A lot of people are having a giggle at these photos of baby cages that are making the rounds of the internet, sticking out of apartment windows in London in the twenties and thirties. We have written about them before in How to Add Some Space in your Apartment for the Little Ones. The question keeps coming up: why would people do such a thing? Or as Buzzfeed titled their post, WTF Is Going On With This 1930s Baby Cage Madness?
It's not madness at all, and people were not insane. The answer goes back to a book,The Care and Feeding of Children, first published in the 1890s by Dr. Luther Emmett Holt, which became the bible for child-rearing for decades. Dr. Holt prescribed "airing" of babies and children and keeping rooms very cool, sleeping with windows open unless it is below freezing. Airing the baby meant dressing her up and opening all the windows, even in winter, starting when the child was a month old. It sounds crazy, but here is an excerpt. His book is written as a Q and A: