You know how everyone says that eventually we all turn into our mothers? Well, they’re right. My mom has eternally baffled me by insisting that I will catch a cold if I expose my chest to cool air in the winter. Where’s your scarf? Cover up! You’re going to catch a cold! Being the logical being that I am, I have always countered with, Mom, colds are caused by viruses, not cold air. Then I became a mother. During the coldest NYC winter days, my child and I basically became shut-ins because I was sure he would catch a cold if I took him out.
Apparently, Swedish mothers don’t bat an eye at taking their children out in the cold. In fact, many opt to let them nap in sub-zero temps, believing that the fresh, cold air keeps them healthy:
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.
I would never fathom doing this in NYC. I would be too afraid someone would steal my stroller and inadvertently end up with a bonus baby. Actually, I have a crap stroller so I probably wouldn’t have to worry about theft. But since this behavior isn’t the norm in NYC – I’m pretty sure I could expect a call to Child Protective Services.
It is also common for preschools to entertain children outdoors, a practice that does not stop on cold days. They do everything most children do indoors. They only go inside at mealtimes.”The theory behind outdoor napping is that children exposed to fresh air, whether in summer or the depths of winter, are less likely to catch coughs and colds – and that spending a whole day in one room with 30 other children does them no good at all.” Sounds pretty logical to me.
I probably won’t be letting my child nap in sub-zero temperatures any time soon. But knowing that this is a practice regarded as not just normal but healthy by many parents makes me want to ease up a little on my inherited “cold” paranoia. My child probably doesn’t need to be bundled up within an inch of his life to play outside in the winter. Maybe I won’t follow their lead, but I will definitely chill out. (Horrible pun not intended.)