Would you leave your baby to sleep outside in the cold during the afternoon? For most parents in the Nordic countries, the answer is clear: Of course!
A walk through Stockholm would allow visitors to see how parents enjoying a café latte in a café while their baby stroller stays at the entrance. Also, Swedes and visiting friends who accompany babies when they feel the need to sleep will be invited to leave the balcony or in the garden to rest.
In the winter, temperatures consistently reached in Stockholm of -5 degrees Celsius, but those visiting the Swedish capital could see many strollers with sleeping children left to entrance of an building.
“I think it is better for children to be in the fresh air as quickly as possible”, comments Lisa Mardon, a mother with three children in Stockholm. “Especially in winter, when many diseases are around, children seem healthier when they sleep outside”, said Mardon. His children slept outside since birth. The youngest of them, Alfred (2 years), sleeping in stroller outdoors once a day for 90 minutes. When Alfred was younger he was sleeping twice a day.
There is a new trend :: Lisa’s mother, Gunilla, said he did the same thing when her daughter was small. “Of course I do this. Lisa was important to have some fresh air and be healthy”, said Gunilla.
Also Lisa’s father, Peter, was left to sleep out in the 50s. Only when the temperature drops below -10 degrees Celsius parents brought him inside.
The babies who nap in sub-zero temperatures
Today, in most nurseries in Sweden children are left out when it comes to sleep. A visitor to a nursery at lunchtime can see carts lined up in the snow, with babies sleeping in them. At Forskolan Orren, a nursery on the outskirts of Stockholm, all children sleep outside until the age of three years. “When the temperature falls below -15 degrees Celsius cover with blankets carts”, says Brittmarie Carlzon, head teacher. “Temperature is not the only thing that matters, but how cold it feels outside. Sometimes the temperature can be -15 degrees Celsius but the wind feeling to be -20 degrees”, adds Carlzon. “Last year we had a few days with temperatures of -20 degrees Celsius. In those days we got the carts inside, but most of it was spent sleeping outside”, said the teacher.
The theory underlying this custom is that children who were exposed to fresh air or in the middle of summer or winter, are less likely to be affected by colds and other illnesses. Also think parents spend a whole day in a room with 30 other children do not do well.
Also, many parents believe that their babies sleep better and longer when they sleep outside, and the Finnish scientist claims to have conducted a survey among parents confirm this.
“Clearly, babies sleep more outside than inside”, says Marjo Tourula. If you sleep in the house take on average between 1 and 2 hours sleep outdoors last from 1.5 to 3 hours.
“Perhaps restricting movements to increase the duration of sleep clothing and cool environment allows wrapping baby out without causing overheating”, says Touroula.
According to studies conducted by Touroula, the ideal temperature for sleeping outdoors is -5 degrees Celsius, although some parents who let their children sleep dialogue outside and -30 degrees Celsius.
It is unclear whether babies who sleep out cool than the other children. “Some studies show that preschoolers who spent several hours in the open – not just sleeping – missing fewer days of kindergarten than those who spend more time indoors. But other studies have found a difference”, said Margareta Blennow pediatrician.
Babies often sleep outside cafes in Copenhagen too
Jarnstrom Martin, head of a group of nurseries in Sweden, is a big supporter of sleeping outdoors. However, Jarnstrom points out that although the weather may be cold, the baby needs to be warm. “It is very important for babies to have wool close to the body, warm clothes and a warm sleeping bag”, he said.
In fact, this thought is synthesized by a Swedish proverb: “no bad weather, only inappropriate clothing”. Also, another Swedish proverb says that “some fresh air did not hurt anyone”.
However, northern habits are not seen with good eyes elsewhere. In 2011, Massachusetts authorities were called by the public after a woman in Sweden has left a year-old baby in front of the restaurant for 10 minutes. Police and child protection authorities took the case, the woman said she “did nothing wrong and is perfectly normal in Sweden to leave babies alone in front of a restaurant”.