Parents born in the late 1970s and growing up in the 1980s were less worried about child safety than they are today. Launching a Big Wheel off a makeshift ramp made out of plywood and rusty nails—down an asphalt hill with no helmet—just wasn’t a concern back then.
But our parents had nothing on the parents of the 1930s. They were literally hanging their kids out of windows! As a way to combat stuffy apartment living and to give babies a way of “airing” out, along came the Baby Cage.
Image via YouTube
It was based on an idea by Dr. Luther Emmett Holt, who wrote the book The Care and Feeding of Children, which included the concept of “airing” children. Holt wrote, “Fresh air is required to renew and purify the blood, and this is just as necessary for health and growth as proper food. The appetite is improved, the digestion is better, the cheeks become red, and all signs of health are seen.”
In 1922 a woman named Emma Read came up with the idea of the “portable baby cage” and applied for a patent. Her solution read like this,
With these facts in view it is the purpose of the present invention to provide an article of manufacture for babies and young children, to be suspended upon the exterior of a building adjacent an open window, wherein the baby or young child may be placed. This article of manufacture comprises a housing or cage, wherein the baby or young child together with proper toys may be placed.
The Boggins Window Crib also made it’s debut and is described as “a convenient outdoor sleeping compartment readily attached to any window.” It was made of metal wire and provided a 36″ x 24″ x 27″ space for a child to play in or nap. It was adorned with an insulated roof so the child could stay cool enough, even in the summer months, to build up a tolerance to the cold.
These contraptions really took off in the 1930s but eventually died out, probably due to new standards on child safety. This is quite possibly the weirdest and scariest child product we have ever seen!
See a video about the baby cages on the next page.