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Fear Of Flushing

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Automatic flush toilets are the latest childhood fear.


Forget about unexplained things that go bump in the night. We think today’s toddlers have a far more tangible fear. The New York Times says the automatic flush toilets found in public restrooms are wreaking havoc on tender toddler psyches. The toilets are  designed only to flush when there’s sudden movement, but unfortunately for toddlers, that’s pretty much what the whole toilet-going process entails. Some kids are so scared by the toilets, they refuse to use them at all.

A Mom•Logic Mom of a 3-year-old girl says, "My daughter is totally freaked out by automatic toilets—as soon as she sees one, she puts her hands over her ears and screams: 'Don't let it flush!'"

How to combat the fear? Patience and repetition. Which is ironic, since that’s how you got them to learn to go “pee-pee on the potty” in the first place. Another solution: Purchase a $2.99 Flush-Stopper, a product designed to deactivate the sensors that trigger a flush. Or, save yourself the three bucks and simply cover the sensor with your hand (or a post-it, if you're germaphobes like us).

Like all irrational childhood fears, this is one that will disappear over time. But it joins a long list of things that freak our kids out. Here's our Childhood Fear Hall of Fame. Any we forgot? Comment and let us know.

Click on an image to view the Childhood Fear Hall of Fame gallery!

next: Can You Afford the War In Iraq?
43 comments so far | Post a comment now
 November 14, 2007, 7:25 PM

What about Clowns?… “The Greatest Childhood Fear of All”? Or escalators… or big signs… or linoleum… or green jelly beans… or the space behind the TV… or the monkeys on the Wizard of Oz… or tunnels… or lakes… or hair in the drain… or … Joan Lunden… Hmmm. Maybe I’d better see my therapist.

Suzanne November 14, 2007, 8:03 PM

Wow - I thought it was just a quirk with MY daughter. She’s 8, and she STILL won’t use an automatic flush toilet! She says they make more noise, too, and while I don’t think they’re actually louder, their sound is a little more…menacing. :)

Hollie November 15, 2007, 1:14 PM

My two daughters have always hated public toilets. Not only for the “when-ever-it-feels-like-it” automatic flushing but also the noise. They try and go as fast as they can to make sure they are off the toilet before it flushes with them on it. If it isn’t automatic then they make me wait to flush it until they are next to the door and have their ears covered.

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