We Didn't Have Helmets Or Car Seats
You know that email that goes around now and then that says, "We rode in cars with no seatbelts, drank water out of a hose, rode our bikes without helmets", etc.? If you're my age (60), when you first read it you think back to the "good ol' days" with fondness and nostalgia, but then those clearer memories creep back in and you know what it was really like back then.
Nationwide, Hundreds Would Die On The Roads Each Holiday
In 2011 it seems like a large number of people die on the highways if they say 10 people died over a holiday. When I was a kid it was about five times that number during Easter, Thanksgiving or any of the major days when families would get in the old jalopy and head for grandma's. Why? Because there were no seatbelts, people drank right in their cars, and forget car seats for kids! That all sounds unbelievable, but it's true.
Lead Paint? It's Still A Problem In Older Houses
And how about that disinformation about kids playing with toys and not getting lead poisoning? They might not have gotten poisoning from the toys, but some of the houses the kids lived in had lead paint on the walls and window trim. No self-respecting teething baby was going to miss a chance to gnaw on a windowsill or two.
Before There Were Crossing Guards
When I was in grade school in Tumwater I had to walk a half mile to school and then cross a busy arterial highway (99). Highway 99 was the main road of the west coast before the I-5 freeway went in. The traffic increased when more lanes were added to freeways, but I can tell you, you took your life in your hands at least twice a day to get to and from school! Logging trucks, delivery trucks, and car traffic were all going at least 50 mph on that highway and you looked out for them because it was unlikely they were looking out for you.
Still Looking For Child Safety Improvement
It's my opinion that things have gotten much better for kids in the last 60 years. We've learned to protect them in vehicles, we are more aware of perverts who want to harm them, and as consumers we're more aware and questioning when it comes to every aspect of their lives. Looking back, we did live in more simple times, but we were also still doing very unsafe things (smoking in the house and in the car), using DDT and other deadly pesticides that linger in our environment for decades, or changing the oil in our cars and then spreading the old oil in the dirt driveway (yeah, my dad did that).
We'll always have to keep alert and keep improving, but I think we've come a long, long way don't you? Name some of the improvements you've seen. I can think of one...better built cribs to prevent infant deaths.