middle-income and low-income countries, fulfilled our search criteria and were judged not to have an increased risk of bias. Studies from Australia, Spain and China showed an increase in depressive symptoms and decrease in life satisfaction. A decrease in physical activity and increase in unhealthy food consumption were shown in studies from two countries. There was a decrease in the number of visits to the emergency department in four countries, an increase in child mortality in Cameroon and a decrease by over 50% of immunisations administered in Pakistan. A significant drop of 39% in child protection medical examination referrals during 2020 compared with the previous years was found in the UK, a decrease in allegations of child abuse and neglect by almost one-third due to school closures in Florida, and an increase in the number of children with physical child abuse trauma was found in one centre in the USA.

Interpretation From available reports, pandemic school closure and lockdown have adverse effects on child health and well-being in the short and probably long term. We urge governments to take the negative public health consequences into account before adopting restrictive measures in childhood.

Data availability statement

All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information.

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