Having a child makes you want to protect it from everything and everyone. Most parents therefore tend to never loose sight of their children, especially when they are young. Even when they’re asleep, there’s a monitor present to assure everything’s fine. And most of us wouldn’t even think to leave a baby alone in their pram, especially not out on the street. Nonetheless, in a lot of Nordic countries, it’s a common sight. Parents leave their babies in their buggy when they’re inside a store or coffee house, often resulting in streets lined with prams, even during the coldest months of the year.
“It’s a practice that has been around for a longtime, when the traditional houses were made out of peat and badly aerated, when people cooked inside on a wood fire. It was considered as better for the child to leave them outside”, 38 year-old Petur, living in Iceland, told Parents magazine.
For generations on end, people in the Nordic countries have been leaving their children outside, even during wintertime, and the whole principle just seems normal nowadays. Danish musician Amalie Bruun, for example, told her followers on Instagram that her son sleeps outside most of the time.
More recently, TikToker Annie explained the practice to her followers. She says it is very common to leave your stroller outside, even though most parents place a monitor inside to keep an eye on their child anyway. In Denmark, where she lives, the practice even gets recommended by midwives. It’s said to strengthen a baby’s immune system and to make them sleep better. Parents simply protect their children against the cold by wrapping them in wooden clothes and blankets.
As far as science goes, not a lot has been proven. Marjo Tourula, from the Finnish university of Oulu, carried out a study in 2011, saying baby’s sleep better in the cold (with temperatures around -5°C being ideal), as long as the nap doesn’t exceed 3 hours. Moreover, according to the study, a child’s immune system is boosted by leaving them sleep outside, as long as the temperatures vary between -10°C and 25°C. A study from 2008, also carried out in Finland by Marjo Tourula, states that the practice starts around the age of two weeks, with 88 percent of parents stating their child clearly enjoyed sleeping outdoors.