LOCKDOWN has been linked to a widening disadvantage gap for babies and toddlers, a study has revealed.

Babies and toddlers from disadvantaged backgrounds have been missing out on activities to support their development, compared to better off parents.

The study has been led by Oxford Brookes University researcher Nayeli Gonzalez-Gomez in collaboration with Alexandra Hendry at the University of Oxford, and three other UK researchers.

More than 500 parents across the UK have taken part in the Social Distancing and Development Study (SDDS).

See also: Lidl set to open in Oxfordshire town

Parents were asked about time spent doing enriching activities with their child, and the amount of screen time, before and during lockdown.

Ninety per cent reported an increase in enriching activities during lockdown, however disadvantaged parents were less likely to engage, with children more likely to have higher screen time.

Dr Gonzalez-Gomez said: “The closure of playgrounds and libraries has disproportionately impacted children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

“Access to communal outdoor spaces and resources such as libraries should only be restricted as a last resort.”