old station wagonThere's nothing that binds this generation of parents together like the lure of nostalgia. We love to moan and groan about how nothing is quite as good today as it was in those halcyon days when we were young, and man, are our kids missing out! But let me break it to you, ladies and gents.

Betamax was really not as good as Blu-Ray. Payphones were impossible to find (and hardly ever worked). Trapper Keepers were entirely too big for the backpack. And Shrinky Dinks didn't really have any USE. Oh, and then there were the real horrors of childhood ... that our kids are lucky enough to skip entirely:

Riding in the WAY Back of the Station Wagon: It's hard to tell how many kids saw the world from the back window on the family road trip because Mom and Dad insisted on overpacking. Today a kid lying in a car without a carseat will get you pulled over by the police. And good thing: the CDC says having a kid in a carseat during an accident reduces their risk of serious or fatal injury by more than half.

Creepy Cribs: It might have been cute for you to sleep in your dad's crib when you were a kid, but nothing's good enough for today's baby. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has come down hard over the years on regulating baby beds. That means today's kid never has to worry about getting his head caught between the slats or feeling the side come apart during a tantrum.

Who Needs What?: Children with special needs have a completely different life than their predecessors thanks to the Americans With Disabilities Act. It passed in 1990, paving the way for today's children to get special services in schools and out in public that our parents only dreamed of.

Red Dye Scares: Red dye No. 2 was banned in 1976 on the suspicion that it caused cancer, but we kids spent years being told to avoid those fire-engine-red M&Ms. Our kids, on the other hand, are equal opportunity munchers.

Just Play It Off: Unless you were gushing blood from your nostrils, coaches and parents alike expected us to shake it off and get back out there when we were kids. Today we know a little something about concussions ... and how they impact kids for a long time if they're not treated.

Polio: It relegated one of our nation's best known presidents to a wheelchair, and it terrified parents. Even as the numbers of those affected dwindled, we kids sucked down the vaccine from a little vial. But as of 1994, there's no need for parents to fear: polio is considered eradicated from the American population.

AIDS: In December 1982, a toddler contracted the AIDS virus from a blood transfusion, and parents began to panic. Few knew what it was or how to fight it; they just knew it killed people, including innocent children. Fast forward to today, and infections in children are fewer each year, while the age expectancy for someone with HIV increases.

What's in the Water?: If your kid has brown stains on his teeth, it's probably because he's not brushing, not because of anything in your town's water system. The Safe Drinking Water Act passed in 1974, and today municipalities are required to meet federal guidelines that keep toxic nasties out of your kid's cup.

Do you still think childhood was so much better back in the good old days?

 

Image via taberandrew/Flickr