Should your baby have their nap outdoors?
If you have seen social media posts of mums in Scandinavian countries putting their babies outside for their daytime naps, you may wonder what it’s all about. Should you give your baby some al fresco nap time? Is it safe and what do you need to know? We give you all the information you need for safe outdoor baby naps.
We live in a time when many of us are keen on getting back to nature, as we appreciate the benefits it can offer both for exercise and for mindfulness. Forest schools and nurseries are also becoming more and more popular. Leaving babies to nap outside, which used to be commonplace in the UK in past decades, may be in for a revival too.
It’s hard to pin down any actual medical evidence that sleeping outdoors is beneficial for your baby. However, there’s no evidence that it’s harmful, either.
A study conducted in Finland in 2008 showed that allowing babies to sleep outdoors was a common practice there from the time the baby was two weeks old. The research showed that babies took longer naps than others who slept indoors and that most of the parents felt it was a good thing for their children to experience. However, this was a very small study and the researchers did suggest that more work needed to be done to ‘prove’ that outdoor sleeping was beneficial.
Benefits of outdoor baby sleep
Here are some of the things people claim about outdoor naps:
- The fresh air may help babies sleep longer
- Being out in the fresh air means babies are not exposed to colds and other viruses in an enclosed space
- Children will grow up to like outdoor adventures such as camping
- They will learn to appreciate nature as they see it from their pram; watching the sky and branches waving in the wind is very calming
As we’ve said above, there doesn’t seem to be any actual evidence of this and it is mostly reported by parents, yet outdoor baby naps are so popular in Scandinavia that perhaps there’s something in it.
If you do want to try putting your baby to sleep outdoors, there are some simple rules you should follow.
- Make sure that you place your baby’s pushchair within sight of you, preferably in a private rear garden that isn’t accessible from the street.
- Check your baby regularly to make sure they are warm enough.
- Do not leave your baby in a front garden and don’t leave them outside a café or restaurant – it’s just not safe as they could be taken and you’re also in danger of passers-by criticising you. Parents in America have even been arrested for it!
However, you should also consider that some babies may find it difficult to sleep in strong daylight, so if you are going to give it a try, pop SnoozeShade over the pushchair.
Walking with baby
Of course, it’s fine to take a walk with your baby while they are in the pushchair and if you want to allow them to sleep in the fresh air without having to worry about them, this is perhaps the best way to do it. It also means you get some time in the outdoors too and some gentle exercise. Walking is great for new mums, as it helps you keep healthy without being too strenuous.
If there’s strong sun, pop SnoozeShade on over the pushchair before setting off and always have it handy in your changing bag, or the stroller’s basket.
Not only does SnoozeShade provide a darker and distraction-free environment for your baby to sleep in but it also means you can rest assured that your baby is protected from the sun’s harmful UV rays. Babies under six months should not wear sunscreen, so SnoozeShade makes a great solution to protecting your baby’s delicate skin. It can help you maintain your baby’s nap routine no matter where you are.
Important safety notes
- Do not leave your baby in a place from where they could be taken
- Always have an eye on your baby while they nap, to prevent health risks
- Make sure the pram has a lie-flat seat and that your baby is strapped in
- Make sure the pram wheels are locked and never put it on a slope
- Be sure that the area is secure from animals
- Don’t put your baby to sleep outside if it’s raining
- Be sure your baby is wearing the appropriate clothing for the temperature
- Never put your baby for naps in a car seat, unless it is a lie-flat model
- Babies are not able to regulate their body temperature easily, so are at risk of hypothermia in the winter and sunstroke in the summer. Be aware of the risks and avoid them
- Air pollution may be high where you live, so do not put your baby outside if this is the case
Would you think about putting your baby outside for their naps? Head to our social media channels to chat with other like-minded parents