12 reasons kids from the '60s and '70s shouldn't be alive right now

Do you ever look back on your childhood and think, "how did I make it out alive?"

If you grew up in the 1960s or 1970s, then you know how relaxed everything used to be. Our parents never forced us to wear seatbelts, we pretty much ate whatever we wanted, and were given way more responsibiity than we should have been given. It's a little sad kids today won't get to experience half the things we did, but looking back, there's a good reason why they won't. 

Were these 12 things we did as kids kind of dangerous? Yeah, maybe some of it was.

1. Playing with dangerous toys


Parents were a lot more liberal with what they would let us play with. Forget about choking hazards, we're talking hot plates, noxious odors and sharp metal objects. It's a wonder how we made it out of the decade intact.

Image: Retro-Cafe

2. No seatbelts


We never had to buckle up back in the day, which meant we could sit wherever. That includes stretching out across the seats, lying against the back windshield, or, if your parents had a station wagon, rolling around in the cargo area.

What was better than all of that was hitching a ride in a flatbed pickup. No cushioned seats, no roof and nothing but the wind in your hair and sun in your face. 

Image: Buzzfeed

3. No helmets


Just like seat belts, people didn't really see the value in this piece of life saving gear. Kids popped wheelies and raced each other without helmets, let alone knee and elbow pads. Falling was an art form too because you had to land without splitting your head open or breaking any bones. 

Image: The Selvedge Yard

4. Running after DDT trucks


This one is probably the biggest "what were we thinking" moments of the '60s and '70s. We would run after these suckers when they rolled into our neighborhood and sprayed the air with a chemical fog. If your street had some traffic, it was just the risk you had to take to have a little fun. 

Image: Pinterest

5. Unsafe playgrounds


Anyone remember swinging so hard that one part of the swing set would come off the ground? Or what about the burns we suffered sliding down scorching metal slides during the summer? And there wasn't a cushy rubber foundation back then, just asphalt. 

Image: Flashbak

6. Latchkey kids


If your mom or dad worked late, then chances are they gave you the keys to the house so you could let yourself in after school. For those couple hours, you might as well have been a full-fledged adult.

Sure, your parents expected you to do homework while you were alone, but you secretly watched an episode or two of The Brady Bunch before they got home. 

7. Leaving 12-year-olds in charge


If you had a younger sibling, then you best bet you would be watching after them at some point during the day (especially if you were a latchkey kid).

You didn't need any certifications to babysit either. If you were at least 12 and able to dial 9-1-1, then you got some pretty sweet babysitting gigs. It was perfectly acceptable too.

Image: YouTube

8. Diets


There was no such thing as "health foods" like kale and quinoa back when we were kids. If it was sold at the store, then it went in our stomachs. Plus, the less preparation that went into a school lunch, the better. Shout out to the Wonder Bread sandwiches, chips and Twinkies that probably stunted our growth as kids. 

Image: Pinterest

9. Sitting in the front seat


The lack of seatbelts meant you could sit wherever you wanted, and no seat was more coveted than the middle seat in the front, back when front seats were benches. If there were six people in your family, then you fought your siblings for that position. If you sat there, you got to control which radio station the family listened to, and got the extra protection of your mother's arm when your father stopped too hard. 

Image: William Gedney, Duke University

10. Secondhand smoke


There was no escaping the haze of cigarette smoke in the 1970s. From airplanes to automobiles, we probably inhaled more secondhand smoke as children than some people do in a lifetime today. Looking back, we're happy to leave this one in the '70s. 

Image: Daily Mail

11. Explosive cars


It's basically a fact that cars were death traps back in the '70s, and the Ford Pinto is the prime example. Not only did we not wear seatbelts and sit wherever we pleased, we were driving in cars that could explode because the fuel tank wasn't designed properly. Luckily, the cars were discontinued in 1980, but only after we had risked our lives riding in them.

Image: Flickr

12. Summer


Come to think of it, the three months between the school year were the most dangerous times growing up. We would leave the house for hours at a time, run around without shoes, and come home with more scrapes and bruises than we could count.

There was no structured playtime and no cell phones, just long days of sunshine and absolute fun. Yeah, being a kid in the '60s and '70s wasn't all that bad. 

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Joenmass 9 months ago
We didn’t have 9-1-1 in the 70’s.
We didn’t need to use any stinking lap seatbelts in our cars, our dads were like Superman, they would snap their arm up so fast to protect us from the steel dashboard and windshield if he needed to stop fast.
Endicott 19 months ago
The 1970s were also a haven for child predators and murderers. When kids left the house at 9AM in the summer and didn't come back until 5PM, with parents having no idea where they were, who they were with, or how to contact them, if a child was kidnapped the chances of finding them ever again was pretty much zero (I myself barely escaped being kidnapped twice in those years). The same for young women murdered by strangers. Very little chance the police would ever find the killer and even today there are hundreds of unsolved murders of young women killed in the 70s and early 80s for which the police still have no clue who did it.
Wolfmanmos 23 months ago
We didn't need babysitters, we just went over to the neighbor's house and if we did do something bad the old folks in the neighborhood would tell our parents. I don't think we had 911 back when I was growing up, plus I don't think we got as sick back then as kids do today.
Ron1951 34 months ago
I don't recall wanting to ride in the middle of the front seat.
DerekBird 35 months ago
7. Leaving 12-year-olds in charge.
"If you were at least 12 and able to dial 9-1-1, then you got some pretty sweet babysitting gigs. It was perfectly acceptable too."

911 wasn't really nationwide in the 70s and isn't 100% nationwide as of 2017, so I don't know if 911 was even really well known by most people at all in the 70s let alone the 80s.

In fact the national U.S. 911 coverage by 1979 was 26% of the U.S. population. This increased to 50% by 1987.
RedSamRackham 35 months ago
* Our dad exposed us lads to 2nd hand smoke with his cigarette BUT scolded my brother for having a candy cigarette so close to suppertime. * Those rocket-shaped monkey bars allowed us to be fantasy astronauts blasting off into outer space! * If you raised your knees you got no burns on the metal slide! * ☺
Bob 39 months ago
We would play games and lose. And that was okay. There would be another game tomorrow.
RedSamRackham 39 months ago
* My dad was smoking a cigarette in same room as us "yoots" BUT yelled at my brother for having a candy cigarette so close to supper time! * The rocket shaped monkey bars in school playground allowed us to be fantasy astronauts! ☺
DawnBridson 39 months ago
911 didn't exist. We dialed 0.
RedSamRackham DawnBridson 39 months ago
* In Chicago FI-7-1313 for fire department and PO-5-1313 for police! ☺
Kingkong 47 months ago
How would we have reacted to covid-19 back then?
DavidDettinburn 50 months ago
if you knew 911, heck i remember when you had to do all 7 numbers.
LindaLauren 50 months ago
Latchkey kids were in the 1980s, not 60s or 70s . And “summer” is a season not something to fear for kids. JMO
Wrong. I went to school with many latchkey kids during my elementary school days in the 70's. I was jealous of them, so much freedom.
SteveAnderson LindaLauren 39 months ago
there were many many latch key kids in the 50s and 60s . parents even left their younger kids at home when the went shopping in the 50s .
BillSalter 50 months ago
It is hard to comprehend that we were safer then without all the restrictions than we are now as a child or adult!
Endicott BillSalter 19 months ago
Except kids were not safe. I knew three people who died in my elementary school from things which would never happen today.
PJMill 50 months ago
To be perfectly fair those old station wagons were veritable tanks, You could get into an accident see it happen get out, close the door and be sitting on the curb, before the accident caught up to the passenger compartment...
Russ 50 months ago
13. We weren't a bunch of dumb a**es and knew our physical and mental limits because our mommy and daddy weren't there to bail us out all the time.
x60hz11 50 months ago
Not for nothing but I really could do without the intrusive audio from ads that blare while I'm trying to read these lists!
Russ JoeyZone11 50 months ago
Get Ad-Block. It works wonders.
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