The babies who nap in sub-zero temperatures

Would you put your baby or toddler outside in the freezing cold for their lunchtime nap? Most Nordic parents wouldn’t give it a second thought. For them it’s part of their daily routine.

Daytime temperatures this winter in Stockholm have regularly dropped to -5C (23F) but it’s still common to see children left outside by their parents for a sleep in the pram.

Wander through the snowy city and you’ll see buggies lined up outside coffee shops while parents sip on lattes inside.

And if you are visiting friends and your child needs a nap, you may be offered the garden or balcony instead of a bedroom.

“I think it’s good for them to be in the fresh air as soon as possible,” says Lisa Mardon, a mother-of-three from Stockholm, who works for a food distribution company.

“Especially in the winter when there’s lots of diseases going around… the kids seem healthier.”

Her children have been sleeping outside since they were born.

The youngest, Alfred, is two and she puts him outside in the pram to nap once a day, for an hour and a half. When he was younger he slept outside twice a day.

This isn’t a recent fashion. Lisa’s mother, Gunilla, now 61, says she also did it with Lisa when she was a baby.

“Yes we were doing it back then as well… It was important for her to get fresh air and stay healthy,” Gunilla says.

And Lisa’s father, Peter, was put outside by his mother to sleep in a pram in the 1950s. Only when it got to around -10C (14F) did she bring him indoors.

Nowadays most day-care centres in Sweden put children outside to rest. It’s common to see rows of prams lined up in the snow at nap-time, with youngsters fast asleep inside.

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