Why baby cages were a thing

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Published on 28 Mar 2019, 12:00
Yep, they hung above traffic. And there was a reason.

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In this episode of Vox Almanac, Vox’s Phil Edwards explores the bold and beautiful baby cage.

Yes, hanging baby cages were a minor fad in the early 20th century. Why? A couple of reasons are listed in one baby cage patent, and they give us insight into the culture of the time.

First, urbanization in the United States and England made people want to recapture some of the country life they were missing. Baby cages were one way to do that, giving babies “fresh air” without taking them out of the city.

As importantly, tuberculosis treatments involving fresh air made it a common treatment for a wider variety of ailments. People sought ways to sleep outdoors as much as possible so, when it came to babies, it makes sense that they wanted the best for their little tykes.

So are baby cages a good idea? Probably not — but they are an understandable one.

In Vox Almanac, Senior Producer Phil Edwards explains the world through history's footnotes.

Watch all of Vox Almanac here: youtube.com/watch?v=4dgzJQsAXfI&list...

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