From Iceland — Australian TV Host Shocked By Icelandic Babies Sleeping Outside

Australian TV Host Shocked By Icelandic Babies Sleeping Outside

Published June 6, 2016

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Hvalreki/Virgile's Reykjavík Daily Photo Blog

An Australian mother of two was more than a little bit surprised by the Icelandic practice of letting babies sleep outdoors in their prams.

The Daily Mail reports that Jessica Rowe has paid a recent visit to Iceland, taking in the various and sundry wonders the country has to offer. One thing that caught her eye in particular: babies sleeping in prams outside of cafés.

For a helicopter parent like me- this makes me break out into a sweat! But all over Reykjavik families leave their babies outside cafes, shops etc… I'm told 'fresh air is good for them.' @sundaylifemag @airbnb #LiveThere #airbnb

A photo posted by Jessica Rowe (@jessjrowe) on

The practice is widespread across Iceland, and has been for many years now, often to the bemusement of visitors. However, a few caveats need to be given about this story.

First of all, this post was made on June 3. Despite the contention from the Daily Mail that the babies were “left out in the cold”, temperatures in Reykjavík on that day hovered in the 10°C to 15°C range.

Second, it must be emphasised that the babies in question are seldom if ever laying in their carriages completely uncovered. Rather, they are usually bundled in a kind of pram sleeping bag, more often than not with a porous blanket draped over the pram itself, to allow air to flow through while keeping heat trapped within.

Third, the Daily Mail asserts: “Most parents say they bring inside or at least cover up their children once the mercury hits -10, however some parents are content to leave them in the freezing cold at -30C.” No source is given for this assertion, but temperatures reaching as low as -30°C in Iceland is very rare. Typical Icelandic winters, especially in the capital area, usually hover around the freezing mark.

The Daily Mail did, though, generously admit that recent research has found -5°C to be an ideal temperature for outdoor napping.

While the practice might make foreign guests to Iceland scratch their heads, it is ubiquitous and has been ongoing for decades. As such, it is unlikely that the practice will fade any time soon.

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