Kids had more opportunity to do illicit things like smoking cigarettes, considered the pinnacle of cool adults activities by 1985 tweens.
Helmets were for losers.
Dad would let you “drive”.
Back in the day it was normal to have at least one friend in a plaster cast at all times. This was considered a fun opportunity to cover the cast with graffiti, rather than a sign of negligent parenting.
The cargo area of station wagons were treated as freeform play areas.
1980s kids got to play with fireworks.
Cooking unsupervised was a normal part of being a kid.
You had access to more dangerous toys.
Playdates were usually adult-free too.
Sunblock was a rarity.
Playgrounds were more “adventurous”
Kids rode in the flatbeds of pickups.