Back when I was a kid I loved riding in the back of pick up trucks. Now that is considered child abuse and is illegal here in California.
I prolly would never have drove with my child on the roof of my car but damnit we are over protecting our children and not preparing them for the bumps and bruises they will get from real life. But then I was known to have swatted my kids bottoms when they deserved it.
That is prolly considered child abuse today too.
Back in the 60's riding in the "trunk" of a Corvair around the neighborhood was a blast. You're right though today you'd be charged.
Is it really illegal to ride in the back of a pick up truck in Cali? I guess I'm not surprised.