Sunny D

July 28th, 2013

Sunny D - Babies

“In the 20th Century, babies were kept in cages outside windows, so they could get sunlight and air to get Vitamin D for good health. Originating in America, it was also said that these too provided more room for families who had little space in their city homes & somewhere for the child to play with toys.”

(via Tumblr)

60 Responses to “Sunny D”

  1. jackie says:

    It was either this or rickets

  2. Brenda says:

    Wish my parents had done that-maybe I wouldn’t be so scared of heights now!

  3. azalea5560 says:

    it is a great idea – to get the sunlight and fresh air – just make sure the toys are big enough to not fit through the holes – now they make these for pets

  4. Pickles says:

    I am not sure why there are so many comments about how horrible this is. If built strong and safe, why not let the little one hang out for fresh air and to watch the world. Seems a lot better than being stuck in a cramped, stuffy apartment. I think it is pretty cool actually.

  5. Lindsay says:

    it says “the 20th century”….which ended not that long this picture could be just a few years old?

    • Kira says:

      This was 50’s and before

    • Kira says:

      Actually, just found this: “Shocking: These astonishing baby cages were invented in America in 1922. This picture taken in 1934 shows a wire cage which East Poplar borough council in London proposed to fix to the outside of their buildings”

  6. heather says:

    My one year old son would LOVE THAT! Pinky swear!!!! Imma bout to find those blue prints!!!!

  7. Catherine says:

    It’s the prequel to Michael Jackson….

  8. Mary says:

    I have a book called “Mommy Knows Worst” that has tons of great pictures and stories from child rearing in days past….on one of the pages is the the patent and drawing for this scary contraption!

  9. Renee says:

    I wonder if this was a result of the many TB deaths. There was an idea (hope) that fresh air could cure one of TB. Thus the many “sleeping porches” that were built onto houses in the early 1900s. And there’s something to it because the living conditions in New York at that time were horrendous for the poor immigrants. I’m sure that many communicable diseases were spread easily when there wasn’t enough air flow in the dark, hot, cramped apartments. On a similar note, I heard that whole families would sleep in the parks on hot nights.

  10. Terry says:

    Maybe this is the answer for overcrowded prisons.

  11. JoJo Jolinski says:

    Maybe that’s why people from back in that era were so “grounded”…pun intended. 🙂

  12. susan caldwell says:

    Wow….today that would be grounds for a CPS case!

  13. Dawn says:

    Wow, i thought this was a joke! How many kids fell to their deaths???

  14. Fae says:

    And Michael Jackson got into trouble for dangling his baby out the window!

  15. Valerie says:

    Now people have these for their cats! >^.^<

  16. Joe says:

    When I was a baby 120 years ago, we couldn’t afford a window cage. Mom just made me hang out the window by my fingertips. Also, we couldn’t afford a window.

  17. susan says:

    My Mom has an old manual from 1920 on parenting, and this is one of the things mentioned. It even tells you how to build it. It also tells new parents to start feeding the baby solids w/I a week or two of birth!!

  18. TommyK says:

    The 20th century? You mean that thing that ended 12 years ago?

  19. cyndie says:

    that is horrible. just awfull. im afraid of hieghts and i wouldnt even think about doing that

  20. Sean Keating says:

    Parents, say hello to the 2013 ‘Guantanamo Junior’

  21. Lil' says:

    How about a trip to the park instead, or walk around the neighborhood in the baby carriage?

    • meri says:

      I imagine because this was early in the 20th century when women living in tenamants had many children and could not take them all out to the park or on walks every day. Strolling around and taking your kid to the park is kind of a luxury when you have 10 children and no help at home. I sorta like the window cage thing- it’s very practical. Although I wonder how safe it could how strongly were those cages attached to the window frame?

  22. Naomi says:

    I wonder if this helps to NOT have a fear of heights.. or increases yhe chance of being afraid of heights…??

  23. Julia says:

    Eleanor Roosevelt did this with her first child when they lived in NYC. I read it it FDR by Jean Edward Smith if you need attribution.

  24. Mark says:

    Looks like he ate all of his pizza and fried chicken out there, too.

  25. Janus says:

    I saw plenty of such window cages (and babies kept in them) this year in the Jewish neighbourhood in Brooklyn.

    • Laura says:

      Yes! I lived in Williamsburg and many apartments still had these. The kids would hang out there and watch people that passed by. They were totally solid and didn’t seem dangerous. It was, in fact, a way for them to see the outside world without having to go outside.

  26. kathy says:

    Grandpa Bill’s acrophobia developed early in life.

  27. Lillian says:

    James Lileks covered this – possibly with this exact photo – plus loads of other hilarity in his “Mommy Knows Worst.”

  28. Sally says:

    Aside from falling to one’s death, it also looks like a hazard for tiny fingers…

  29. sarah says:

    Lets not forget that it wasn’t uncommon for the babies to sit in a pram or pen outside the front door on a busy street either. Usually under the care of older siblings… of toddler age… who played in the street unattended. Imagine leaving your diaper age kids out of your sight for hours on end. That is a parents biggest fear these days.

    • Alicia says:

      Yep! I just started watching PBS’ Call The Midwife and they did this all the time. I was shocked! I did some research and it was totally a thing! Scary! They still do it in some European places. Go out to dinner and park the pram out front with the bikes. Insane.

      • Terri says:

        I have vintage baby books that tell new mothers to set the baby outside in the morning and for a 2 hour afternoon nap. They include a schedule for moms to follow. In winter, they say to set baby on the porch or near an open window (bundled up of course) for a certain amount of time daily.

        • donna says:

          My mom would do that. I remember my sister or brother being bundled up as if they was going outside and being put in front of an open window, in the carriage, in the winter. And on nice days they were put in the carriage outside. We lived in a private home with a walkway between the steps off the sidewalk and the steps up to the porch/front door. The walkway was sunny so that is where the carriage was placed. That ended when after taking my sister out of the carriage, mom went to bring the carriage in the house and someone was stealing it.

  30. beth says:

    I see no difference between that and a playpen. Except altitude…

  31. JerseyPam says:

    The origin of Rock A Bye Baby?

  32. Keira says:

    Crazy but it makes sense. I can imagine the cage would hurt the baby’s bum.

  33. Kay A. Ess says:

    The lack of Vitamin D is a real problem in modern day America. This might be the lesser of two evils.

  34. Eric Scheirer Stott says:

    Seems no worse than the common alternative – putting the kid out on the fire escape.

  35. Minda says:

    Looks scary. But, if built properly, probably safer than plenty of balconies I’ve seen.

  36. ian says:

    Not to mention entertaining the birds.

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