How did baby boomers survive childhood?

Looking at all the safety measures that are put in place to protect kids these days it really makes you
Via Shutterstock

Looking at all the safety measures that are put in place to protect kids these days it really makes you wonder, how on earth did kids from the 50s, 60s and 70s survive?

Mums didn’t stop eating blue cheese or tinned tuna, drinking alcohol and even smoking when they were pregnant.

Babies slept in cots that were painted with bright lead-based colours.

Baby seats were metal frames that hooked over the front seat and cars didn’t have air bags or seat belts.

The doors, cabinets and medicine containers in homes didn’t have child locks.

Kids didn’t wear helmets when they rode bikes, racing down hills.

They drank straight from the garden hose.

Kids played in mud and occasionally ate worms.

Shared drink bottles and lipsticks with friends.

Were out all day and didn’t have a mobile phone that parents or friends could contact them on.

Kids fell out of trees, broke bones, chipped teeth and didn’t sue anyone for accidents.

All children had to try out for sports team, and not everyone got a medal.

Compared to the cotton wool wrapped kids of today we played rough and, if you ask younger generations, it is a wonder how we ever survived!

What is your favourite memory of childhood? What crazy antics did you get up to?


  1. Lyn  

    A lot of safety devices and practices today were developed directly because of accidents, deaths etc from the 50s, 60s and 70s. With no child-proof locks on cupboards and medicine bottles, more kids died. The road toll was much higher even though there were less cars, with no seat belts, no helmets, no baby car-seats etc. Lead-based paints was found to kill or cause problems in many kids, so they stopped using it. Medical science is very advanced in comparison with those times and when dangers, or even probable dangers, are found, such as things that affect unborn babies, not known in those days, the warnings are to our benefit to heed. Some of the protections in place today seem over the top to us but I am grateful for many of them that save our children’s lives in today’s world.

  2. Julianne  

    I’m a child of the early 50’s and I think it was a case of survival of the fittest. Adults from those generations are still dying from exposure to toxins not known back then. Thank goodness for safety measures developed to keep our children safe. We remember those times as good times because we weren’t bombarded by media delivering gory and in your face details of misery in our own back yards and around the world. The age of innocence, no longer exists, even for children.

  3. Joan  

    Agree with Lyn, kids did die, and cot deaths were much more common. Every teenager I knew had one or more friends killed in a car accident. It’s so easy to glorify the ‘good old days’. I never want to go back there.

  4. Julie-anne  

    We were tougher, & made to go outside & play. We made mud pies, cubbies, rode our trikes, then graduated to bikes with other neighbourhood kids. Fell off, scraped our knees constantly, climbed trees, fell out, broke arms or legs, swam in unpolluted local creeks, & fished there, too.

    Played tiggy, rockeo, tennis, ball games, netball, swam. Enjoyed skipping over big rope, catching tadpoles, picking fruit from mulberry trees, & leaves to feed silkworms. Had proper children’s Birthday parties, with the kids from your class.

    TV arrived in 1959. I was allowed watch Mickey Mouse Club, & ABC News every night. Much more on Fri/Sat/Sun nights.

    It was a different time, & I enjoyed it immensely!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *