The social smile in infants during the COVID-19 pandemia

Domenico Marco Romeo, Massimo Apicella, Giuseppina Leo, Maria Mallardi, Francesca Sini, Chiara Velli, Eugenio Maria Mercuri

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivista


The emergency created by Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has inevitably changed human normal social and relational habits. The use of personal protective equipment, like surgical masks, by healthcare workers has been recommended to prevent human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus infection. However, the use of these masks could cause slight to considerable and reproducible changes in the infant's attitude towards the operator and health taker during routine clinical assessments. We reported a brief report on the impact of to the use of the surgical masks on the affective behaviour in 40 infants of age 2–9 months (study group) by using a scale to assess pain and distress among pediatric patients, the Face, Legs, Activity Cry and Consolability Scale (FLACC), and in 40 infants with the same ages and characteristics assessed before the COVID-19 pandemia onset (control group). Thirty-seven of the 40 infants in the study group had some signs of discomfort and appeared irritable and less prone to be engaged by the examiner with a different pattern of responses related to age with better responses for younger infants. These infants reported higher significant scores (p < 0.001) in the FLACC scale than those assessed before the COVID-19 onset. Infants appear to react negatively to the use of the surgical mask by the health operator. A different way to assess paediatric patients in early infancy with longitudinal studies should be proposed.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)e08648-e08648
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2021


  • COVID-19
  • Clinical assessment
  • Social smile


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