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  4. A TikToker reignited a conversation about Nordic parents leaving babies outside to sleep in the cold, a common practice that's shocked some viewers

A TikToker reignited a conversation about Nordic parents leaving babies outside to sleep in the cold, a common practice that's shocked some viewers

Andrew Lloyd   

A TikToker reignited a conversation about Nordic parents leaving babies outside to sleep in the cold, a common practice that's shocked some viewers
  • TikToker Olly Bowman shared a video of baby strollers left outside in the cold in Norway.
  • The upload received over 3.4 million views and prompted a conversation about the Nordic practice.

A video appearing to show strollers left outside unattended while babies slept sparked a conversation about the practice of letting babies nap alone in cold conditions.

On February 14, Australian TikToker Olly Bowman uploaded a video with the on-screen caption, "Another day in Norway, another group of babies left out alone in the cold."

In the clip, Bowman filmed himself while showing a group of baby strollers lined up on the street behind him, without any parents visible. "It helps with their breathing and makes them more independent," he said to the camera, shrugging.

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

Bowman's video was viewed over 3.4 million times and received over 4,000 comments. Some viewers were shocked at the concept, but many others seemed to interpret it as a positive that parents would feel comfortable leaving their children unsupervised without worrying about them being in danger.

In particular, various viewers compared it to attitudes in the US, where many parents are fearful of their children's safety at school, especially following high-profile shootings.

"Babies being left outside for mums to shop and in America we are scared to send any age to school," read one comment on Bowman's video which received 1,188 likes.

This isn't the first time the concept has gone viral. In September 2022, a TikToker and mom of four who goes by @annieineventyrland uploaded a video about the same practice in Denmark.

@annieineventyrland ♬ path of the wind ~ my neighbor totoro lofi - Closed on Sunday

In the TikTok, which was viewed over 16 million times, clips of baby strollers seemingly left alone on a street and under a tree could be seen as a video voiceover said, "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."

They continued by saying babies are left outside "in all sorts of weather" and are "dressed in lightweight wool and have a down duvet" which regulates their temperature, while their parents may be shopping or sitting in a coffee shop. They added the parents "always keep a close eye" or have a baby monitor in the stroller.

Online discussions around the practice date back to at least January 2020, when Danish musician Amalie Bruun posted a photo to Instagram of her then four-month-old son, saying he "sleeps outside most of the time."

Insider reported at the time that it's not unusual for babies to be left outside to nap in Nordic countries, including Denmark and Finland.

A study published in 2008 found that children "took longer naps outdoors compared with naps taken indoors," It also gathered Finnish parents' thoughts on the concept and concluded it was a "common practice" that usually started when the child was two weeks old, and was carried out once a day.

There are potential benefits to outdoor napping conditions, including potentially longer and better quality sleep, as well as reduced exposure to germs compared to sleeping indoors, Katie Palmer, a London-based sleep consultant, previously told Insider. There are also risks though, including hypothermia in the winter and sunburn in the summer, exposure to pollution, and potential risk of abduction if parents are not supervising their children.

Palmer said she would neither encourage nor dissuade her clients to let their babies sleep outside, "provided that they were being safe and sensible and keeping an eye on their baby."

For more stories like this, check out coverage from Insider's Digital Culture team here.


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