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11 creepy childcare devices from the Popular Science archives

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UV baby branding: December 1938 Popular Science archives

It’s terrifying the lengths we adults will go to in pursuit of perfect parenting or at least surviving the years until they can move out of the house.

Even today, seeing a minivan stuffed full of swings, slides, strollers, bjorns, and snacks enough to feed an army just to entertain a six-month-old at a two-hour picnic should make us pause regarding our sanity.

Compared to these contraptions that made the pages of Popular Science throughout the ages, though, that stuffed Sienna looks pretty tame in comparison.

Sleeping Porch: May 1916 

A baby porch suspended a hundred feet above ground? What could possibly go wrong? As city populations grew, people grew concerned about raising young children in tight spaces. Inventors suggested the miniature sleeping porch, which could be installed outside any window. The device seemed sturdy enough — an iron brace enabled it to carry 500 pounds of weight, while anchors protected the porch from strong winds. The compartment’s barred windows and netting kept the baby from climbing out (and bugs from flying in), and as the image shows, it was roomy enough to hold a tiny carriage “so that the effort of the mother in taking the baby in and out is reduced to a minimum.”

Baby Gas Mask: November 1938 

This full-body gas mask might look comical now, but with an imminent war looming ahead, the threat of gas attacks was no laughing matter in 1938. The French-developed mask would enclose a baby in an airtight sack equipped with a rubber lung and filter unit. Whoever was holding the baby could control the amount of fresh air going in by pumping the artificial lung.

Full story at PopSci via Boing Boing.

Strange inventions.

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