8 Things That Almost Killed Us But Will Save Our Kids' Lives

8 Things That Almost Killed Us But Will Save Our Kids' Lives

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There's nothing like nostalgia to turn those glasses on your face rose-colored -- particularly when it comes to those free-range '70s and '80s childhoods. But are we perhaps over-romanticizing those under-scheduled, vaguely-supervised days? When you really take a look at the facts, our kids are a lot safer than kids of yesteryear (not to mention better fed and more age-appropriately entertained).

Sure, kids today might be under a bit more pressure than we were, but they have lots of pretty great (and life-preserving!) stuff we didn't have as children. Check out some of the fabulous innovations today's kids are fortunate enough to take for granted, and take the opportunity to thank your lucky stars you made it out of childhood in one piece! 

Did your parents use #3 when you were a kid?


Image via © iStock.com/MeganKPhotos

  • Car Seats


    Image via © iStock.com/RyanJLane

    Raise your hand if you have absolutely no memory of being strapped into a car seat! The first state to pass a mandatory car seat law was Tennessee in 1978 (other states eventually followed suit). Until then, car seats were mainly used so kids could get a better view out the window!

  • Food Allergy Warnings


    Image via © iStock.com/Mypurgatoryyears

    Maybe you think it's silly that a jar of peanut butter is labelled with a warning that it "contains peanuts," but it's not silly to the one in 13 kids who has a food allergy -- or to their parents -- when they're forewarned about the tree nuts in a cookie. Food labelling has been credited with saving countless lives, but it wasn't mandatory until 2006, when the FDA began requiring the food manufacturers list the names of all ingredients that are (or contain any protein from) the eight most common food allergens.

    Oh, and if you were a '70s kid with an allergy, things were extra hairy -- the EpiPen didn't become available for folks with food allergies until 1980.

  • Sunblock


    Image via mangostock/shutterstock

    Burn, baby, burn! While the first sunscreens with SPF were introduced in the U.S. around 1972, it wasn't until the late '80s that formulas blocking both ultraviolet-A and B rays were developed and parents started regularly slathering it on their kids.

    More From The Stir: 15 Things Every '80s Kid Grew Up With, But Our Kids Can't Identify

  • Safe Playgrounds


    Image via Sofya Apkalikova/shutterstock  

    Who didn't love scalding hot metal slides and falling off of swings onto concrete? That's what playgrounds were like until the 80's, when a spike in injury-related lawsuits prompted the industry to follow standards set up by the Consumer Products Safety Commission. 

  • Bike Helmets


    Image via © iStock.com/ Susan Chiang

    As far as most of today's parents knew when they were kids, helmets were for race car drivers only. The first state to pass a bike helmet law was California ... and it wasn't until 1986. The protective devices still aren't mandatory in every state, but they're pretty widely used -- thank goodness. Experts estimate wearing a bike helmet can prevent 500 bicycle-related fatalities and 151,000 nonfatal head injuries. That's one death and four injuries per day!

  • Lead Testing


    Image via © iStock.com/shayes17

    If you lived in a house with walls (which is to say, any house) before 1978, well, you probably inhaled a lot of lead dust: That's when lead-based paints were finally banned (lead exposure can cause everything from developmental delays to nervous system and kidney damage). It still wasn't until 1991 that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services made testing (and treating) lead levels in kids a priority. Today most babies are tested at age 1 to ensure they're not suffering from lead poisoning -- and if their lead levels are high, they receive treatment.

  • BPA-Free Bottles


    Image via Nicolesa/shutterstock

    Back in the old days, the plastics chemical BPA was used in everything from baby bottles to the lining of formula cans -- and that was really bad, because it turns out BPA can damage reproductive organs, cause early puberty and behavioral problems. It wasn't until 2009 that over 20 states introduced bills to reduce children's exposure to BPA ... and save our kids from who knows what ill effects down the road.

  • Choking Hazard Warnings


    Image via CSPC

    The Consumer Product Safety Commission first enacted warnings about manufacturers using small parts in children's products in 1979, but it wasn't until 1994 that strict regulations were put in place for label warnings to let parents know about potential choking hazards for young kids ... so you're not caught short when your kid starts turning blue.

    More From The Stir: 20 Signs Childhood As We Knew It Is Gone For Good

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