A video posted on TikTok gained millions of views after it showed strollers being left alone on the street while babies napped inside them. This may seem unusual to most people, but this happens to be the cultural norm in Denmark. And now we’re sharing more details about this viral clip and other interesting facts about outdoor sleeping for infants.
The video was uploaded by a mom who lives in Denmark.
Annie Samples is a mom of 4. She’s an American, but their whole family moved to Denmark about 3 years ago after her husband’s company opened an office there. She said she had heard about babies napping outside before they flew there, but she was still pleasantly surprised when she actually saw people doing it.
This practice is recommended by Danish midwives and baby nurses.
In the video, Samples mentioned that fresh air helps the little ones sleep better. “Napping your baby in their stroller outside is done in all sorts of weather. Babies are dressed in lightweight wool and have a down duvet, which regulates the baby’s body temperature and keeps them warm without overheating,” she added.
The mom also said it’s perfectly normal for parents to leave their babies sleeping outside while they shop or have coffee. But moms and dads always keep an eye on their newborns, and strollers usually have baby monitors with them.
Even at home, Samples puts the stroller outside the door while her baby takes a snooze. “It’s for her to get the benefits of fresh air. It’s her most familiar sleeping surface at this point,” she explained. “And I love that whenever my family and I want to go somewhere while she’s napping, we’re never stuck at home.”
This is also considered safe to do in their country.
This practice is so common there, that they even have “stroller parking spots” outside of business establishments and in public parks. “Babies here don’t get kidnapped because no one wants the responsibility of someone else’s kid.” And for those who do want to have children of their own, their local healthcare system offers help at little to no cost.
“Another result of our healthcare system, social services, and tight-knit communities is that there are endless checks and balances in place to ensure the welfare and safety of children all over the country,” Samples explained.
Based on this 2022 report of the Safest Countries in the World, Denmark ranked fairly high in the 4th spot. This level of security and safety allows children to enjoy more freedom and independence. This website states that it’s common to see kids ages 8-9 traveling alone on public transport, and other passengers look out for them.
Outdoor sleeping for babies is also done in other countries.
This practice is also popular in Nordic countries, where children nap out in the open — even in sub-zero temperatures. Some studies have also shown that kids who slept outside tend to be less sick than those who spent more time indoors. Although, it’s important to note that other studies showed no difference.
According to Samples, dozing off outside is supposed to help the infant’s immune system, but it brings benefits for the family as well. “What my visiting nurse emphasized most to me is that it would help with my stress levels and help the family function better.”
Samples also shared that in the United States, they mostly stayed inside the house and were forced to stay quiet while the tiny bub drifted off to dreamland. “We really enjoy the freedom of not having to do that anymore,” she said.
Internet users had mixed reactions about the video.
In the comment thread of her post, TikTokers shared their thoughts about leaving babies outside unattended. “Imagine feeling this safe in a country,” one user said. “Meanwhile, in the States, you can’t even leave your Amazon boxes outside for too long,” someone said in jest. “In our country, we’d go to jail if we did this,” another user chimed in.
As for Samples, her ultimate goal in sharing the video was to make people “consider why the Danish healthcare system and social services allow us to live in a society that’s so safe and functional.”
Would this practice of leaving babies outside to sleep work where you live? What other baby-related customs seem unusual for the rest of the world but are absolutely normal in your country?