Sure, I let my big fat American babies sleep outside. But they were in strollers and slings and I was standing right there. RIGHT THERE!
I’ve long known that in some cultures, no one bats an eye at a bundled up baby outdoors, soaking up the winter sun. It always sounded like an interesting idea — all that healthy, natural sunlight. All that alone time for me.
But I know my country, and I know my people, and we Americans? We’re a suspicious lot with a strong urge for heroics. A happily sleeping baby in a stroller on a sidewalk is a person in need of rescue. And the mother who left her there? She’s the scourge of society, I don’t care how necessary Vitamin D is in preventing rickets.
But even in countries where babies sleeping unattended outdoors is the norm, such as Denmark, I wonder if I’d be able to do it. Anastasya Partan couldn’t and her baby is half-Dane! She describes the Danish attitude in her essay at Babble today.
… [E]ven in this cosmopolitan Scandinavian capital with its population of one million and regular flow of tourists, most Danish moms feel totally at ease leaving their sleeping treasures in their prams as they run into boutiques to do what Danish moms, in my opinion, do best: buy whatever it takes to look so gorgeous you’d never guess that pram belonged to them.
… I didn’t have the resolve to bump my overloaded stroller down the stairs. Nor was I brave enough to leave Oliver outside. Even if the shop had giant windows, the thought of exposing him to the imaginary goons who could, at any moment, decide to abduct him unnerved me.
Partan also references the Danish woman who was arrested for importing this little bit of multi-culti parenting to Manhattan. Pretty sure being separated from mom in cuffs wasn’t healthy for the baby in any case.
What do you think? Leave the babies outside if it’s safe? Is it ever really safe? Is it ever really safe from the prying eyes/hero-complex of a random person walking down the street?