Photo: Kvitka FabianShutterstock

Why You See so Many Babies In Denmark Sleeping Outside and Alone in Strollers

Family Travel
Photo: Kvitka FabianShutterstock
Olivia Harden
Oct 3, 2022

Parenting styles are different in different countries. And in Denmark and other Scandinavian countries, one of those differences is that parents leave their babies in a stroller alone to nap in backyards, parks, and outside of restaurants and shops.


♬ path of the wind ~ my neighbor totoro lofi – Closed on Sunday

The practice has led to a wide range of reactions from people in other regions, with many in disbelief that anyone would allow their baby to sleep outside like that.

“I can’t even leave my lunch in the fridge at work!” Pamela Sanchez (dragnldy25) commented.

In Denmark, parents often leave their kids bundled up to breathe fresh air (with a baby monitor to make sure everyone is safe, of course). The thinking goes that sleeping outside is good for the immune systems and reduces the risk of cough, colds, and infection by building natural immunity and reducing the number of microbes babies would interact with indoors. In 1926, an Icelandic doctor, David Thorsteinsson, suggested that sleeping outside was good for babies and suggested that parents bundle up their babies in strollers even in cold temperatures. A 2008 Finnish study by the National Centre for Biotechnology Information found that parents said their children take more prolonged and deeper naps when they sleep outside in warm clothes due to the fresh air and the peaceful sounds of nature.

“That’s amazing.. In our country, we’d go jail if we did this,” user @Jane Halaifonua-WalmWow commented, and she’s not wrong. While this is very common in Nordic countries like Iceland, Sweden, and Finland, a woman from Denmark left her baby outside a New York City restaurant for a nap in 1997 and spent 36 hours in jail after being arrested for child endangerment.

Of course, this is also a major convenience for parents who’d like a little alone time to sit at a restaurant or go for a walk in the park. And it helps that parents feel extremely safe leaving their children alone in countries where this is normal. Denmark’s Ministry of Social Affairs and Senior Citizens reported only 97 child abductions between the ages of 0 and 16, and US News ranks the country as the second safest country in the world, trailing slightly behind Switzerland.

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