Derby in diapers: how were the retro races of crawling babiesBy Pictolic https://pictolic.com/en/article/derby-in-diapers-how-were-the-retro-races-of-crawling-babies
This is very questionable from an ethical point of view, but no less popular event was held annually as part of the fair in Palisades Park, New Jersey, from 1946 to 1955. We present to you a unique series of archival photographs showing the excitement on the part of parents and the suffering on the part of direct participants of the children's race, during which a serious struggle for cash prizes unfolded. Well, we will leave it to you to judge whether this is an exciting and spectacular sport or a form of mockery of young children.
The race began with the fact that mothers placed their children with their own hands in the starting gate, suspiciously resembling the real gates used at horse races.
The kids participating in the competitions often barely stood on their feet and did not yet know how to walk.
Mothers, other family members and just visitors of the fair actively supported the participants of the race. By the way, the "derby in diapers" were very popular and gathered a lot of viewers.
It is not surprising that the children's races were full of not only excitement and fun, but also screams, crying and tantrums of the participants.
To get to the finish line, some needed a snack.
Others were so overworked from exercising in the fresh air that they fell asleep right on the move, never finishing the race.
Plush toys served as the finish line. They also served as motivation for the crawling participants.
Those who got up and just walked to the finish line were subject to disqualification.
Toys, to which the participants of the races still managed to crawl, they were allowed to keep for themselves.
All participants were assigned funny "nicknames", also suspiciously reminiscent of horses. They were placed on a large poster behind the race field along with the chances of winning each of the small athletes. It remains unknown whether bets were actually accepted on them.
The winner of the race received a prize fund and a crown. However, instead of the joy of victory, the crown often brought only additional frustration.
In 1946, the famous LIFE magazine wrote that children's races are "really as ridiculous as you might think," but this did not prevent them from being held regularly for a whole decade. You will be surprised, but such "diaper derbies" still take place periodically, in our age of concern for human rights and the fight against child abuse.