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18 Insane Things Acceptable for Children in the 1960s That No Longer Fly

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Many behaviors deemed ordinary for children in the 1960s would be mortifying to people today, primarily due to changes in safety and perceptions. Even though it was the norm then, if parents from the ’60s were to raise their children in the same manner in today’s world, they might find social services knocking on their doors. As time progresses, so do parenting methods and the level of supervision and exposure provided to children.

The 1960s kids will be the first to share that things were different back then, and they grew up a bit “wild.” To be fair, parents and kids didn’t know any better—and most of them wouldn’t trade any of it for all the great memories they made.

Nowadays, it seems the world has become less safe, and individuals are more vigilant about health and safety than before. If you grew up in the 1960s, you’re likely to recognize some of these norms and practices.

1. Unsafe Sleeping Arrangements for Babies

baby crib happy baby
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Nowadays, parents are given very strict instructions on how to help their babies sleep as safely as possible. In the 1960s, it was a different story, and many of today’s hazards weren’t well-known or studied.

For example, doctors encouraged babies to sleep on their stomachs (a big no-no these days). Plus, cribs were dangerous, with too wide of slats, drop rails, stuffed animals, and bumpers that are suffocation and choking hazards.

2. Corporal Punishment

Mother is punishing daughter by hitting with a hanger.
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Kids today know their ‘rights’ and may even recite them for you, but most of the 60s kids grew up knowing beating was never an empty threat. And no, we’re not talking about a run-of-the-mill spanking. Many kids of the 60s knew what a belt could make their rear end look like.

Punishment by beating was common, but it was not the best form of discipline as many parents weren’t very resonable with it. Many kids grew up fearing their parents because of this.

3. Running in the Streets

Group of running children outdoors
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Parents let kids run in the streets as much as they wanted without much supervision, and they were deemed pretty safe. Today, even sending a child to the mailbox is a nerve-wracking errand in some parts of the country.

4. Smoking Around Kids

Woman sitting on her couch shocked surprised glasses blazer
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You can barely smoke around non-smoking adults today, but smoking around children was pretty common in the 60s.

Many people didn’t know about secondhand smoke dangers, and even pregnant mothers and new mothers smoked around their children. Crazy!

5. No Seatbelts

Drive an old red car for two seniors man and woman
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Kids could ride in the front seat without a seat belt arm. Mom’s arms were enough to hold them in place when she needed to apply emergency brakes.

6. No Car Seats

Old retro car in the streets of Hanoi
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The airbags we swear by today, and the car seats we can’t be allowed to leave the hospital without were not invented until the 70s and 80s.

7. No Nets on Trampolines

Children Having Fun On Trampoline
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Trampolines today are like armored vehicles, impenetrable in all ways. Well, the kids in the 60s didn’t enjoy trampolines with netting all around; kids were around to jump around, and hopefully, they wouldn’t break their necks or ankles.

8. Walking to School

Group of happy elementary school students walking
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All those escapades the boomers tell you about their going to-school trips are true (walking 1 hour in the snow uphill); there was barely any being dropped off by a bus, carpool, or a parent.

Kids mainly were sent on their jolly way to school by themselves.

9. No Helmets on Bikes

Boy cyclist in traffic on the city roadway.
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Cycling without a helmet today is a capital offense for many kids; you will see them on their bikes looking like astronauts.

Before parents knew the dangers of knocking their heads on the pavement, kids rode bikes without helmets.

10. Hitchhiking

Little boy hitching a ride
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The closest kids today get to hitchhiking is getting an Uber, and even then, they have to share their trip with the whole village.

Hitchhiking was a common thing in the 60s, and many kids got free rides just by lifting their thumbs on the highway.

11. Drinking Direct From the Hose

Baby Drinking Water from Hose
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Today’s kids know to only drink from the dispenser or the water bottle (at least most of them), but drinking from the hose was common.

There wasn’t much bottled (or filtered) water in the 60s, and the hoses posed a danger from lead, but that wasn’t a well-known fact.

12. No Sunscreen

Kids running enjoying summer
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We now know that sunscreen is good for you, and your skin will be very grateful when you’re older. Kids in the older days didn’t quite get sunscreen; the greater need was to get a tan.

13. Solo Swimming on the Beach

Boy swimming in crystal blue water
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It doesn’t sound like an excellent idea today due to the number of predators prowling around, but some children would be allowed to go to the water on their own, as long as they stayed within their parents’ eyeshot.

14. Blood Oaths

Close up two people hook little fingers of each other (Pinkie Promise)
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Young boys and girls used to take their “pinkie swears” to a whole other level with blood oaths. Kids would make promises to each other and become blood brothers or sisters by making a small bleeding cut on each of their hands and shaking on it.

That’s just asking to spread communicable diseases and is a big no-no these days.

15. Fending for Themselves After School

Little sad thoughtful bored toddler boy playing colorful building blocks
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As more moms entered the workforce, it was common for kids to come home after school to an empty house. This left kids to fend for themselves for several hours before their parents were able to come home from work. If they were lucky, they had an older sibling or neighbor kid that they could go to for help or entertainment.

16. Car Naps

Girl sleeping in the car
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Kids were left to sing, read, and nap on road trips before screens. Kids would often take turns napping in the back window of their station wagon.

17. Taking the Bus Alone

Boy in a public transport
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Kids of the 60s may recall having a note taped to their shirt and dropped off at the City Bus to get their child to their destination, something that would never happen these days.

18. Bullying

Bullying boys
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Boys were quite means to each other in this decade. It was common for “friends” to be rough, both physically and verbally, with each other. And running to mommy or the teacher wasn’t an option because the child would then just get further ridiculed.

Bullying is still a huge issue in today’s schools, and thankfully, society (and teachers and parents- for the most part) take such a problem more seriously.


16 Boomer Habits That Are Becoming Obsolete

happy old woman black and white
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The youngest members of the Baby Boomer generation are swiftly approaching their 60s, and several of the once-iconic trends they championed have become unfamiliar to the younger generations.

16 Boomer Habits That Are Becoming Obsolete

19 Things You Shouldn’t Fear as You Get Older

sad old woman
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As we grow older, it’s common for our fears to grow alongside us and sometimes hold us back from enjoying our lives. Many of these worries come from not knowing what will happen as we age. The media (social and news) also makes older folks unnecessarily fearful about their health and vitality- often painting a picture of disaster, decline, and disease.

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17 Insane Things That Happened at Woodstock

hippie van 60s guitars
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Two things happened in 1969: The Moon landing and the Woodstock Festival. The famous Woodstock Music and Art Fair was the highlight of the 60s and a great testament to a people’s desire for fun, peace, and a little rebellion.

17 Insane Things That Happened at Woodstock


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