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Vintage Parenting Practices That Seem Mind-Boggling Today

Madeline Hiltz
(Photo Credit: OldSchoolCool via Reddit)

Parents today often find themselves scrutinized for the different choices they make as they raise their children. However, if these critics saw the ways in which children used to be raised, they would surely stop their hating. Here we have found some old-school parenting practices that just wouldn’t fly today.

1. Car seat “safety”

1950s Car Seat Safety

Car seat safety in 1958. (Photo Credit: OldSchoolCool via Reddit)

Here we see a baby sitting in a car seat from 1958. In addition to the fact that this baby is sitting in the front seat, these car seats were not strapped into anything. In fact, the safety of these 1950s car seats ultimately relied on the reflexes of the mother to put her arm out and stop the baby from sailing forward.

2. A young Evel Knievel

Mom being used as a bike ramp

Mom being used as a human bike ramp, circa 1980s. (Photo Credit: OldSchoolCool via Reddit)

This woman should get a mom of the year award for being a literal human ramp. Nothing like getting your mom to lay on the ground so you can test out your new bike. At least her back was supported by lots of pillows and cushions.

3. A family outing spent ice skating

parents ice skating with their baby

Parents taking their baby ice skating, circa 1930s. (Photo Credit: OldSchoolCool via Reddit)

We’re just wondering if that’s an old pair of underwear that is holding this baby up between its parents? Nonetheless, we understand wanting to have a nice family outing, but maybe a picnic would have been a little safer than an ice skating escapade at this age.

4. A lion is a man’s best friend?

Mom, son, and baby lion

A family with their pet lion, circa 1959. (Photo Credit: OldSchoolCool via Reddit)

According to Reddit, this lion was cared for over two years by this young boy and his veterinarian mother. We aren’t sure what happened to this lion after these two years, but we doubt this family continued to adopt such unusual and exotic pets.

5. A royal outing

Princess Yvonne and Prince Alexander

Princess Yvonne and Prince Alexander in Germany, 1955. (Photo Credit: OldSchoolCool via Reddit)

This photo may or may not be a result of bad parenting. This 1955 photograph shows 13-year-old Princess Yvonne of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn in Germany drinking a bottle of Dry Sack sherry, while her 12-year-old brother Prince Alexander sits beside her with a half-smoked cigarette. However, the children’s mother, Princess Marianne Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn, who was responsible for snapping this photo, was an accomplished photographer. Most likely, this was a staged photo and the kids were not actually chugging alcohol and smoking a cigarette.

6. How they do things down under

Baby drinking a beer, circa 1991

Baby drinking a beer and holding a baby crocodile in Australia, circa 1991. (Photo Credit: OldSchoolCool via Reddit)

Although this photo is full of red flags (mainly the fact that this young child is drinking a beer while holding a baby crocodile), we must admit that this Australian kid looks like he is full of swag.

7. Hang on tight!

Mountain climbing in the 90s

A young girl strapped to her dad’s back while climbing a mountain in the 1990s. (Photo Credit: OldSchoolCool via Reddit)

Mountain climbers today are decked out in safety gear, ensuring that the risk of injuries is minor. Clearly, that was not always the case. Here we see a young girl whose safety harness is just a couple of ropes and holding onto her dad’s back for dear life.

8. Safety first

car sear in the 1950s

A car seat from the 1950s. (Photo Credit: OldSchoolCool via Reddit)

The car seat in this photo has a little bit more safety precautions than the first car seat featured on this list. Even still, this one doesn’t necessarily look like the safest thing for a child to be riding around in. For starters, the child still isn’t strapped into anything and could easily fly out of the seat. Also, there is absolutely no cushion whatsoever, so hopefully, the parents of this child were safe drivers.

9. Summertime swimming lessons

swimming lessons in the 1960s

Swimming lessons in inner-city Detroit, circa 1960s. (Photo Credit: OldSchoolCool via Reddit)

Today, swimming lessons typically take place in a backyard or a public pool. However, swimming lessons in inner-city Detroit in the 1960s were a little bit different. According to Reddit, this pool was called a “Swimmobile” that allowed for kids to be taught swimming in their own neighborhoods. Honestly, to us, it does seem like an innovative way to give kids a chance to learn to swim.

10. The ultimate multitasker

mom chainsawing with baby on her back

A mom using a chainsaw with her baby on her back, circa early 1980s. (Photo Credit: OldSchoolCool via Reddit)

This mother is the definition of a multi-tasker, and we have to respect her dedication to both motherhood and household chores. Here she is with a baby strapped to her back while she uses a chainsaw to get her outdoor chores done. The baby seems to be attentive though, and no doubt grew up to be extremely comfortable around power tools.

11. The original “be home late” text

A child standing on his bike trying to reach a payphone

A child balancing on his bike trying to reach a payphone. (Photo Credit: OldSchoolCool via Reddit)

This kid must have great balance to be able to both reach the payphone and stand on his bike at the same time. Most kids today have cell phones to let their parents know where they are, but before modern smartphones were invented, kids would use payphones to let their parents know they would be home late. We are glad this kid was having so much fun with his friends, but we sure hope he didn’t fall from this balancing act and get a few scrapes and bruises.

12. That doesn’t seem to like baby formula

Baby drinking a Budweiser

A baby drinking a Budweiser, circa 1970s. (Photo Credit: OldSchoolCool via Reddit)

This sure doesn’t look like baby formula. Here we see a baby taking a sip of a Budweiser beer during the late 1970s. Although this surely can’t be the healthiest choice, at least we don’t see any cigarettes around… right?

13. A quick sip while dad isn’t looking

Kid sneaking a swig of alcohol

Photo of a young boy taking a swig of alcohol. (Photo Credit: OldSchoolCool via Reddit)

Here we see a kid taking a huge swig of alcohol while the adults aren’t looking. We aren’t sure how none of the card players saw this antic, or if they noticed the kid reaching for the bottle and simply just let it happen because they knew he probably wouldn’t like the taste.

14. Clearly, some strict safety precautions on ski lifts

ski lift in the 1960s

Ski lift safety standards, circa 1960s. (Photo Credit: OldSchoolCool via Reddit)

Chairlifts certainly had a lot of safety precautions in the 1960s! Here we see a mother keeping her daughter from falling to her death on a ski lift simply by using her arm as a safety belt. We sure are glad these people are so smiley and happy in this photo, because we personally would be freaking out.

15. Playing with fire

dad showing his baby a sparkler

A father showing his baby a sparkler, circa 1980s. (Photo Credit: OldSchoolCool via Reddit)

More from us: People Used To Ship Children Via The Post Office

We understand that babies are easily distracted, but this truly is playing with fire. Sparklers are cool and all, but maybe wait until your baby has enough fine motor skills to grab a sparkler themselves before shoving one in their face.