Parents back in the 1930s were much more relaxed and laid-back about parenting – so relaxed, it seems, that they used to hang their children out of the window in cages!
Parenting techniques have seen a huge change in the last century, and looking back at old photos from our own childhood often leave us thinking … why did our parents let that happen? Surely they were going crazy thinking we might hurt ourselves?
But it’s become clear that parenting as a whole has transformed, and we now look back at old techniques with one eye closed, thinking of the dangers.
One crazy technique from the 1930s that makes us want to hold on to our babies tightly and never let them go are the the outdoor baby cages that were used. Babies would be put in cages that hung on the outside of apartment windows as a way of helping children to get the fresh air they needed.
Letting babies get fresh air
Back in 1884, Dr. Luther Emmett wrote the book ‘The Care and Feeding of Children’ where he discussed the health benefits of ‘airing’ babies.
This led to a huge trend of outdoor baby cages later in the 1930s, where parents would let their children hang out windows, protected by cages, to let them get some fresh air. What ever happened to a simple stroll around the park?!
For many families living in apartment blocks, this was considered the best and easiest way to ensure a baby was ‘aired’ properly – just try not to look down!
While we all know the benefits of letting your baby get fresh air, we’re not sold on the safety aspects of this idea.
Surely this led to a generation that were no longer scared of heights.
Mums over in the Coffeehouse have been discussing how much fresh air babies should have and the health benefits it might bring. Many users have shared how they ensure their babies get the fresh air they need every day, even if it’s just getting out of the house for an hour.
One user said:
“I chose a nursery with a baby garden – they’d open the doors a couple of times a day (in the summer they’d be open for most of the day) so that the little ones could just crawl outside themselves … We’d walk to the nursery and back for additional fresh air, bird watching, duck feeding and exercise for me, so that’s another hour a day of fresh air. It would be quicker not to walk, but well worth the extra effort and such a lovely start to the day”
Whereas another user was worried about the amount of fresh air their baby has at nursery:
“I don’t think my 11 month old gets enough! Especially as I work 9-5 and she’s in nursery, so I bet those days she doesn’t go out at all except to the car and back. I’m worried being cooped up so much is bad for her”
Although we don’t agree with hanging your baby out the window, we do think it’s important for babies and children to get lots of fresh air during the day.
One reason is because it can help them sleep better, as one study has found.
The study in the Journal of Sleep Research, conducted by researchers from Liverpool John Moores University, monitored babies’ sleep patterns in relation to the amount of sunlight they’re exposed to in the afternoon.
The results showed that the babies who were sleeping better at night had actually been exposed to more sunlight than those that weren’t sleeping as well.
What do you think about the old method of baby cages? Was it a great resource for mums at the time, or does it scream danger?