What young people don’t understand is that there used to be something more dangerous than “too much screen time.” And yet, parents sorta let their kids do whatever they wanted as long as they came home on time or called the landline to check in. Sure, the “climbing a hill both ways to get to school” is a lie. But, the fact that kids used to just leave the house on bikes, pockets full of bottle rockets, is something young kids with helicopter parents never got to have. Honestly, I don’t know if that’s true. I don’t hang out with a lot of children. I’m assuming, based on what I’ve seen on Instagram, kids mostly pose for photos and then ask if they can play with their parents’ phones for the rest of the day.
One Redditor on the r/AskReddit page had a simple question that spoke to many, many people: “Older generations of Reddit: What toys did you have as a child that would be considered too dangerous to be given to a child today?”
The Internet had answers. Some of them, from people older than I am, were unbelievable. I’m sure a Razor scooter messed up a few ankles back in the day, but my generation played with actual razors out in the forest for some reason. Fun stuff.
Here are the best answers to the question: “what toy did you have as a kid that would be too dangerous for a kid to have today?”:
1. So many opportunities to be harmed.
“My dentist used to give me Vials of Mercury to bring to school for show and tell. My parents bought me a rock collection at a natural history museum that included a chunk of asbestos from which you could pull fibrous material. We also had metal trucks with extremely sharp edges and lead based paint jobs.” –Roundaboutsix
2. Sir, that’s not actually a toy, but OK.
“Ohio Blue Tip matches. My grandma let us carry the box out her back door to burn shit. Strike anywhere! Boom- fire. Not sure how I survived.” –delmersgopher
3. The kids can learn something at least.
“A chemistry set. My brother and I were totally unsupervised and never followed the instructions. We just mixed chemicals together at random to see what would happen. I remember one combination turned into this really smelly black foam-like substance.” –SinceLastNovember
4. The fire hazard.
“I have a crayon melter that melts crayons and lets you pour it into molds so you could make your own crayons and rings
turns out production stopped because of a failure to stop the heater from being turned on if the lid was opened.” –TheMemeSniper
5. A veritable danger zone.
“Not a toy, but playgrounds were plunked down onto asphalt and concrete.” –BrownEggs93
6. Not as dangerous as the real thing but not teaching the correct lesson to kids.
“We had these weird fake cigarettes that actually allowed you to blow smoke that was quite realistic. We freaked out a lot of adults with them.” –Chum_Gum6838
7. A large metal robot… for kids!
“I had an incredibly heavy metal square looking robot that spit smoke it produced from burning oil. It smelled noxious and was heavy enough it could have easily been a murder weapon.” –Grave-Diffin
8. The slide.
“In the late 90s my elementary school had a metal slide about 15ft tall. The ladder to climb up, and the “railing” around the 1ft wide platform at the top were made of skinny metal tubing that got slick af when it was wet. The sides of the slide were about 6 inches tall, super easy to just go over the edge. Several kids fell or were pushed off over the years when I was there. One boy had to be hospitalized not once, not twice, but three times after jumping off it.
Around 2001 the school tore it down and replaced it with an extremely lame plastic slide about 8ft tall, with sides about 1ft tall.” –glum_hedgehog
9. I’m assuming these were made before anyone knew what a bad idea this was.
“I never owned one, but you could buy a radioactive science kit that came with real radioactive material and a geiger counter.” –aching-tiffany
10. Fun for all.
More specifically those small playground pebbles. We had a game on the playground where we would have “rock wars”, 2 teams, everyone loses.” –-PM_me_your_recipes-
11. “Lawn Darts.”
“Fun fact: it’s not rust that gives you tetanus. The bacterium that causes it, Clostridum tetani, is an anaerobic bacterium found in soil and can be transmitted via sharp implements that were stuck into the earth, namely nails and garden tools, which rust does tend to collect on.” –Unforgettawha
12. I had a pair that barely fit. Didn’t help me jump really, though I did take some rough falls.
“Moon shoes.” –MuppetManiac
13. Still dangerous.
“I’m surprised trampolines are still around, even with the dumb safety cage netting they must all have now.” –Former_Consideration
14. I had this one and burned myself a few times.
“Creepy Crawlers. It was the safer, 90’s version, but you could still burn yourself on those metal molds.” –HardKor1283
15. Fireworks were like toys to us.
“M-80’s, they were like a extra powerful fire cracker (supposedly 1/8 of a stick of dynamite), we would use them to literally blow stuff up – like sending garbage cans into the air or blowing street signs off their posts. They were really a lot of fun for us early teenage boys!” –rbremer50