Babies Who Nap In Sub-Zero Temps Make Me Feel Like A Paranoid Parent

shutterstock_73527301Nordic mothers who choose to let their baby nap in sub-zero temperatures make me feel like an extremely paranoid parent.

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.)

(photo: ygor/

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You can reach this post's author, Maria Guido, on twitter.
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  • newshound

    story stolen from the bbc

    • Helen Hyde

      It’s not really stolen, she is quoting… But she should say where her quote is from…

    • dave

      “You can reach this post’s author, Maria Guido, on twitter.”

      It reads like she wrote it. It was written by Helena Lee for the BBC. @HelenaLee1

    • Nerdy Lucy

      Maria is the author of THIS post, not the article she is quoting in this very post. That is why it says that you can reach the author of this post, not the author of the original article quoted.

    • Guerrilla Mom

      Thanks, Lucy ;)

    • Eve Vawter

      Please clarify this for the complainers using hand puppets please

    • Nerdy Lucy

      But I do understand that maybe it should’ve been more clear where the original article was found, etc.

      She did indeed hyperlink to the BBC article, but it wasn’t technically mentioned by name.

    • Guerrilla Mom

      What in the world are you talking about? This post was written by me. The quote (in italics) was hyperlinked above.

    • Eve Vawter

      God Maria stop stealing stories from the BBC and quoting them and sourcing the original article and linking to them like you are some woman named Helen Lee even though your name is Maria and you linked to the original article and sourced it sheesh. <3

    • Helen Hyde

      Im sorry, I didn’t see the hyperlink, my bad.

  • jill thompson

    Think you will find the same story was on the bbc website a few days ago.

  • chickadee

    The BBC article also includes some information that this one does not; specifically, that the babies are bundled in wool and temperature-specific sleeping bags. Unless you have garbed your baby in North Face cold weather camping gear, I wouldn’t get this experiment.

  • Sandy

    Living in Denmark, it never crossed my mind that outside napping was anything but normal. Well maybe in some crime ridden cities, but in the privacy of your own yard? Please. Its not like the kids are cold- they are very well wrapped in both covers and thick winterclothes. They are as warm as anyone in a sub-zero sleeping bag. In the spring and fall I seen parents worry if their little one is too WARM sleeping outside

    it is funny how different it can be, across cultures

  • kristine

    I dont have kids myself. But I am from Norway and I was a ‘sub zero napper’. In truth: I was never sick as a child so there might be something to the health-benefits. Other than that: I remember it being quite nice:-) I dont remember alot of course, but I remember waking up, being unwrapped and carried inside. I napped outside at daycare with the other kids.