Baby items are a must for every parent. But our understanding of what is necessary or even safe has changed. Parents fifty or one hundred years ago didn't always think about risks the way we do.
Times were more innocent back then, and people just had a different understanding of what babies can and can't do. Things were just a bit more relaxed, and it was a given that babies would get hurt.
But there are also a few other reasons why vintage baby items are no longer used today. Medicines were relatively new, and people didn't always know whether or not ingredients in them were risky. No one meant any harm by these things, it's just that people saw the good and didn't always notice the side effects or understand why they occurred.
Parents today think a lot about safety, risks, and even educational value. Our culture just knows a lot more than we did back then. Parents even think twice before applying lotions to their children because we now need to know what every ingredient can do.
So, parents nowadays may look at items like these and wonder how we've all survived as a species. We made it though, and now we can look back these items in awe and be happy that we have so much more information today.
19 This Interesting Assistant
It's normal for young children to suck on their thumbs. This is generally considered a phase and is known to disappear on its own.
Some children do this to relieve their stress, but most children stop when their teeth start coming in. Even so, there are modern methods that help children overcome this when necessary.
Of course, things were different back in the day. In the 1920s, someone became concerned enough about thumb-sucking to invent a metal contraption meant to make the activity unsavory.
It's basically a small jail for an innocent child's thumb. Maybe some things are better left in the past.
18 Potty Chairs
Today's potty chairs are curvier and usually made of plastic. This wooden chair doesn't seem too bad, except that it's a lot less sturdy than modern models.
The predecessor of today's toilet-training standards. These potty chairs seem great and far more eco-friendly than their modern plastic counterparts.
But let's remember that it's a little harder to get gunk off wooden items. It's not impossible, but working parents today tend to want items that can be much more easily sanitized.
Also, plastic potty chairs seem as if they won't rot when exposed to organic matter. That's another reason why these were mostly swapped out.
17 Vintage Car Seats
Cars as we know them today have a wide variety of safety features. Parents who bring babies into the world are also far more aware of how to keep them safe.
But let's just admit that whoever first invented cars didn't quite figure out how mini-humans were going to ride in them. This simple contraption was the first iteration of today's modern car seat.
It probably simplified things but like other first editions, it's only a shell of what car seats are today. Somehow, an entire generation of babies survived. At least we can be grateful someone thought of a car seat and others improved it.
16 Gas Masks For Babies!
World War II was a tumultuous time that resulted in many changes and inventions. Of note were gas masks for children and babies.
Let's remember that parents back then were paranoid about the possibility of military attacks. Newsreels were becoming more common and increased transportation methods connected the world far more than before.
It's logical that someone would invent a gas mask to protect children and babies. According to the BBC, children were often afraid of using them, which is why manufacturers would make them in various colors.
Babies' masks were meant to have an adult pump air into them manually. Talk about responsibility!
15 An Outdoor Playground
With the Industrial Revolution, people began moving into cities devoid on green spaces that were safe for babies to play. If you lived in a high-rise building, a baby cage instantly added more space for your young child.
Seems harmless until you realize that a baby is technically hanging from a very high building. Baby cages were all the rage in 1930s London. These contraptions were actually invented in the 1800s and were created to help "air" babies out.
If it makes you feel better these baby cages weren't usually a mother's choice. Instead, real estate agents would add them so unsuspecting parents would believe there's a terrace for their baby.
14 A Teething Syrup We'd Never Use Today
Teething is painful for a baby. Not only do parents have to deal with a child basically growing tiny bones, but babies have no idea what's happening.
It's only natural for parents and caretakers to want to relieve their baby's pain. "Soothing syrups" such as this one were marketed to relieve the discomfort of teething.
Meant as a harmless way to assist a kid, Mrs. Winslow's Soothing Syrup contained veritable gems. As in morphine and ammonia. Parents back then simply wanted to help their children but wound up giving them something addictive.
Hey, science wasn't as advanced in the 1800s, and it was later removed from the market.
13 Shoes (With Small Items Attached To Them)
Many baby shoes today are made with velcro for good reason. Tying tiny shoelaces is exactly nobody's idea of fun.
Shoes back in the day were designed to be practical, but if you had a bit more money in the Victorian Era, you probably paid for something like this.
The pearl accents are an adorable accessory to an otherwise ordinary shoe. Parents today probably look at these, see the small beads and think: SERIOUS HAZARD.
Though a pair of shoes like this doesn't seem like a big deal, things have changed. Safety is probably more important to modern parents than looking good.
12 Meat For 3-Week-Old Babies!
Parents can choose from many flavors once they start giving their babies solid foods. And yes, there are totally meat options for those who are so inclined. But it's also common for parents to wait about 6 months to start giving solids to their babies.
The 1950s was a different time. Strained meat was available in a can for what seems like the first in history. But this meat was marketed for babies as young as 3 weeks old.
It's at this point that parents should be grateful that kids have no recollection of their lives as newborns. This just feels wrong.
11 Wicker Baskets Meet Open Road
Take one look at this picture and it's easy to realize that even the baby on board wanted out of that basket. Bikes are a useful tool and unlike cars, they're still very similar to how what they were after they were invented.
But like other items, bikes weren't created for babies who need to hitch a ride. These things came with time. As baskets go, this one is far more advanced and is actually mostly metal, just a few wicker accents.
Once again, we can be grateful that someone thought of the idea while others actually found ways to make it safe.
10 Toothache Drops!
Toothache drops were one of the many items created to help babies and parents as their offspring grew their milk teeth.
Sounds noble, right? But let's remember that in the 1880s, many over the counter medications included items we now know shouldn't be used. These toothache drops included a certain substance, which was still legal then.
Sigmund Freud often went on about the wonders of this new discovery. Today, we know it can have detrimental effects on adults, but people back then didn't understand how it worked.
It was eventually banned in the 1920s. With that, products containing this ingredient were also made unlawful.
9 Real Silver Spoons
Silver spoons don't seem harmful, and many parents actually used spoons such as this one as mementos.
Parents today generally use plastic or rubber spoons because metal utensils can hurt a baby's gums. Babies that start out on solids still don't quite get the hang of biting, so they may inadvertently hurt themselves.
Rubber spoons are meant to ease the transition and prevent babies from feeling uncomfortable. But even if parents didn't use silver spoons to feed their babies, we know they used metal utensils.
Even metal utensils only seem uncomfortable, some parents are concerned that their babies can hurt themselves. Hence, modern baby spoons.
8 Tot Cot
Flying was an unprecedented advance in technology back in the day. There's a big chance that much of the items in today's safety precautions today probably came from the trials and errors of a bygone era.
Parents probably had no idea that there was even an etiquette to taking babies onboard. Tot Cot was a primitive solution to an annoying problem.
In principle, babies are up on the cot while parents have plenty of leg room during the plane ride across the world.
There are probably many reasons why this idea was abandoned. Modern moms probably look at this picture in disbelief.
7 Strange Baby Feeding Gadgets
Weird baby feeders were actually invented sometime in the 1800s. We can only imagine that they were created to free up mom's time.
This graphic belongs to an exposé about Dr. Edward Overton, who actually decided to collect these. But again, these baby feeding gadgets look like something from a macabre chemistry set.
As it turns out, early baby feeders were made of all kinds of material, including whalebone. Parents today often choose between bottles, sippy cups, and rubber or plastic items means to withstand a toddler that doesn't understand gravity yet.
Many items today are also meant to be cleaned easily. These gadgets at least look cool.
6 Really Weird Scales...
The thing about these scales is that they seem too cute to be used in a doctor's office. There are other practical reasons why scales for babies have changed a lot today.
Though these scales were one of the first methods to track baby mass and growth, they don't seem too secure.
It's one thing to use something like this to determine the heft of items from the grocery store. A scale like this isn't equipped to handle a movie baby who might decide to fidget while at the pediatrician.
Maybe people back then just thought babies would magically sit still at will.
5 Vintage Rattles
Ahhhh, rattles! An important tool in an arsenal meant to keep a baby entertained. Today's rattles are rather disposable and forgettable, but they're also far easier to clean and probably less noisy.
This vintage rattle looks like a collector's item and doesn't resemble a baby's toy at all.
Parents may use something like this as a centerpiece or strange decoration. Rattles such as this one have gone the way of the metal spoon.
Hard objects are now discouraged, as they could unnecessarily cause babies to hurt themselves. Something like isn't too unsafe, but it's up there on items to be avoided.
4 Ultraviolet Lamps (To Prevent Taking The Wrong Baby Home!)
Babies today get a hospital bracelet with identifying information. Of course, plastic is a fairly recent invention and hospitals in days past had to find inventive foolproof approaches to prevent baby mix-ups.
In came the UV lights! We now know UV rays are how sun damage occurs. After birth, newborns would be branded with initials so that nurses would ensure that brand-new parents take the right child home.
The branding was pale and these initials were supposed to go away on their own within weeks. Nothing like the great birthday present of winding up with your parents' initials via UV exposure!
3 Fables...With A Twist
We know a lot more about the impact of TV, films, and books today. The rating system helps parents find material suitable for children and is meant to help parents make sure kids watch or read things at the right age.
Various cultures around the world have come up with stories meant to scare their children into behaving properly. In Iceland, parents talk to children about Gryla, a giant who might eat children who don't follow the rules.
In Mexico, children are told about La Llorona (yes, like the movie). She will snatch any child who dares disobey their parents.
2 Glass Baby Bottles
Glass baby bottles are kind of making a comeback in today's environmentally conscious era. But parents started using the plastic iteration of this product to avoid, you know, injuries.
Needless to say, today's glass bottles seem to be made with much better glass than the vintage variety, so fret not.
We don't even want to imagine the types of lacerations old-school glass bottles may have resulted in for all involved. It's safe to say that parents simply wanted something their babies could throw around without too much risk.
As more types of baby bottles were invented, these were phased out.
1 Pins (For Diapers, Duh)
Disposable diapers are actually quite a modern invention, as babies go. Some parents still use reusable diapers today because of economic or environmental concerns.
These diaper pins just look like a booby trap of risks for modern parents. First off, it's very easy to have a sleight of hand—and some unsavory consequences as a result.
Then there's the fact that babies are actually good at figuring out how stuff works. Who's to say a baby might not unfasten this and reveal a world of hurt!
Moms today would probably rather avoid using said diaper pins. We can understand why!
Sources: besttennews.com, mentalfloss.com, popsci.com, bbc.co.uk