nap time

Americans Are Reacting To A Viral Video Of Norwegian Babies Sleeping Alone Outside

Viewers in the United States are shocked babies can be left alone without fear of crime or consequences.

A video has gone viral of a crowd of unattended baby carriers in Norway, sitting in the cold.
TikTok / Olly Bowman

In the United States, leaving your child outside in their stroller while you grab coffee with a friend would get you on the 6 o’clock news. However, in other parts of the world, this is totally normal. A TikTok video is going viral and reigniting a conversation about the Nordic practice of letting babies sleep outside alone in the cold.

TikToker Olly Bowman uploaded the video, which now has over 7.5 million views, where he films himself walking the streets of Norway.

“Another day in Norway, another group of babies left out alone in the cold,” he says while panning to a group of several baby strollers lined up on the street behind him.

There is not a parent to be seen.

“It helps with their breathing and makes them more independent,” he said to the camera. “It’s actually why so many people leave home earlier in Norway than other countries.”

Bowman’s comment section was flooded with thousands of people from other countries flabbergasted that parents can just leave their babies outside unattended and not have to worry about a damn thing.

One TikTok user wrote, “It is insane thinking of people in Norway not having to worry about American things.”

Many in the comments were worried about baby abductions.

“I’m envious that we live in fear of abduction,” one American wrote.

In the United States, the vast majority of kidnappings are by people you know (like non-custodial parents or grandparents) and only about 350 (one percent of missing children) are by strangers. Still, maybe that number would go up if we had babies sitting unsupervised on every corner.

Another echoed, “Babies being left outside for mums to shop and in America we are scared to send any age to school.” This commenter is seemingly hinting towards every parent’s nightmare of their child being a victim on gun violence.

Nationwide, there have been a total of 71 mass shootings this year so far. And we’re only halfway through February. So, she’s got a point there.

Another user referenced a Norwegian couple who tried this Scandinavian practice in America and were actually arrested.

And that’s true. In 1997, Danish actress Anette Sørensen, left her 14th month-old outside a New York City restaurant while she and her husband had drinks inside, reported the BBC. They repeatedly checked on the baby. However, patrons still called police, and they were arrested on child endangerment charges.

What’s a normalized cultural practice in one place is straight-up against the law in other places.

The BBC says even preschools have babies nap outside.

The head teacher Brittmarie Carlzon is quoted as saying, “When the temperature drops to -15C (5F) we always cover the prams with blankets … It’s not only the temperature that matters, it’s also how cold it feels. Some days it can be -15C but it actually feels like -20C (-4F) because of the wind.” On those days below -4F, they bring the kids inside.

Linda McGurk, author of There’s No Such Thing As Bad Weather, says the Scandinavians cite many benefits to having babies nap outside.

She refers to the concept of friluftsliv, which basically translates to “spending time outdoors to get a change of scenery and experience nature with no pressure to compete or achieve.”

Love that!

Scandinavian parents claim that their babies actually nap better outside.

The claim is based off the theory that babies get sick less often when they’re exposed to the outdoors instead of inside a germ-infested preschool room with 30 other kids. McGurk explained on Rain or Shine Mama that studies have proven kids who go to forest schools, where they spend most of the day outside, take fewer sick days than kids in traditional schools.

A study published in 2008 found that children “took longer naps outdoors” compared to indoor naps. Must be all that fresh air!

If you’re thinking of trying this out your baby, it’s probably best to stick to your own backyard for now. America has a ways to go before we’re leaving kids outside willy-nilly.