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10+ Bittersweet Pics That Show Us How Carefree Parenting Used to Be

In the past, there were no online forums that we could join with just one click and read other parents’ experiences to improve our own. The tips our moms, dads, and grandparents got at that time were by word of mouth or from parenting books. The 1900s were wild in terms of absurd contraptions, but in the end, they served another purpose, showing inventors what kind of features to steer clear of in the future.

We scoured the web to find the most outrageous things people used in the past when raising children. Make sure to check out our bonus section for some unconventional parenting advice.

In 1913, after postal services were first introduced in the US, there weren’t many regulations.

Infants could be shipped cross-country as a package. They would get a stamp on their clothes, and the mailman would deliver them to relatives or other destinations. At least 2 children went through this questionable process.

The Baby Alice Thumb Guard, 1920s

While it’s perfectly normal for infants to suck their thumbs, the long-term practice of it can negatively affect a baby’s health. For this reason, the thumb guard was invented, made from a metal wire that makes us glad it’s now a thing of the past.

In 1921, an Austrian hospital provided babies with a cot above the radiator to keep them warm.

The window baby cage

Initially called “the healthy cage,” the suspended baby box became popular in the 1930s to provide babies living in overcrowded cities with fresh air and sunshine.


In 1937, Jack Milford, an ice hockey team member, invented a carrying device so his baby could join him and his wife on the ice skating rink.

A 1940s baby is enjoying sitting on a primitive design wire child car chair with no safety belt in the front seat of a convertible car.

The Sky-Cot, invented in 1954, was a contraption that clipped to the baggage rack of the airplane, making it easier for traveling parents to bring their little ones wherever they went.

A stroller without a harness or buckles, 1961

“My mother and grandmother demonstrated safety standards in the 1960s.”

Bonus: parenting advice from the 1920s

In the book, Psychological Care of Infant and Child, published by John B. Watson in 1928, the psychologist shared recommendations and guidance for parents on how to raise their children. One of the paragraphs read:

“There’s a sensible way of treating children. Treat them as though they were young adults. Let your behavior always be objective and firm. Never hug and kiss your children and let them sit in your lap. Suppose you must kiss them once on the forehead when they say good night. Shake hands with them in the morning.

Which of these vintage contraptions have your parents or grandparents used with you? Let us know in the comments.

Preview photo credit thisisanendtable / Reddit
Bright Side/Family & kids/10+ Bittersweet Pics That Show Us How Carefree Parenting Used to Be
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