I've mentioned that I'm a little amazed that my generation exists. The fact that we survived childhood is nothing short of miraculous. Playgrounds were built of stuff designed to choke you and break bones. The jungle gym was situated on packed earth if not concrete, clearly an admonition to fall on a hard surface from a height of 9' or more and suck it up you little pansy. The swings were an invitation to swing as high as you could and then see who could parachute-jump the furthest from the top of the arc...once again to the hardest surface available. The merry-go-round was a challenge to hang on as long as you could while your friends turned the thing as fast as possible. Of course, you could hang on while it was spinning at moderate speeds; you didn't lose your grip until centrifuge velocities were achieved...and you went flying. It was considered the ultimate in good form if you took out a couple of other little kids during flight. Another fun game was to slide off of your side of the see-saw when your friend on the opposite side was as high as you could get him...causing him to learn interesting things about the existence of the coccyx...once you stopped giggling about the word itself.
Helmets? Knee-pads? Elbow-pads? Gloves? Even if they had existed, you'd have never gotten us to wear that stuff. In hindsight, this stuff all seems more-or-less benign ignorance. My mom used to tell how she and her sisters used to take their little brother in his baby carriage to the top of a hill in Scranton, PA and let it roll to the bottom of the street all on its own...with him in it. Compared to that, we were leading utterly sheltered lives.
But that doesn't explain some of the toys they bought us. Each of us received our own set of Clackers. This toy had any number of problems. Used correctly, they tended to send acrylic chips flying and even if the chips didn't actually get your eye, damn they smarted. If you weren't terribly coordinated, (a word that just perfectly describes childhood), you'd usually end up smashing an arm or finger between the two little balls once you got them really going. And forget the fact that children are notorious for inventing alternate games for toys they've grown bored with...such as, hey, these look like bolos...let's throw them at each other!
We also got a set of Lawn Darts. These were awesome! When we first got them, we were (briefly) satisfied with trying to hit the little target that came with the darts...but that didn't last. We decided it would be more fun to use balloons as targets. A hit yielded a most satisfying "pop"...when the dart didn't just bounce off and fly in a completely unpredictable direction. We decided that bounce might be dangerous, so we solved the problem by going to a neighbor's fathers workshop. The electric grinder had those darts needle-sharp in no time flat. Yup. Much safer that way.