Photo credit: Jacopo Raule/FilmMagic/Getty Images
1. Riding in cars was fun
Yep, good times. Riding in the car without seat belts; on the front console between Mom and Dad; sometimes even wedged in the back window while rolling to your next family destination. But, it doesn't stop there. We even climbed into our own car seats before pulling down the safety bar or rode in the back of pickup trucks and El Caminos. No way you'd see any of that today.
Photo credit: Baby Gaga
2. Water was good for you
It wasn't a true summer day unless you took at least one long swig from the garden hose. Nowadays, not only does your water have to be triple-filtered before it's deemed drinkable, but you also have to drink it from the right eco-friendly glass container. How did we survive?
3. Cigarettes were cool for all ages
Not only did our parents send us to the liquor store to pick up a pack of cigs, smoking in airplanes, restaurants and in the car with the windows rolled up wasn't called a child safety issue; it was called a Sunday afternoon. Just to further seal the deal, the ice cream man sold us candy and bubble gum cigarettes so we could pretend to smoke, too, even if only in the designated smoking area at our high school. Brilliant.
Photo credit: Candy Crate
4. Leaving kids unsupervised was the norm
Parents are being sent to the Big House left and right for letting kids play at the park while Mom works and leaving kids in the car while Dad runs into the store real quick. But, back in my childhood playing in the car while Mom shopped was always an option. Of course, this is in between babysitting gigs where I watched the neighbor's infant while I myself hadn't even hit puberty yet. Now every nosy Nancy is getting their undies in a bunch just because a child's mom is sitting on the bench of a park instead of helicopter parenting. Neglectful indeed.
5. Bike safety was optional
Police officers are quick to ticket kids riding bikes without helmets, but riding without helmets — on the handle bars of our friend's bike — could be spied in every neighborhood across America. Now we practically bubble wrap our children before allowing them to walk alongside his or her bike.
6. Kids played in the front yard for hours
Although video game consoles were around, parents kicked us outside to play. And, not just in the backyard; the front yard was our playground. Everything between our block and the neighborhood liquor store was fair game until the street lights came on. And we even made safe choices when left to our own devices. Can you imagine that?
Although it's pretty likely that Kim Kardashian West will be blasted for any parenting decision she makes about her daughter North West, the rest of us can revel in the memories when childhood wasn't muddled up by child safety obsession.