TikTok Showing Norwegian Tradition Of Leaving Babies To Sleep Outside In The Cold Stuns Americans

Imagine you are walking down the street on a cold February morning, and you see an unattended flock of strollers. This might seem a bit strange, but then you notice, there are live babies inside each, just sleeping in the freezing winter air. Even stranger, all the passersby seem to think this is normal and don’t pay any attention to the dozen or so babies outside, alone.

Well, this was the surprised reaction many people had to Australian TikToker Olly Bowman’s post about the situation described above. He shared a clip of babies sleeping in strollers outside and gave some context about the tradition.

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For most people, unattended children left in the cold would be cause for concern

Image credits: mrmelk_

This man nonchalantly passed a crowd of baby buggies laying around outside

Image credits: mrmelk_

This is completely normal in Norway, even in winter

Image credits: mrmelk_

Parents just leave them outside to sleep in the fresh air

Image credits: mrmelk_

Locals believe it has health and psychological benefits for growing children

Image credits: mrmelk_

He believes it also explains why Norwegians are early risers

Image credits: mrmelk_

Watch the full video here

@mrmelk_ True story #viking #ting ♬ original sound – Olly Bowman

Norway isn’t alone, many people in the Nordic countries prefer to let babies sleep outside

While the actual practice might be older, pediatricians in Scandinavia started actively promoting the idea of letting children nap outside in the 1920s. The poor air quality indoors was a major factor at the time, as the average house was built for insulation, not ventilation. At the time, they believed that cold air helps with circulation and strengthens the baby’s immune system. While most commenters wondered about the kidnapping risks, the Nordic countries have relatively low crime rates and are often described as high-trust societies. The primary risk to the child is from cold-related injuries and conditions.

Despite the risks and limited evidence of any benefits, most parents in Scandinavia still feel like it’s a normal practice. In a study of Finnish parents, the child having a cold and nearby smoker were perceived as the main barriers. It is important to note that the parents would rarely be far from the child since surveys showed that most would actively monitor the weather and noise conditions of the area. Even parents who were skeptical of the practice still would leave their children to sleep outdoors, as they see it as a cultural practice. This, arguably, means the tradition has more mental benefits for the parents than health benefits for the kids.

The great outdoors is a great place for a kid, with the right supervision

If a parent wants to try this with their child but lives in a risky area, or a country where leaving their kid unattended is the norm, there are still a few things they can try. If it’s cold out, just open a window to simulate the outdoors where the baby is sleeping. In the US, it may be risky even in safe areas. For example, in 1997, a Danish woman in New York City was arrested for leaving her baby in a stroller outside a restaurant while she ate. The police held her in jail for 36 hours. In Scandinavia, many strollers come with wheel locks and parents can also buy wedges that keep it stationary on an incline or in high wind. Some places also sell insulated strollers and video monitors for the parent to keep an eye on.

While cold weather specifically might not be that beneficial for a baby, being in a natural environment is. Studies have shown that playing outdoors helps a child’s immune system develop. This is why many Scandinavian countries use nature-focused daycares. Some classes are even held outside in Denmark, as a way to maintain the child’s health. Some go as far as to hold most activities in nature, as part of the forest school program. The goal is to spend as much time outdoors as possible and to remove any fear or unease of nature that kids from urban environments often develop.

American commenters express their surprise at how safe Norway must be

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Some commenters added that most Nordic countries and some others actually practice this

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The post TikTok Showing Norwegian Tradition Of Leaving Babies To Sleep Outside In The Cold Stuns Americans first appeared on Bored Panda.

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