Most of us can appreciate a snowy Christmas season even if there are freezing cold temperatures. At some point, though, those cozy, cold winter days become tiresome.
The long, dark days combined with the constant need for shoveling and navigating through snow in many places can make even the biggest fans of winter weary. In the United States, children spend much of their time outdoors in the winter under the constant supervision of their parents or some other watchful eye.
It is even less common to see babies outside for the purpose of spending time outdoors rather than just being transported briefly from the car to a building. In Nordic countries, not only are the cold months embraced by adults and children, but by infants as well!
Parents purposely place babies and toddlers in strollers to nap outside. This concept strikes many as strange — or even dangerous.
Many of us may feel bad for even having a young baby exposed to the cold air briefly. However, it turns out that there may be hidden benefits for babies who nap outdoors in the winter!
Roland Sennerstam, a Swedish pediatric specialist, explained, “It’s a misconception that cold temperatures make us sick. We get sick because we contract viruses and bacteria when we spend too much time inside, stand too close to each other on the subway, and so on. The risk of getting infected is especially high at preschools, where you might have 20 children spending the whole day inside in a virtual cloud of germs.”
Therefore, the goal of having babies nap outdoors in the cold is based on this idea that the fresh air during winter is beneficial to the babies’ health. It is common to see strollers lined up outside of public places such as coffee shops, containing sleeping babies while the parents step inside to visit the shop.
In addition to the practice preventing colds, it also has another benefit any parent could appreciate. Babies tend to sleep better outdoors in the cold!
We all know how difficult it is to sleep in warmer temperatures. Many people purposely make bedrooms extra cool at night just so they can bundle up with a comfy blanket without getting too hot.
It is easier to swaddle babies without the risk of overheating when they are placed in the cold winter air. You may be wondering just how the cold is safe for babies.
Sennerstam said that generally babies can safely nap in temperatures as cold as -10 C (14 F). Other research revealed that -5 C is the ideal winter napping temperature.
However, some parents feel comfortable placing their sleeping babies outside for a nap in temperatures as low as -30 C. At what temperature would you feel comfortable placing your babies outdoors for a nap in the winter, if at all?
If you have any personal experience with this topic of placing babies outdoors during the winter for naps, please share with us in the comments. We would love to hear from you!