'They leave their babies outside in the cold!' Controversial approach to parenting sparks debate

By Litaletu Zidepa
08 June 2016

Parents in Nordic countries are said to be all for leaving their children to sleep outside in sub-zero temperatures.

An Australian TV host was shocked to discover a strange Nordic parenting practice while on holiday in Iceland. Jessica Rowe caused a social media storm when she took to Instagram to share a photo of a baby sleeping in a pram outside a restaurant in the freezing cold. “This makes me break out into a sweat!" the journalist, author and television personality captioned the snap, "But all over Reykjavik families leave their babies outside cafes, shops etc... I'm told 'fresh air is good for them'."

It turns out leaving the little ones to nap in the cold is actually an age-old technique.

According to MailOnline, sleeping outside in chilly climes could actually improve your child’s health.

“Parents throughout Scandinavia have been exposing their children to the cold for decades and claim that despite popular belief it actually improves their health,” the outlet claims, citing a study that found -5C is the best temperature for an outdoor snooze.

A mother-of-three from Stockholm in Sweden, Lisa Mardon, swears by the technique. Her children have been sleeping outside since they were born.

"I think it's good for them to be in the fresh air as soon as possible," she told the BBC in 2013.

"Especially in the winter when there's lots of diseases going around... the kids seem healthier."

BBC notes that most nursery schools and creche's in Sweden leave the children outside to rest and "it's common to see rows of prams lined up in the snow at nap-time, with youngsters fast asleep inside."

The aforementioned study, conducted in 2008 by the National Center for Biotechnology Information claims, "Most parents say they bring inside or at least cover up their children once the mercury hits -10, however some parents are content to leave them in the freezing cold at -30C."

Researchers added that Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik, even promotes the parenting technique on their tourism website because of the health benefits for kids.

“You’ll find a high chair in every café and see babies sleeping in their buggies outside on the sidewalk while their parents are inside,” it reads.

But not everyone was in favour of the practice.

One of Jessica's followers wrote, “What if the baby was kidnapped?” while another user shared her opinion, “Never seen this before @jessjrowe but it makes me nervous to say the least!”

Another commenter pointed out that it wasn't just the cold that was cause for concern.

"If you can leave your baby to sleep outside cafes or shops it means that you live in stable, peaceful and safe country. #iceland is such an amazing place, undoubtedly."

What are your thoughts on this technique? Have your say on our Facebook page.

Read more:

Mom left fuming after finding ‘drugs’ in her daughter’s room – but she couldn’t have been more wrong

Controversial ‘self-save’ video shows baby girl struggling in pool as her mom looks on

This new mom learned she had a boy instead of a girl – and her face says it all

Sources: MailOnline, TheSun 

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