So here’s a question – would you ever consider suspending your newborn in a small cage several stories above New York traffic? Of course not. Nowadays that would be considered a horrendous case of child abuse, but not too long ago, the practice of suspending babies in cages was relatively common, according to Vox.
The idea rose to prominence in the early 20th century, when tuberculosis was killing 100 out of every 100,000 people, and the urbanization was leading to unprecedented population density and cramped conditions in cites.
Concerns for these problems eventually gave rise to a medical fad known as the “fresh air movement” in the 1920s and 30s. Schools held classes outside or with open windows, businesses worked outdoors, and hospitals made sick people sleep in tents to help them get better.
This trend was also applied to small children. Major medical texts of the time recommended “airing” your child as often as possible. In order to fulfil this demand, the baby cage was invented.
Parents would place the birdcage-style boxes outside of their windows and would place their babies in there to give them more fresh air…often as much as hundred feet above ground.
For more on the baby cage, watch the full video below.