18 Crazy Stories From The Days When Kids Could Run Around Unsupervised

Voting Rules
Vote up the childhood stories you can't believe these folks survived.

Childhood was different in days gone by. Technology was different. Neighborhoods were different. Parenting was different. As a result, a lot of kids were going around unsupervised and getting themselves into situations they're luckly they survived. These folks hopped on the Reddit forum r/AskReddit to answer the question: "What unsupervised childhood activities did you participate in, that probably should have killed you?" Posts have been lightly edited for language and clarity.

Photo: Reddit / Pixabay

  • 1
    284 VOTES

    Tree Riding

    From Redditor u/Babydontcomeback

    Tree riding. Climb a tree and have your friends cut it down. We would have contests to see who would climb the highest. I won more than once. I cannot fathom how I nor anyone else was not seriously hurt, never mind killed.

    284 votes
  • 2
    281 VOTES

    Before Paintball

    From Redditor u/time2downshift

    Before paintball, we only had BB guns to shoot at one another. Needless to say, there weren’t any fancy face masks or other protective gear.

    From Redditor u/bagpiper

    Forty years later, my parents were finally told the story of me using a pocket knife to remove the BB embedded in my kid brothers butt cheek.

    281 votes
  • 3
    295 VOTES

    Brake Fluid And Chlorine

    From Redditor u/Narcslayer714

    My greatest discovery at around 12 years old was finding out brake fluid and chlorine for the pool combust when mixed. Soon, my friends and I were doing all kinds of crazy [stuff] with the mixture. The best was driving a pipe into the ground a few feet long and putting the chlorine and brake fluid in there and watching the dragon fire shoot out the pipe. It's not an immediate reaction, kind of a slow burn 'til it bursts into a furious hellfire.

    295 votes
  • 4
    309 VOTES

    Roller Blades + Roof + Trampoline

    From Redditor u/Melrob17

    I used to rollerblade off the roof and onto the trampoline. It hurts to think about it now. I'm still shocked I never got hurt!

    309 votes
  • 5
    230 VOTES


    From Redditor u/tossingmyracoons

    I still don’t know how I’m here as my dad is the very personification of this thread. He’s probably done all this, but the one story that I remember most clearly is he and his brothers would take the lids off trash cans (those circular metal ones) use them as shields, then shoot fireworks at each other.

    It was part of an event called “cracker night” where the whole neighbourhood set off fireworks. They’re actually illegal now in this country. Frankly, I blame my dad and uncles.

    230 votes
  • 6
    288 VOTES

    Six Stories High

    From Redditor u/MikeErk67

    I grew up within the boundaries of Tufts University’s campus. At the end of my street was a campus building that was six stories high. I remember climbing to the top of the fire escape, stepping over the railing onto the slate pitched roof. I held onto the dormer and made my way on top of that roof, then I would walk up to the pitch of the roof and straddle the pitch and look out on the Boston skyline. I was under 10 years old. Well over a hundred feet up, one slip and I was sidewalk pizza. I can’t believe I survived being a latch key kid in the '80s.

    288 votes