An Aussie man living in Norway has clocked more than 14 million views on a clip that show about a dozen babies sleeping outside in their strollers in freezing temperatures.
Olly Bowman, 22, from Sydney, shared the TikTok about a week ago but the “unusual” act continues to attract thousands of comments sparking a conversation about the practice of letting babies nap alone in cold conditions.
“Another day in Norway, another group of babies left out alone in the cold,” he said in the clip.
“Look at how many there are,” he continued as he as he showed a bunch of prams lined up. “It helps with their breathing and makes them more independent,” he joked.
“It’s actually why so many people leave home earlier in Norway than other countries.”
His clip has been viewed millions of times and attracting over 16,000 comments from many, particularly Americans, in disbelief.
“This is so wild to me. I dream of knowing my kids are always safe,” one woman wrote.
“I’ve seen this it’s wild and I’m envious that we live in fear of abduction,” wrote another.
While the act has left many in shock, others were more familiar with it.
“My Norwegian neighbour convinced me to do this and my youngest [does] not get sick as often as my oldest,” one mum wrote.
“They do this so we don’t get cold ever,” said another, while a third added: “As a Scandi baby, it adapts us to the cold too!!”
It’s not unusual for babies to be left outside to nap in Nordic countries, including Denmark and Finland, according to Insider.
The publication reported that in those places, parents commonly put their babies down for a nap outdoors because babies may get better sleep while being exposed to fresh air.
In 1926, Icelandic doctor David Thorsteinsson published a pedagogy book that argued parents should let their children sleep outside in their strollers to get fresh air, even in cold weather, to strengthen their immune systems.
“It’s recommended by our doctors and midwives. Chilly fresh air makes for amazing sleep,” one woman wrote on Olly’s clip. “They’re warm and cozy inside their strollers!”
“Normal in many daycares in Sweden as well – good for the immune system,” said another.
Olly recorded a follow up video asking locals in Bislett, Oslo, if they had any worries about leaving their children unattended in strollers after his initial clip raised concerns about their safety.
“There’s this thing going around that Scandinavian parents feel comfortable leaving their babies outside to sleep alone. I’m just curious on your thoughts,” he asked a few locals.
“It’s OK. It depends on where you are though. I don’t think anyone would take our babies here (in Oslo) if we parked it outside (a cafe), no problem,” the man told Olly.
“I know people do that but we haven’t done it. Not in the city centre. I know a lot of prams have been stolen as well, but people don’t steal the prams when there are babies inside of them, but still we don’t want to risk it.”
Another local said they feel safe leaving their baby in a stroller in the countryside.
“I could leave her outside for a second or two at a cafe if I’m going inside for a coffee,” a woman said. “But I always want to supervise her, I want to see her and make sure she’s not crying or anything.
“But she’s a newborn so if she’s a but older I would maybe contemplate leaving her for a bit longer.”
The rate of kidnapping in Norway is 0.02 per 1,000 residents during a standard year, according to CrimeGrade.org.
In comparison, a child goes missing or is abducted every 40 seconds in the US.
Many Americans commented on Olly’s clip saying they would never feel safe enough to do such an act.
“Babies [are] being left outside for mums to shop and in America we are scared to send any age to school,” one person wrote.
In January 2020 Danish musician Amalie Bruun went viral when she shared a photo to Instagram of herself and four-month-son exploring their garden.
Otto was awake in the image, but Bruun shared that her son “sleeps outside most of the time”.
A woman from Germany said it is a “common act” and has many friends who do it.
“There’s a saying ‘there’s no such thing as bad weather only bad clothes’, so they just wrap the baby.”
A 2008 Finnish study found that children “took longer naps outdoors compared with naps taken indoors”.
However, there is a risk of hypothermia in the cold weather, and experts say it’s critical that children are bundled up properly when outside.
“A baby’s temperature can drop four times faster than adults, and they can become hypothermic,” Dr Jennifer Shu, a paediatrician in Atlanta, Georgia, told Insider in 2020.
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