Fascinating Facts On The History of Baby Cribs That I Bet You Didn't Know
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Fascinating Facts On The History of Baby Cribs That I Bet You Didn't Know

By Chantal Maddocks

Here is a bit of trivia on baby cribs you can use at your next dinner party. The use of baby cribs didn't occur until the 19th century. So what did parents do for a baby bed before then? Not much, really. Children often slept with their parents because of the lack of space and rooms. Actually, parents often slept in separate rooms where children slept in the same bed as their mother. Yikes!

The name crib was often used to described a “slatted, high-sided child’s bed.” In Old English, the word crib actually meant manger or stall. The first baby beds ever used were cradles or bassinets which were developed to keep the baby in the bed. Another concern was that the bassinet needed to be raised off the ground. This was considered vital because it was perceived that toxic fumes existed below knee level and explosive vapors were near the ceiling, leaving good air in between. Iron bassinettes were also popular in the later 19th century to address concerns of bed bug infestations, lice and moths. Although iron beds were considered much more sanitary, they were commonly painted with vitreous enamel or lead paint, which were extremely toxic for babies.

It wasn't until the child was about 12 months and ready to stand when, what we know as traditional, baby cribs were used. Baby cribs were developed to safeguard infants from climbing and falling out of the baby bed. One side of the crib often had a hinge that would open, making it convenient for a parent to remove the child from the crib. We know them today as drop-side crib, in which a massive recall in 2011 was enforced which prohibited the manufacturing or sale of all drop-side cribs. And when the child outgrew the crib, a small bed was used that could easily fit under a parent’s bed during the day. Today, we now know them as trundle beds.

Baby cribs were traditionally passed down from child to child. Although baby cribs have enormous sentimental value and much less expensive to buy only one, especially for large families, we now know that it is unsafe to use old baby cribs. Astringent safety regulations make the production of baby cribs today exceptionally safe and manufacturers, such as DaVinci and Storkcraft, make it incredibly affordable. Many baby bed alternatives, such as a co-sleeper, mini crib, and bassinet are still great sleeping alternatives for babies, featuring portability advantages, save space and are very reasonable.

So the next time you are shopping for baby beds, entertain yourself on how fascinating the use of different baby beds have developed in the last two hundred years. You may not have to worry about bug infestations or toxic fumes, but you can surely appreciate the different uses for baby cribs and far along they've come.