You might frown upon people leaving their babies out in the freezing weather, but that’s not the case in Scandinavia. Most Nordic parents wouldn’t think twice about it.
Strolling along the streets in the cities such as Copenhagen, Stockholm, and Reykjavík, you would find strollers lined up outside coffee shops. Their parents are sipping hot beverages indoors, while their babies are bundled up tightly, napping outdoors!
At daycare in Stockholm, children are put to sleep outside. This usually ends when they reach the age of three.
Leaving their babies outside in the cold is a Nordic tradition passed down from generations. It has become part of the baby’s daily routine. They believe this tradition makes the babies healthier.
“I think it’s good for them to be in the fresh air as soon as possible,” Lisa Mardon, a mother of three from Stockholm, told BBC.
“Especially in the winter when there’s lots of diseases going around… the kids seem healthier.”
And many experts are strong proponents of this age-old tradition.
During the early 20th century, a tuberculosis epidemic broke out in Iceland. It was during that time in 1926, that Dr. David Thorsteinsson contended the idea of letting their kids sleep outside in a stroller to strengthen their immune system.
Roland Sennerstam, a pediatric specialist in Sweden, claimed that spending a few more hours outdoors reduces the rate of catching deadly infections.
“It’s a misconception that cold temperatures make us sick,” said Sennerstam. “We get sick because we contract viruses and bacteria when we spend too much time inside, stand too close to each other on the subway, and so on.”
These Nordic parents feel that such a habit also enables their child to sleep better.
According to Outdoor Families magazine, a Swedish mother of two, Josephine Strand, said, “In my experience they sleep better outside since they get fresh air, and they also get used to sleeping with normal background noise.”
However, Martin Jarnstrom, head of an Ur och Skur group of pre-schools, stressed that the child must be kept warm when they are placed outside.
All in all, in spite of the above claims, Pediatrician Margareta Blennow said there’s no definite proof to support the benefits.
“In some studies they found pre-schoolers who spent many hours outside generally—not just for naps—took fewer days off than those who spent most of their time indoors,” Blennow told BBC. “In other studies there wasn’t a difference.”
Images credits: Video Screenshot | WatchZozo.