Parenting styles differ based on culture and country. While it seems quite arbitrary to leave a child outside the restaurant in the United States, Nordic cultures think otherwise. But did you hear of the story of Anette Sørensen and her daughter, Liv?
Anette Sørensen was visiting New York City with her 14-month old daughter in 1997. She left the stroller outside a restaurant with her daughter, Liv, in it while she and the baby’s father dined inside. She was charged and arrested for Child Endangerment.
Nordic Tradition: Do Danish Parents Leave Their Kids Outside While They Stop at Stores or Restaurants?
Hiring a babysitter for a quick stop at the store or pub may seem a bit unnecessary. The Danish have figured out a way to go around the said ordeal.
In Denmark, parents simply leave their toddlers in strollers while they need to do a quick store pick-up or need a little me-time at a cafe.
Walk around Copenhagen on any given day, and you’ll come across dozens of strollers on sidewalks. Some are obviously empty, but the ones that are all bundled up almost always contain a napping baby or toddler.Jeff Dufour
This practice is quite common in the Nordic region as kidnappings are quite rare in these areas. There are only three kidnappings recorded in the past 30 years, and two of those reports have been a mistake as the thieves intended to steal a bike and not the baby with it.
In addition, the kids are not in imminent danger since the parents are quite close by and keep their babies within their field of vision. Most parents would even equip their strollers with high-tech baby monitors and tracking devices.
The parents are usually really close by, near the window.Jeff Dufour
Anette Sørensen’s New York City Experience
In 1997, Anette Sørensen, a Danish mother, was arrested in New York City after leaving her baby outside a restaurant. Sørensen, an actress in her 30s, simply parked her 14-month-old daughter’s stroller outside a barbecue restaurant in Manhattan while she and the baby’s father went inside for a couple of drinks. During this time, she would repeatedly check on her baby to make sure she was alright. It was at this point where another client called the police.
Both Sørensen and the father of the baby were arrested for child endangerment. Child welfare authorities also took charge of the toddler.
My case that happened 20 years ago is even more relevant today. American parents live in fear. I don’t think there’s any greater punishment than to have your child taken away from you.Anette Sørensen
The incident sparked outrage in the city, where residents were shocked at the idea of parents leaving their children alone on the sidewalk. In Denmark, on the other hand, people were baffled by the notion of getting arrested for the same thing, as it was common practice in Nordic regions.
The charges were eventually dropped, Sørensen and the father of her child were both released, and they were soon reunited with their toddler. Sørensen felt that the arrest and strip search were unnecessary, she filed for a $20 million false-arrest lawsuit against the city.
The jury awarded her $66,000 in 1999, rejecting many of her claims but agreed with the fact that the strip-search was indeed out of line. (Source: The Guardian)