April 23, 2007

2. Put Your Chick In That Box. Gearability's Baby Box How-To

gearability_babybox1.jpg

What you're gonna need is some Masonite or some tongue-and-groove pine panels, a couple of 40w bulbs, a thermostat from a chick brooder, some brownie pans, some plexi, some mesh for the mattress...

Marty at Gearability was raised in a Baby Box, and so were her kids [her parents were colleagues of the inventor of the Baby Box/AirCrib, influential Harvard behavioral psychologist BF Skinner]. Now that the Baby Box has proved useful in graduating her daughter from a prestigious liberal arts college, she's put together some tips and recollections on building one yourself.

Reading about its construction, the glass-front, eye-level Baby Box sounds even more like an incubator than I imagined--and with both brownie pans [for evaporation/humidity control] and light bulb heaters, more like an EZ-Bake Oven.

It also sounds pretty straightforward, but complicated enough I wouldn't want making a Baby Box for my firstborn child to be my inaugural, learn-as-I-go woodworking/furniture/home improvement project. But if you have some skills already, I bet you could make a sweet, modernist AirCrib out of birch ply, set it on casters, and roll it all over your bamboo laminate floor.

Anyone seen or have the vintage blueprints for the Air Crib, or have you built a Baby Box yourself more recently?

Building A Skinner Air Crib
[gearability]
Previous Baby Box coverage on DT: background, history, and Skinner's daughter's story; Marty's accounts of box-based kidraising, and their wheelchair accessibility

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