City apartments, as many people know, can be small and stuffy. And while fresh air is a wonderful, healthful thing for people of all ages, in the late 19th century, the idea of actively “airing” your baby to promote health started cropping up in parenting books.
The concept was introduced by Dr. Luther Emmett Holt who wrote about “airing” in his 1894 book The Care and Feeding of Children.
A similar idaemakes an appearance in Louis Fischer’s 1920 book The Health-Care of the Baby, which describes “a convenient outdoor sleeping compartment readily attached to any window,” called the Boggins’ Window Crib. The wire device, 36″ x 24″ x 27″, is described as being “admirably adapted for city apartments,” with an insulated roof that will keep the baby cool enough to build up a cold-weather tolerance even in summer.
In the 1930s baby cages were touted as the ‘it’ parenting product in Britain, with mothers everywhere dangling their tots out of windows and inside hutch-like contraptions so that their bundles of joy could be ‘aired’ and enjoy the fresh, outdoor air – without crawling away.
Just imagine walking through your town and seeing a baby dangling out of window these days.
Perhaps unsurprisingly the cages were out of fashion by the 1940s – and there hasn’t been resurgence since.
Babies would be placed in cages out of windows so that they could get ‘fresh air’
Built in 1937 and distributed in London to members of the Chelsea Baby Club, the baby cage was meant for women with children but without a backyard, garden or terrace for them to play in or on.
Thank got we don’t treat our children like animals anymore.