Parents did NOT watch their kids all the time.
"Smoking sections" meant that secondhand smoke was rampant.
Cooking unsupervised was a normal part of being a kid.
The cargo areas of station wagons were treated as freeform play areas.
Your mom may well have smoked when she was pregnant with you.
"Latchkey kids" were everywhere. This would often entail trying not to fight with your siblings or set the house on fire.
Young kids were responsible for watching even younger kids. This led to kids taking their two-year-old kid brother for a helmet-less, seatless bike ride around the neighborhood.
Playdates were usually adult-free too.
Kids had more opportunity to do illicit things like smoking cigarettes, considered the pinnacle of cool adults activities by 1985 tweens.
You had access to more dangerous toys.
1980s kids got to play with fireworks.
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.
Playgrounds were more "adventurous."
Kids rode in the flatbeds of pickups.