New parents from a generation or two ago had nothing on the daring London moms of the 1930s: They literally hung their babies out the window.

It was the purpose of this invention to suspend infants from the exterior of high-rise buildings, adjacent to windows, so that they could enjoy fresh air and exercise without the pesky business of taking the child outside.

Dangling "baby cages" came into vogue after they were invented in 1922, but Gothamist reports that their origin really began with the 1884 book The Care and Feeding of Children, by Dr. Luther Emmett.

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In his book, Emmett carefully describes detailed instructions for the use of the baby cage, and also defends the baby cage and lays out reasons for the contraption.

It is the purpose of the present invention to provide an article of manufacture for babies and young children to be suspended upon the exterior of the building adjacent an open window wherein the baby or the young child may be placed.

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This article of manufacture comprises a housing or cage, wherein the baby or young child together with proper toys may be placed. The baby is enabled to receive fresh air through the screen or wire fabric.

"It is not true that infants take cold more easily when asleep than awake, while it is almost invariably the case that those who sleep out of doors are stronger children and less prone to take cold than others."

But whatever was a doting, apartment-living mom to do? Responding to a lack of homes with outdoor space, some London communities began outfitting windows with infant-sized cages for babies to hang out in.

If the cages were, in fact, secure, maybe these moms were onto something. The idea that babies need fresh air persists, regardless of the science behind it — in Scandinavia, little ones in strollers are often parked outside restaurants while their moms take a break inside. Still, we bet most moms will stick to walks around the block for now.

It’s unclear how popular the baby cages were or even how safe they actually were. Either way, the cages went out of style soon after they became available, so there aren’t many reports on the cages, about safety or otherwise. But stories of air conditioning units falling and killing people have peppered the news for years, so we can’t help but imagine the cages doing the same.

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