Traveling the world really opens you up to different ways of living, but as one transplant has learned, some cultural differences will forever boggle the mind.
In this case, Australian Olly Bowman (@mrmelk_) hasn’t been able to get over the common Norwegian practice of leaving your baby outside in a stroller — unattended and alone in all sorts of weather.
“Another day in Norway, another group of babies left out in the cold,” Bowman says in his recent viral TikTok.
“Look how many there are!” he adds in disbelief, walking by a cluster of strollers.
Bowman himself bundled up in a warm puffy coat and winter hat, proving that the temperatures are indeed pretty low where he is. (Even in the summer months, Norway only averages a high of 57 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit, according to Frommers.)
That said, leaving babies outside alone has become a very common practice in most Nordic countries, which includes Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland. But there’s some logic behind it.
“It helps with their breathing and makes them more independent,” Bowman explains. “It’s actually why so many people leave home earlier in Norway than other countries.”
It’s believed that the fresh air keeps babies healthy and promotes positive sleep patterns. And while the practice is done in all kinds of weather, babies are usually dressed in lightweight wool and covered in a down duvet to keep them toasty warm while they nap. Parents also use rain covers on their strollers to protect their little ones from the outside elements.
It’s not as though parents stray far from their babies. Usually, they’re just popping into a store or grabbing a quick cup of coffee with a friend nearby and keeping their child well within eyesight. In many cases, portable baby monitors are inside the stroller.
In the comments on Bowman’s post, many people asked why parents weren’t more concerned about the risks.
“Are babies not kidnapped in Norway?” one person commented. “My anxiety would never.”
In response, at least one TikToker shared that the crime rate in Norway is nearly non-existent, which is probably why so many parents feel safe enough to do this.
In another viral TikTok that highlights the same practice in Denmark, a mom jokingly explained, “Babies here don’t get kidnapped because no one wants the responsibility of someone else’s kid.”
Ultimately, most people who watched Bowman’s post were in awe over the whole thing.
“Scandinavian babies are built different,” one commenter wrote, adding that their immune systems are far superior as a result of this.
“The older I get, the more I realize how cool other parts of the world are,” added someone else.
But most of all, commenters couldn’t help but point out how something like this could never happen in America, even if it had positive benefits.
“To live in a society where it was safe enough to leave the babies like this would be crazy,” one user said.
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