Vintage Style Parenting: Photos Showing Parenting Choices That Wouldn’t Pass Today

Vintage Wonders Dec 30, 2023

Ah, like, taking care of kids is like this super cool rollercoaster, you know? Sometimes, parents get, like, funny advice or make mistakes.

Thinking back, people used to do some really wild stuff when raising kids.

We all love those awesome pictures of our little ones having a blast at the beach or in the park.

But check out your parents’ old photo albums — you’ll totally have a good laugh at the old-school stuff they did.

Today, safety is like a big deal with lots of rules. But back then, kids had more adventures, took more risks, and learned to take care of themselves.

Their parents didn’t have all these fancy tricks worrying about safety and mistakes.

To remember how parenting was back then and how they thought about keeping kids safe, we’ve got this rad collection of old photos.

Get ready to see parents and kids doing things that might freak out today’s moms and dads. It’s a fun trip through time showing how much parenting has changed!

“Me back in 1991. Just your typical Aussie kid drinking beer (I wasn’t allowed heavies back then) and holding a baby crocodile”. (Photo credit: truthcrusade).
“If your mum didn’t lay on the ground making herself into a ramp for your new BMX, did she even love you? 1980s”. (Photo credit: therealabv).
“California Marijuana Initiative Rally 1972. That’s me in the box and My parents in the picture”. (Photo credit: 19blackdog72)
Safety standards in the 1960s.
“My dad and his veterinarian mother, with their pet lion which they raised for two years, 1959”. (Photo credit: ryanb99).
Princess Yvonne and Prince Alexander in Germany, 1955.
A couple ice skating with their baby, in 1937.
“Infant me, my mother, and father at a bar because that’s how parents rolled in the early 1980s”. (Photo credit: areyouknserious).
The pinnacle of parenting: 1930s swimming lesson.
Car seat safety in 1958. Not strapped into anything, these seats relied on the mother to put her arm out and stop the baby from falling forward.
“My hilarious father (with the magazine) and my grandfather, grandmother, and uncle at his bar mitzvah in 1972”. (Photo credit: JasonPlatz).
Harley with a baby seat, 1962.
“A photo of me dressed up as my dad, with my dad, 1982.” (Photo by fuuuuuendoobs).
“My dad showing off his parenting skills, 1985”. (Photo credit: imakethenews).
Back in the 1950s. Check out this car seat.
“My mom showing off her parenting skills, 1978”. (Photo credit: thedumone).
“Me, 1958, relaxing after my bath with Toby, I was never again this cool”. (Photo credit: ickeyray54).
“Just a photo of yours truly (at 11 years) petting a full grown tiger. My mom calls it her bad parenting moment.” (Photo credit: reesmeister).
“13 y/o dad having a taste while the grownups are busy playing cards; Upstate New York, 1954”. (Photo credit: stevierayfrog).
“My father and his pet lion Priscilla, California 1970s”. (Photo credit: spencehord).
They placed children in questionably designed car seats. While it was a step in the right direction, early car seats appeared more like death traps than safety devices.
Children were surrounded by lead. The toxic nature of lead hasn’t exactly been a secret throughout history (the Romans even knew about it) but that didn’t stop people from using it in everything from toys, to paint, to appliances they used every day.
In Victorian times, many mothers didn’t nurse, feeding their babies by bottle instead. These bottles, state-of-the-art at the time, had a rubber nipple and thin rubber tubing. There were two problems: The rubber tubing was extremely difficult to clean, which made it a breeding ground for bacteria. On top of this, the advice at the time was that mothers only needed to wash the bottles every two to three weeks. Eventually, these baby bottles got a new nickname: “murder bottles.”
Giving alcohol to children.
One of the more unusual trends from the early 1900s was the idea that babies needed to be given special baths to remove the waxy vernix that coated their skin in the womb. The conventional method to do this was to smear the baby in lard, butter, or olive oil.
Baby cages. As more families moved into dark and crowded tenement apartments during the Industrial Revolution, parents became concerned their young children weren’t getting enough sunlight or fresh air. The solution? Suspend them from cages installed on the outside of the building.
Giving fireworks to children.

(Photo credit: Reddit / Bored Panda / Pinterest / Wikimedia Commons).