About Us Contact Us Privacy Policy
GOOD is part of GOOD Worldwide Inc.
publishing family.
© GOOD Worldwide Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Scandinavian tradition of letting babies sleep outside in freezing cold is as bizzare as it gets

Daytime temperature in Nordic nations regularly drops to -5 degrees Celsius but it's still common to see children left outside by their parents for naps.

Scandinavian tradition of letting babies sleep outside in freezing cold is as bizzare as it gets
Representative Cover Image Source: Ten babies, all but one sleeping, rest in baskets on a porch outside of a maternity ward. (Photo by © Minnesota Historical Society/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

Ask a parent if they would want to put their toddler outside in the freezing cold for their lunchtime nap and chances are they would say a big "no" to the question. But most Nordic parents wouldn't think twice before agreeing to it. For them, it's part of their daily routine. A TikTok user, Olly Bowman (@mrmelk_), documented this phenomenon in a brief clip that started with a text overlay, "Another day in Norway, another group of babies left out alone in the cold."

Representative Image Source: Pexels| Yan Krukau
Representative Image Source: Pexels| Yan Krukau

In the video, Bowman films himself and a group of baby strollers lined up on the street behind him. At the same time, we see no parents standing beside the strollers. After showing his viewers a line of strollers, the user says, "It helps with their breathing and makes them more independent." He concludes the clip with the text overlay, "It is actually why so many people leave home earlier in Norway than other countries."

Image Source: TikTok I @xpistiva_xx
Image Source: TikTok I @xpistiva_xx
Image Source: TikTok I @on.dree.on.ahhh
Image Source: TikTok I @on.dree.on.ahhh

The video has left many viewers from other nations confused, with many commenting on how they would never be able to do this. @torres.alejandro said, "I refuse to believe people just leave babies out like that." Another user, @yourprettynurse_yayi, commented, "My American mindset is so messed up that I could never do that not even if I lived in Norway, lol."

This is not the first instance where babies are spotted taking a nap in the chilly weather. In September 2022, @annieineventyrland, a mom of four, posted a video of the same from Denmark. The clip showed a large group of baby strollers left outside while the mothers were shopping in a nearby store.

Representative Image Source: Pexels |  Esma Karagoz
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Esma Karagoz

The woman explained the norm of letting babies sleep outside in the cold. "The Danish practice of having your baby sleep outside in their stroller is not only the cultural norm but it's even recommended by your midwives and baby nurses," she said. She continued that babies are left outside "in all kinds of weather," dressed in "lightweight wool and a down duvet" to maintain their temperature. She also revealed that parents leave their children outside in the open and head off for shopping or sit in a coffee shop. However, these parents are always aware of the well-being and safety of their wards as they have a baby monitor in the stroller. 

It is not unusual for babies to nap outside in Nordic countries, including Denmark and Finland, per Business Insider. This practice is mostly seen in Nordic nations and the theory behind outdoor napping is that children should get exposed to fresh air, whether in summer or the depths of winter. Many parents also believe their children sleep better and for longer in the open. A Finnish researcher named Marjo Tourula backed the claim as she said, "Babies slept longer outdoors than indoors." She added, "While indoor naps lasted between one and two hours, outdoor naps lasted from 1.5 to three hours," per BBC.


Another TikTok user, Jules Warner (@younghomestead), uploaded a clip where she displayed how letting babies take a nap in cold conditions is beneficial for them. In the video, she revealed that her baby was tired and was not sleeping inside the house. So, she decided to take her out. The video captured Warner dragging her baby on a pram while she conveyed to her viewers that she was "waiting for her baby to fall asleep." The video then transitioned to the part where she revealed that her baby had fallen asleep within two minutes at a "-15" temperature. Similar videos of parents from Nordic countries have really baffled the internet. 

@younghomestead A long time ago I read that during the winter in scandinavian countries it’s common to bundle your baby up and put them outside in a bassinet for naps. I love sleeping in a cold room with a thick warm blanket so it made sense to me that that would be really cozy to a baby too. I’ve done this with both of my kids to help them fall asleep on days when they’re struggling to go down for naps and they usually fall asleep within the first few minutes of walking around outside #babysleeptips #babysleephelp #babymom #canadianwinter #homesteadfamily #homesteadmama ♬ original sound - 🇨🇦 Jules | Young Homestead


More Stories on Good