Long before the days of baby gates, safety latches and window guards, city moms were finding resourceful ways to get baby outside (read: dodging going for a walk). Dangerous, but we’ll hand it to them: resourceful.
In the late 1800s, doctors began to recommend that kids in urban apartments get fresh air. Physicians like Dr. Luther Emmett Holt suggested placing baby’s bassinet next to a window in the absence of a backyard or front porch. But ambitious city moms went above and beyond, creating ‘baby cages’ out of their apartment windows.
Spokane, Washington native Emma Read debuted the first patented baby cage in 1922. But she certainly didn’t invent the idea; Eleanor Roosevelt, who admitted that she “knew absolutely nothing about handling or feeding a baby,” used a chicken-wire cage to hang her daughter Anna out the window of a New York City apartment in 1906.
So where’d the baby cages go? We have a feeling they wouldn’t quite be up to the CPSC’s standards nowadays. Inevitably tied to safety concerns, their popularity declined after the 1930s.
Let’s agree; we’ve come a long way since then. From swings and bouncers to activity gyms, there’s plenty of ways to keep baby independently entertained without, um, locking her in a cage. And in terms of getting fresh air? We have strollers for every kind of mom.