Our Ask CivicScience campaign allows you (yes, you!) to submit a question you’ve been hankering to know the answer to, and we ask it to consumers. We’ve enjoyed reading through all of the submissions so far, and love to share the responses with you. After receiving a submission about what parents’ fears for their toddlers are, we decided to write about the results as the topic is relatable to a large number of people and what we found is fascinating.

The submission was: “As a parent of toddlers, what do you fear the most?”

We ran a question to gather what current or former parents of toddlers considered their biggest fear. Here are the results:

Results for biggest parent fears for their toddlers

What surprised me right off the bat, as a non-parent, were the diverse results. There was no clear landslide in any one direction; responses were across the map. And, as it turns out, across the U.S. map, too.

Let’s dive into the results. I excluded the Does not apply and None of these answer choices below:


Of those who chose one of the four fears…

31% fear their toddler will have health issues

Comparing these respondents to the general population, they are more likely to regularly eat out or order take out from casual restaurants, and to follow food and recipe trends closely.

These food-conscious parents are also more likely to have environmental issues at the top of mind. If health is top of mind for them, it makes sense that it’s their main concern for their little ones, too.

28% fear that someone will hurt their child

People who live in a rural area, specifically in the U.S. South, are more likely to answer “I’m afraid someone will hurt or attack my child.” They also are more likely to eat most often at fast food restaurants.

The other answer choices are evenly split among genders, but these respondents are more likely to be women.

26% are worried that their child will be in an accident of some kind

People who write negative online reviews are more likely to answer I’m afraid my child will be injured in an accident.

Could thinking in a more negative light about everyday things (ie: reviews) also occur when it comes to thinking about their children?

14% are worried their child will be picked on or won’t fit in

These parents are more likely to exercise regularly, and volunteer at least once a month or more. They are more likely to live in the U.S. Midwest and to attend sporting events regularly.

Perhaps these parents want to keep the status quo and not stand out too much. Their experience in giving back by volunteering may give them a different kind of empathy for their child’s whole experience, which leads them to think about how they’ll fit in.

The results show that each worry accompanies distinct traits of different types of parents, such as their habits, choices, and in some cases, their physical location. Our fears and way of thinking may just translate into our current, former or future fears about our children.

Is there a question you or your business would like to know? Submit it to Ask CivicScience.