danish babies sleep outside year round

The Danish Secret to Well-Rested Babies: Year-Round Outdoor Sleep

1. The Traditional Practice in Denmark: Babies’ Sleep Arrangements

In Denmark, it is a common practice for babies to sleep outdoors year-round. This tradition dates back several decades and is deeply rooted in Danish culture. Danish parents believe that sleeping outside provides numerous benefits for their babies, including fresh air and exposure to nature.

The traditional sleep arrangement for Danish babies involves placing them in a pram or stroller with warm blankets and a protective cover. These prams are designed to provide a safe and comfortable sleeping environment, even in colder temperatures. Parents often take their babies for walks during the day, allowing them to nap outside while enjoying the soothing motion of the stroller.

Historical Background

The practice of outdoor sleeping for babies in Denmark can be traced back to the early 20th century when it was first introduced as part of a public health initiative. At the time, Denmark had high infant mortality rates, and experts believed that fresh air and exposure to sunlight could improve overall health outcomes for infants.

Over time, outdoor sleeping became ingrained in Danish culture and was embraced by parents as a natural way to promote their babies’ well-being. Today, it is considered a normal part of parenting in Denmark and is supported by both healthcare professionals and childcare institutions.

Benefits of Outdoor Sleeping

  • Fresh Air: Sleeping outdoors allows babies to breathe fresh air, which can help improve respiratory health and reduce the risk of allergies.
  • Natural Stimulation: Being exposed to nature stimulates babies’ senses and encourages their cognitive development.
  • Vitamin D Production: Sunlight exposure helps the body produce vitamin D, which is essential for bone development and overall health.
  • Improved Sleep Patterns: Many parents report that their babies sleep better and longer when they nap outside, possibly due to the calming effects of nature.

2. How Common is Year-Round Outdoor Sleeping for Danish Parents?

Factors Influencing the Popularity of Year-Round Outdoor Sleeping

Year-round outdoor sleeping for Danish parents is a common practice that has been passed down through generations. The tradition is deeply rooted in Danish culture and is influenced by several factors. Firstly, Denmark has a mild climate compared to many other countries, making it feasible for babies to sleep outside throughout the year. Additionally, Danish parents believe that fresh air and exposure to nature have numerous health benefits for their babies, which further encourages them to embrace this practice.

Varying Adoption Rates Across Different Regions

While year-round outdoor sleeping is prevalent among Danish parents, the adoption rates can vary across different regions of the country. In rural areas and smaller towns, where access to nature is more abundant, this practice is more commonly observed. On the other hand, in urban areas with limited green spaces, some parents may opt for alternative methods such as using balconies or terraces as outdoor sleeping spaces.

3. The Benefits of Danish Babies Sleeping Outside Year-Round

Sleeping outside year-round offers numerous benefits for Danish babies’ health and development:

  • Strengthened Immune System: Exposure to fresh air helps build a stronger immune system, reducing the risk of allergies and respiratory illnesses.
  • Better Sleep Quality: The natural environment promotes deeper and more restful sleep for babies.
  • Vitamin D Absorption: Sunlight exposure aids in the production of vitamin D, essential for bone health and overall well-being.
  • Mental Stimulation: Being outdoors exposes babies to various sensory experiences, stimulating their cognitive development.
  • Enhanced Motor Skills: Outdoor sleeping allows babies to move freely and explore their surroundings, contributing to the development of motor skills.

4. Ensuring Safety and Comfort: Danish Babies Sleeping Outdoors in Different Weather Conditions

Appropriate Clothing and Bedding for Different Seasons

Danish parents prioritize ensuring the safety and comfort of their babies during outdoor sleeping, regardless of the weather conditions. They carefully choose appropriate clothing and bedding to protect their little ones from extreme temperatures. In colder months, babies are dressed in multiple layers, including woolen or thermal clothing, hats, mittens, and warm blankets. During warmer seasons, lighter clothing made from breathable fabrics is preferred.

Sheltered Sleeping Arrangements

To shield babies from rain or strong winds, Danish parents often use specially designed outdoor cribs or prams with protective covers. These covers are adjustable to provide ventilation while keeping the baby sheltered from harsh weather elements. Additionally, some parents position the crib under a covered porch or use canopies to create a more protected sleeping environment.

5. Cultural and Historical Reasons Behind Danish Babies Sleeping Outside

The tradition of Danish babies sleeping outside has deep cultural and historical roots:

  • Historical Norms: Historically, Denmark had limited indoor space in homes, leading families to utilize outdoor areas for various activities including baby sleep.
  • Danes have a strong connection with nature and believe that exposing babies to fresh air fosters a sense of well-being and harmony with the environment.
  • Danish society places a high level of trust in their communities, including neighbors and childcare providers, which contributes to the comfort and safety of outdoor sleeping arrangements.

6. Scientific Studies on the Effects of Outdoor Sleeping on Danish Babies’ Health and Development

Several scientific studies have explored the effects of outdoor sleeping on Danish babies:

Improved Respiratory Health

A study conducted by researchers at Aarhus University found that Danish babies who slept outdoors had a lower risk of developing respiratory infections compared to those who primarily slept indoors. The fresh air and reduced exposure to indoor pollutants were believed to contribute to this positive outcome.

Enhanced Sleep Patterns

Another study published in the Journal of Pediatrics revealed that infants who regularly slept outside experienced longer periods of uninterrupted sleep compared to their counterparts who slept indoors. The natural environment provided a calming effect, resulting in improved sleep patterns.

7. Guidelines and Recommendations: Outdoor Sleeping for Danish Babies

The Danish Health Authority provides guidelines and recommendations for outdoor sleeping:

  • Safe Sleeping Environment: It is important to ensure that the outdoor sleeping area is free from hazards such as sharp objects or excessive sunlight exposure.
  • Moderate Weather Conditions: It is recommended to avoid extreme weather conditions such as storms or extremely low temperatures when allowing babies to sleep outside.
  • Supervision: Parents should always keep an eye on their baby while they are sleeping outdoors, even if they are within a trusted childcare facility.

8. Accommodating Outdoor Sleeping in Extreme Weather: Danish Childcare Facilities

Danish childcare facilities are well-equipped to accommodate outdoor sleeping in extreme weather conditions:

Indoor Alternatives

During severe weather conditions, such as heavy snowfall or storms, Danish childcare facilities have designated indoor areas where babies can sleep. These spaces are designed to mimic the outdoor environment as closely as possible, with appropriate temperature and ventilation settings.

Childcare staff in Denmark undergo specialized training to ensure they are knowledgeable about providing safe and comfortable outdoor sleeping experiences for babies. They are trained to monitor weather conditions and make informed decisions regarding outdoor or indoor sleeping arrangements based on the best interests of the child.

9. Beyond Denmark: Countries with Similar Approaches to Year-Round Outdoor Baby Sleep

While Denmark is renowned for its tradition of year-round outdoor baby sleep, several other countries also embrace this practice:


In neighboring Norway, parents commonly let their babies sleep outside in prams regardless of the season. This practice is believed to promote good health and resilience.


Similar to Denmark, Swedish parents encourage outdoor sleeping for their babies throughout the year. It is seen as a way to strengthen the bond between children and nature.


The Netherlands also has a culture of allowing babies to sleep outdoors. Dutch parents believe that fresh air contributes to their baby’s well-being and helps them develop a strong immune system.

In conclusion, Danish babies sleeping outside year-round is a unique cultural practice that has shown to have positive effects on their health and well-being.

Do Scandinavian babies sleep outside?

This practice is known by various names, but it is a common and accepted practice in countries such as Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, and other Nordic countries for parents to let their babies sleep outside in a pram, whether it be in front of the house, apartment, or even at a café.

Why do Norwegian babies sleep outside?

However, there is a reason behind this practice. According to Bowman, “It improves their respiratory function and fosters their independence. That is why a higher number of individuals in Norway tend to leave home at an earlier age compared to other countries.” The belief is that the fresh air helps in keeping infants healthy and encourages better sleep habits.

What country puts babies outside in the cold?

In Nordic countries such as Denmark, it is a common practice to let babies sleep outside by themselves, even in extremely cold temperatures of -16 degrees Fahrenheit. Some experts believe that the fresh air can help babies sleep more deeply, but there is a risk of hypothermia and abduction.

What is the Danish way of parenting sleep?

If you’re not familiar with the Danish concept of hygge, don’t worry. It is defined as ‘cozy togetherness’ and involves creating a warm, peaceful environment and appreciating the joys of life, such as spending time with loved ones.

Are Norwegian babies sleeping outside in the cold?

A video has been circulating on social media showing Norwegian babies sleeping outside in freezing temperatures, shocking viewers. Olly Bowman, a social media user, initially thought it was a joke when he first saw it.

Do Norwegians leave their babies out in the cold?

Rather than worrying about their child’s well-being in winter, Norwegian parents opt to leave their babies outside in strollers in cold weather. Although it may seem ridiculous, this practice is genuine and widely accepted among parents in Norway.

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