Mums share their children’s 21 biggest phobias

Can you relate to these? Is there anything you'd add?


Thunder, strangers, dogs? We asked our Facebook mums to share some of those things that really scare their little ones – phobias that really get to them. Here’s what they told us – do they sound familiar?


1. Hand dryers

Back in August last year we shared the story of a little girl with autism whose mum fought to put up signs in her local Asda toilet letting people know that not all disabilities were visible.

One of the big issues for Evalynn, aged 5, was her fear of hand dryers – and she’s far from alone. So many of our mums have told us time and again they’re one of the biggest scare points for their little ones.

“Hand dryers. I hate to think what people think when she’s shrieking and wailing if I so much as mention she should use the toilet when we’re out,” says Rebecca J.

Jen F told us this – with a bit of advice, too: “My little 2.5 year old has just suddenly got over her crippling fear of hand dryers. We used to dread going into toilets.

“Suddenly it’s not a chore. What helped? Going in with me and a friend of mine who wasn’t aware of the fear and just used it with no fuss. As soon as she saw “aunty Em” using it, she started using it herself.”

2. Inflatables

This is another one that got a fair few mentions from our mums – balloons in particular, inflatables in general…

“[My son has] been afraid of them since 6 months old and will have a meltdown if he can see one,” says Leah W.

“He’s now 4 and at Christmas ran out of a shop, away from me, to get away from an inflatable Santa. Birthday parties aren’t fun either because he’s scared of bouncy castles too.”

“Anything being inflated,” agrees Laura L. “Once a balloon is full that’s OK. But blowing something up elicits total panic.”

“Balloons – it makes parties very stressful and we have to check first if there will be balloons,” says Reagan B.

“My daughter has sensory problems from a brain injury and is scared of loud noises, so isn’t scared of the balloons themselves, but is frightened at the thought of them popping.”


3. Hair cuts

Another one that got a fair few mentions from our mums was hair cuts. If you’re having trouble – we do have a list of some really good child-friendly salons around the UK to try out.

“I started cutting my boy’s hair myself as I got fed up with taking him to hairdressers and coming back with his mop still attached,” says Nanu C.

Alix E said something similar as her little boy’s afraid of the hairdressers too. “We’ve had to do the same! He asked last week for the first time ever for us to cut his hair.

“I’m hoping a few more home cuts and he’ll be OK to try a barber or hairdresser again!”

4. Dogs

Although lots of our mums are pretty vocal about how they reckon dogs are great to have around, a fair few of you have mentioned that your little ones aren’t so keen.

“[My son] had a stage of fearing dogs – think it’s the dog:toddler size ratio that had him,” says Kelly K. 

And Kathy T did something about it. “Mine was scared of dogs. So went out and got a German Shepherd 4-year-old gorg dog (lmao) and she was so patient with him. He screamed blue murder at her for 3 days then they became the best of friends. I know some people will say I’m cruel but it cured his fear.”

5. Spiders

Again, perhaps not much of a surprise that this one’s made the list. Plenty of us grown-ups don’t like it when we see a big spider scuttling across the room (or in the bath) either, right?

“Both [of my kids are] absolutely terrified of spiders,” says Andrea J. “I’m happy to pick spiders up so they don’t get it from me. They literally scream when they see one.”

6. Hoovers

Perhaps unsurprisingly, with the noise they make – a bit like hand dryers – plenty of our mums said their little ones were afraid of the good old vacuum cleaner.

7. Fireworks

Another noisy one – which we totally get and a fair few mums said their little ones were scared of them.


8. Hoods / hats

Not one that’s been mentioned too many times but we thought it was interesting. Adelle G told us, “My little girl has just turned 2 and is terrified if her dad puts his hood up or puts a hat on. Haven’t found a solution yet as it’s only him – if anyone else does these things she laughs ?. “

9. Strangers

Again, while this isn’t one that came up lots – a fear of people you don’t know very well was mentioned by one of our mums. Kelly K says, “[My son] takes a while… to warm up to anyone who isn’t immediate family, even regular visitors.

“We just let him interact in his own time. I think a valuable lesson of choice can be taught with interactions.

“He needs to realise that he is free to interact if he is happy to in his own time.”

10. Fluff

 “Fluff. She’s scared of fluff. WTH?! ? ” says Emma G. Again, not one that came up lots but mentioned by one mum and we really wanted to feature it here.

Other stuff…

While these are some of the ‘big hitters’ when it comes to what our little ones are scared of, other scare-bringers included:

  • puppets
  • cream pies
  • lawnmowers
  • scissors
  • hand blenders
  • pre-school
  • mini cheeses
  • helicopters
  • ghosts
  • Mr Tumble, yes, Mr Tumble

What’s your experience?

Does your little one have a phobia mentioned here? Or perhaps there’s something else they’re afraid of that hasn’t made the list.

Let us know over on Facebook or in the comments below.

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