It’s a wonder so many of us lived through childhood considering how little it seems our parents knew about safety. Maybe all of that parental hovering that goes on today is justified.
Read on for a list of things that your parents may have done -- or let you do -- that would get them into hot water today. Then share your stories in the comment section below.
Your parents probably have dozens of cute photos of you as a tyke sporting nothing but your birthday suit. It’s not illegal to take snaps of your kiddies in the buff, but it could be treated as a crime.
In 2008, an Arizona couple took their vacation pictures to a local big box store to be developed. An employee thought their children’s bath time photos were a little too racy, so he reported them to the authorities. A judge later ruled the images were perfectly innocent but the damage was done. The couple was arrested and their three children were held in protective custody for more than a month.
Most people over 30 wax nostalgic about a childhood spent roaming adult-free through the neighborhood. These days, free-range kids are not only frowned upon, they are often illegal.
Several states have laws on the books stating a child cannot be left on their own until the age of 12. In Illinois, a child cannot be legally on his or her own until the age of 14.
That’s why you’re seeing stories in the news like the mom who let her 9-year-old daughter play in a park without supervision while she worked her shift at a nearby McDonalds.
Earlier this year, a father in Hawaii was arrested for forcing his 8-year-old son to walk the mile home from school all alone.
Smoking in the Car
Plenty of parents used to puff away on a cigarette while carpooling the kids to soccer.
Smoking in the confined space of a car exposes passengers to highly concentrated toxic air even when the windows are rolled down, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Furthermore, smoke seeps into upholstery and other car surfaces, creating long-term health risks.
Six states -- Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Maine, Oregon and Utah -- take the protection of developing lungs seriously. They’ve got laws on the books making it illegal to smoke in the car with a young child on board. Other states are considering similar legislation.
Some states didn’t have seat belt laws until the early nineties. Until then, plenty of kids slid around in the back seat any time their mom or dad took them out for a drive.
One user on Reddit fondly recalled his mom greasing the rear seat with Crisco so he and his sibling would get a thrill every time she hugged a curve in the road.
As we now know, seat belts save lives, especially young lives. The U.S. Department of Transportation estimated that seat belts prevent the death of more than 12,000 children every year.
If you’re stopped without your kid properly strapped in, you probably won’t go to jail. But you’ll be fined anywhere from $10 to $160 depending upon where you live. In most states, fines climb even higher, and jail time is a possibility if you’re involved in an auto accident with a child who wasn’t properly restrained.