Homeless babies in hotel accommodation slower to crawl, walk and talk, finds Irish study 2 months ago

Homeless babies in hotel accommodation slower to crawl, walk and talk, finds Irish study

Children living in emergency hotel accommodation are suffering serious developmental delays, new Irish research has found.

The study, published in the Geographical Journal, found that homelessness has a "destructive impact" on children.

Cramped hotel accommodation means babies aren't able to learn to crawl and there's also evidence that these conditions can affect kids' speech progression.

Researchers looked at 16 families who had lived in hotels in Dublin while they waited for long-term accommodation.

Each of the families had become homeless through eviction from a rental home or family breakdown.

One of the children in the study, a two-year-old girl, had halted in her speech development after moving into the hotel, despite hitting all of her milestones beforehand.

The delay could be down to the trauma of being homeless, a behavioural specialist said in the report.

A mother interviewed as part of the study, meanwhile, said that her infant son had become "rigid" after living in emergency accommodation.

"He has to see the early intervention team, because he can’t climb or walk stairs and he was kind of a rigid baby.

“They’re convinced it’s down to where we lived, because he hadn’t space to move around, to crawl — he had no space at all.”

The study was led by Dr Mel Nowicki, Professor Katherine Brickell and Dr Ella Harris.

“This research has really hammered home how terrifyingly easy it is to become homeless,” said Dr Nowicki.

“Everyone I interviewed just experienced a few bits of bad luck, or lacked a strong family support network."