Air Crib in APS Observer

The September issue of the APS Observer features an article by Nick Joyce and Cathy Faye of the Archives of the History of American Psychology (AHAP). The article, “Skinner Air Crib“, discusses the development of the air crib by B.F. Skinner in the mid-1940s – a climate controlled environment designed to encourage a child’s development. The article discusses some of the myths and legends surround the use of the crib in the Skinner home and also why it failed to gain more widespread popularity in North America.

But the story of the air crib is bigger than just the Skinner story. In 1939, a Dutch doctor created an air crib in Groningen as an aid to child rearing. The outcome was different than the North American story, with the crib still being manufactured and used in some homes in The Netherlands today. The cribs are called “babyhuisjes” in Dutch which translates roughly to “baby house”. Want to build you own babyhuisjes? See here and here.

About Jennifer Bazar

Jennifer Bazar is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto and Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care. Her research focuses on the history of psychiatric institutionalization.