5 Horrors Parents Most Worry About Vs 5 Most Likely To Occur

According to a new survey, the top 5 calamities parents fret over happening to their kids are, in order from most fretting to least: kidnapping, school snipers, terrorists, dangerous strangers, and drugs. What they really should be concerned over are the top 5 way children actually get hurt and/or killed: car accidents, homicide by someone the kid knows, abuse, suicide, and drowning.

Why such a large gap? “Parents fixate on rare events because they internalize horrific stories they hear on the news or from a friend without stopping to think about the odds the same thing could happen to their children,” reports NPR.

5 Worries Parents Should Drop, And 5 They Shouldn’t [NPR]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Alvis says:

    “School snipers” is oddly specific. Why not just school shootings?

    • Platypi {Redacted} says:

      Agreed, I took that to mean School shootings, including snipers but more importantly, disturbed student rampages.

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      I think snipers because since students aren’t armed, that makes the gunman a sniper because they have an advantage.

    • Miss Dev (The Beer Sherpa) says:

      I think worrying about school shootings is silly in that worrying about your child being a victim is a waste of energy. That energy is better put towards spending time with your kid, knowing their friends (and their friends’ parents), and making sure that you act if you see your child or another child becoming unusually detached, angry, or violent.

      School shootings are statistically rare, and the only way to truly protect children from them is with awareness of mental illness and good, old fashioned parenting.

      • 333 (only half evil) says:

        There have been shootings on and near my son’s school grounds, a teacher was robbed at gun point walking from the parking lot to the school, and there have been stabbings during school. There are gang fights quite often in the school. When I pick him up and there are four or five police cars there, I ask what today’s incident was. Shootings may be rare in some places, but not others. I worry every day.

        • Rectilinear Propagation says:

          Indeed. So many people seem to think that gun violence only happens in schools if it’s something like Columbine as if other gun violence in schools disappeared after that happened or never existed at all.

          I remember all the debate over having metal detectors at school. That was before Columbine but no one seems to remember that.

    • syzygy says:

      I’d be way less scared of some fool who got his hands on a pistol and has no experience firing it than someone trained with a highly accurate purpose-built weapon for long range assassination.

      • Spaceman Bill Leah says:

        Unless that fool happened to be another child because for some reason, they are almost always accurate.

        • OutPastPluto says:

          Scouting used to teach kids how to shoot with real rifles. Many parents still teach their youngsters how to shoot and hunt (also with real guns). So the fact that a kid is holding the gun is no gaurantee that he or she won’t know what they’re doing.

          My spouse was a juvenille sharpshooting champion.

    • Im Just Saying says:

      Clearly a sniper would be specifically targetting their little Ashley… Crazed gunman target other kids.

    • DrunkenMessiah says:


      I mean, OBVIOUSLY there can’t be any guns on the school premises because it is a gun free zone. The childrens are safe from a shooting that originated from on school property. It would HAVE to be a sniper standing outside of the gun-free zone, otherwise he wouldn’t have a gun because of the magical force field that is the GUN FREE ZOOOOOOOOOOOONE!!!!

    • SonarTech52 says:

      Snipers because everyone is quick-scope/ No-scoping these days… or was that just on Call of Duty?

  2. wrongfrequently says:

    I don’t worry about ANY of those top five (the kidnapping etc) . I do worry about the other five, in that I take measures to insure my daughter’s safety in and around cars, her anxiety and I’m all about water safety.

    • Floobtronics says:

      Right on. These days, people live in utter fear that behind every garbage can lurks some wacko dying to snatch up their little darlings. It’s utterly stupid.

      For instance, my son just started Kindergarten. We live 3 blocks away from the school, so he’s a walker. Our current plan – we’ll walk him to & from school this year and next year. After that, he’ll be in the 2nd grade, with his sister starting Kindergarten. At that point, he’ll walk to school by himself, we’ll walk our daughter to school (walkers have afternoon K in our town), and they’ll walk home together.

      Are we terrified of child snatchers, sexual predators, or a some other sicko? Nope. Ask yourself – at what age did you start walking to & from school by yourself? I was in first grade. In the 2nd grade, I used to get home from school about 30 minutes before my mom got home from work. Miraculously, I was never kidnapped, molested, eaten by a grue, or wandered into a nuclear reactor.

      • lim says:

        Our elementary school had “patrol”. The sixth-graders who walked home could and did volunteer to be organized by the school in groups of two. Those groups walked the younger students along certain routes. Most of the time the kids only had to walk past a few houses by themselves. There were always volunteers to lead because you got to leave five whole minutes before anyone else! Not all the younger kids took patrol, many walked by themselves or with friends.

        Patrol still exists and the town is pretty durned safe (I think in the last decade I’ve heard of one beating and one shooting, both were quarrels between adults with no innocent bystanders getting hurt) yet the number of people who drive their kids both ways is jaw dropping. Especially when you notice that the same kids that are chauffeured walk the dog alone, go play basketball at night (walking both ways), etc.

        Maybe I’m just bitter because I had to walk every day. It was only uphill one way, but it was uphill going home when I was tired. Now get your kids and dogs off my lawn.

  3. SkokieGuy says:

    And not even in the list?

    Their face freezing like that.
    Swimming less than one hour after eating
    Running with scissors
    Causing this car to turn around

    Seriously, I can’t believe that abuse / molestation is not on the parent’s list as that is always in the news and based on statistics, is extremely likely to happen. [Popular statistics indicate as many as one in 5 girls will have an incident before the age of 18]

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      Seriously, I can’t believe that abuse / molestation is not on the parent’s list

      I think that’s covered by the fear of kidnapping. Parents are worried about strangers attacking their children; they’re not worried about people they know attacking their children even though you’re more likely to be sexually assaulted by someone you know..

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        I think maybe “dangerous strangers” adds to that as well. Teachers and other authority figures aren’t exactly strangers, but sometimes parents don’t know them as well as they think they do. Plus, there’s the other staff you don’t encounter as a parent.

    • captadam says:

      That is, abuse or molestation by family members or somebody otherwise close to the family.

      A lot of parents seem to worry that kids are going to be tackled and raped in the street by a complete stranger. And they take it out on strangers. Any weird looking guy walking around MUST be a kiddie-raper.

      • aloria says:

        Yup, and it’s always the GUYS. A woman coming up and fawining over how cute she finds your kid is no big deal, but when a dude does it, CALL CHRIS HANSEN.

      • synergy says:

        So true! Actually I posted this study a few days ago and sure enough the last 2 remaining mommies on my Facebook friends came out as expected essentially being this stereotype. They just don’t worry about the things that actually might happen.

      • kennedar says:

        My mother-in-law is like this. Heaven forbid we allow a stranger to look after our child, don’t we know that all strangers will abuse our children???? Meanwhile I was abused by a cousin!! I tried to tell her that stastically our children are safer with a stranger than with a family member, but then she went bat-sh*t crazy. Because family would NEVER hurt a child!

        • Zach B. says:

          That’s probably misleading. Statistically, we leave children in the care of family far more often than in the care of strangers. You cannot infer that given equal time/opportunity, strangers are safer than families.

    • Julia789 says:

      I love “causing this car to turn around.”

      My mom’s threat was the pull-over public spank with pants down. “Don’t make me pull over!” would send screams of terror through the car as my siblings and I feared having our bottoms bared on the side of the road and getting spanked until red, as cars drove by and mothers behind the wheel gave knowing glances. It was the humiliation rather than the pain that got us.

      Of course today she’d be arrested for abuse, but this was 30 years ago.

    • RadarOReally has got the Post-Vacation Blues says:

      I can’t believe that those 5 things (car accidents, homicide by someone the kid knows, abuse, suicide, and drowning) top illness and playing injuries.

      • Rectilinear Propagation says:

        It could be that injuries while playing is less common because the fear of kidnapping keeps parents from letting their children play outside unsupervised.

        As for illness, I’m thinking the ones most dangerous for kids aren’t ones that are completely preventable. They probably didn’t want to tell parents they should be more worried about their child developing cancer and the like because there’s only so much you can do about that.

    • Powerlurker says:

      When I was younger, I had to pay a visit to the pediatric ER for a broken wrist, and while we were there, a little girl was brought in who had been running with scissors and snipped the side of her nostril open.

      • mythago says:

        When my oldest was a toddler, I stopped her from running with scissors. She immediately turned them the “safe” way around, took a step, tripped and fell chest-down on the scissors. Since they were point-down she got a nasty bruise instead of perforating her ribcage.

    • ilovemom says:

      you forgot shooting your eye out

  4. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    Suicide is one of those things that no one worries about until after someone has made an attempt.

    • aloria says:

      Yeah, people still have a really poor understanding of mental health issues. Most people I talk to tend to think treating depression is as simple as taking some antidepressants and going to see a shrink a few times a month.

      • syzygy says:

        What’s really frustrating is meeting someone who thinks that depression is imaginary, and that sufferers just need to “cheer up”. Gets my headthumpin’ urge right up.

        • aloria says:

          I’ve tried explaining to people that there’s a reason it’s called depression and not “bummed out about specific stuff”ion, but most don’t seem to get it. They think of it like the time they broke up with their girlfriend or had a pet die– something that’s initially painful but fades with time– so it doesn’t make sense to them when it persists.

        • RayanneGraff says:

          You just described my mom. Ever since I was 5 I’ve been told by my mom to “snap out of it”. I’m 30 now, and guess what? I still haven’t snapped out of it!

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      I completely agree. Unless you’ve had a friend or family member with depression, it’s incredibly hard to understand just how devastating it is. Pretty much all mental health issues are like that — people can relate to a broken leg but not a chemical imbalance in the brain.

      I grew up with a bipolar mother who compensated through self medication, alcohol, and drugs. She attempted suicide (like clockwork) every two years and then inevitably spent a few months in a mental hospital. When home, she had good weeks where she was energetic, excited, etc. and bad weeks where she didn’t get out of bed. Prescribed medication always helped but she’d always eventually stop taking it because of the side effects.

      Thank God that I had older siblings who could run the household and I was able to get a job at a very young age.

  5. lymer says:

    Anyone ever read freakanomics? There was a chapter about how a lot of parents are afraid to let their children play at houses whose parents own a firearm but then have no problem letting their children play at a house with a pool. Of course pools kill way more children each year than firearms.

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      My only worry about a house with a firearm is that my future child will be the only one who attended an NRA safety course. I mean, we want our kids to know CPR, but not what to do if they come across a gun? As a child, my Dad kept both his service gun and his off duty weapon in the house. But I knew what they were, and I knew that they weren’t toys. He didn’t even keep them locked, but he never had to worry with me. Even if your kids will never shoot, knowing what a real gun is, and what to do when you see one is a skill that can save lives other than your child.

      • RandomHookup says:

        Do you really need an NRA safety course to learn that a gun can be dangerous? I would think that would be primarily useful if you are actually going to handle a gun. If the kids are going to be hunting or around guns, absolutely. If you don’t have guns and don’t expect you kids to deal with them much at all — constant reminders and a “Tommy Gets his First Mauser” pop-up book would be sufficient to scare them the death about even touching firearms.

        • Big Mama Pain says:

          Kids are curious, though, and rarely does curiosity NOT get the best of them when it comes to things they aren’t supposed to touch/do. A lot of parents just bury their head in the sand when it comes to educating their children about guns, trying to keep them from ever seeing one (and also going to the lengths of not allowing them to buy toy guns). I think SteveDave is right-they should know gun safety in the event that their curiosity gets the better of them (or one of their friends).

          • RandomHookup says:

            I took a look at the NRA courses and something like the Eddie Eagle courses for younger kids is fine…pretty basic, but useful. Most parents should be able to teach this kind of stuff without too much effort. I don’t think the courses that involve actually handling and firing a gun are that necessary for kids who aren’t going to be around guns much.

            • colorisnteverything says:

              Haha. “Stop! Don’t touch! Leave the area, tell an adult! My name is Eddie Eagle and I like ya too much!”

              I did that, too. But by age 10, I had been the shooting range multiple times, knew how to properly hold and clean and gun, and could disarm one. We had guns in the house. Most were locked, but Dad carried, so sometimes his 45 was not. No one got hurt. Ever.

            • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

              I think a course taught by someone other than mom and dad could be better, because the kids MIGHT realize mom and dad sometimes lie. I know when I took the safety course at summer camp, they had actual guns that they used for demonstrations, which I think would be better for kids. You can show them a picture of a gun, but handling one will: #1 get them over the urge to touch one and #2 let them know what a real gun feels and looks like when you come across them in the real world.

              True, they may never shoot one, but I think knowing that if there is a group of 5 kids, and they are playing at someones house, and someone finds a gun, that one of them knows that it is NOT a toy and how to safely handle the gun, could save at least one life, and that is worth it.

    • Doncosmic says:

      My parents made sure that I could swim well by the time I was 4, I took lessons at the YMCA when I was 2

      • raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

        Thing is, sometimes the kids who drown ARE good swimmers, but they wear themselves out, they bump their head, something surprises them underwater and they gasp and get a lungful. It is so easy for a child to drown, whether or not they know how to swim, especially in a busy pool.

        I was able to swim like an otter from an early age–I still do, never did master the crawl–and I had a few incidents that made me respectful of the water, not only as a swimmer, but later as a supervisor of my younger sibs and neighbors’ kids.

        The ones who did not know how to swim were less likely to find themselves in over their heads.

    • syzygy says:

      I would also recommend “Innumeracy” by John Allen Paulos. It discusses how most of us are really bad at mentally processing math-related issues, like statistics, and illustrates the consequences of not educating yourself on the matter.

    • trentblase says:

      But at least with the pool, you can have an open casket.

    • pot_roast says:

      So many more, too. Accidental firearm deaths are not even on the top ten killers of children lists. Annoyingly, 17 year old criminal gang bangers getting shot by other 17 year old criminal gang bangers with stolen firearms are usually lumped in with the statistics.

  6. Liam Kinkaid says:

    My greatest worry is that my child will develop a deep seated fear of Count Chocula. In order to combat this, I will be dressing up as Count Chocula and waking her up at night in order to show her that there is nothing to fear from Count Chocula. These late night lessons will continue until she is no longer afraid of Count Chocula.

  7. Big Cheese Make Hair Go Boom says:

    School Snipers? REALLY? Is #6 Satanic Rituals and child sacrifices? Stupid scared America!

    • mindshadow says:

      Satanic rituals are banned from my child’s school (in the handbook). I keep wanting to challenge it on religious freedom grounds (for my own entertainment of course) but at the same time I know my daughter would get a ton of grief from it so I abstain.

  8. Tim says:

    I think it’s a matter of what parents feel they have control over and what they don’t. So the scariest things are the things parents don’t think they can prevent.

    But in reality, the worst things to happen to children are largely preventable through parents’ actions. Maybe if parents actually worried about these things, they could do things to prevent them.

    • RandomHookup says:

      Think about the 6 teenagers from two families who drowned in Louisiana recently. Swimming lessons could have prevented much of the tragedy.

      • Powerlurker says:

        It always puzzles me when I meet someone my age who can’t swim. My parents forced me and my siblings to take swimming lessons until we’d reached a decent level of proficiency. I guess I’ve just always thought of it as one of those skills you needed to know to be a functioning human being like literacy or how to tie your shoes.

        • The Twilight Clone says:

          In my experience, it depends where you live and your activities as a child. I grew up in Wisconsin, where there are lakes everywhere. We did summer vacations at the lake, we swam all the time. In the winter we’d go to hotels and swim some more.

          A friend of mine is from North Dakota, where there are basically no lakes, and they never went to hotels. Consequently, he can’t swim. My wife is in a similar boat (so to speak).

        • RandomHookup says:

          The big issue for most people is access to a swimming pool. Where I grew up, they tore down the municipal pool near my house and we couldn’t afford the Country Club just down the road. We eventually joined a club that was way out of town and took lessons there. But as a spaz myself, group lessons didn’t take very well. I ended up learning at about age 13 with private lessons and it would have been easy for my parents to just ignore this skill. As a very pasty white dude, it’s not like I had much desire to spend time outside at a pool or beach.

          For the poor folks in my little town, you either learned in the river or a lake or pond, or you didn’t learn. There were only a handful of private pools and no public pools anywhere nearby. It doesn’t help if your parents can’t swim and there are cultural reasons that discourage you from learning.

        • Rectilinear Propagation says:

          No, you don’t actually have to know how to swim to be a functioning adult. I don’t know anyone who has to swim to work or swim in order to reach food.

          It’s probably something people ought to know, especially if you live someplace where flooding is possible, but not knowing how doesn’t create problems the way not knowing how to read does.

    • katarzyna says:

      I was just thinking the same thing. I’m concerned about drowning, so I make sure my kid knows how to swim, teach her about water safety, etc. Car accidents are a concern, so I make sure I own a safe car and the child is always properly buckled up in it. The “5 they should drop” are mostly out of the parent’s concern. If questioned further, the parent might answer something like, “Yes, [drowning] is a big concern, but I’ve taken measures to prevent it from happening, so now it’s a lesser concern.”

  9. NarcolepticGirl says:

    My sister is most terrified of car accident death.
    She lives in Florida, so, I guess anyone with kids would fear the same thing.

    • syzygy says:

      I don’t think it matters where you live. Bad drivers abound wherever you are. Most people think they’re surrounded by the worst drivers in the country, and they’re all right.

  10. Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

    I think two of the five can be very specific to certain areas — Dangerous strangers & Drugs.

    I lived next to a crack house for over a year until it burned down. I’m a very big person (6′ 2″, lift weights, and served in the infantry) but I’ll freely admit that the people who lived there and their clients scared the sh*t out of me. I truly worried about my wife and child when I was at work, especially after a confrontation with the residents or their buyers.

    There are a lot of parents out there who live in bad neighborhoods and have to deal with these types of issues on a regular basis.

  11. cmdr.sass says:

    I have a bunch of little kids, and you know what? I worry about everything.

  12. daveinva says:

    I work with a helicopter mom with two young daughters who frets over the latest fears from Dateline exposes.

    Every time she goes into freak-out mode over whatever the trendy fear-of-the-moment is: online pedophiles, shark attacks, bedbugs– I stop and remind her that she owns a swimming pool in her backyard.

  13. CookiePuss says:

    I always worry my non-existent kid will be kidnapped while their snorting coke in the pool by some dangerous gun toting terrorist whos on the sex offender list and doesn’t know how to drive. Keeps me awake at night.

    School snipers really made me laugh though. I don’t think that would have made the list in Family Feud.

  14. ARP says:

    It’s a combination of the media and parents. The constant expose’s on the “Silent Killers,” “A common household item that can be deadly,” etc. creates fear in people of things that are often remote compared to the real dangers kids face.

    It also has to do with control v. non-control, with parents ignoring responsbility for things they can control (e.g. swim lessons, gun safety, reporting abuse, etc.). I also think its a defense mechanism used by partents to prevent themselves from thinking that they’re not good parents (or are lacking in certain areas). This is the same defense mechanism that parents use to say their kids are ADHD, autistic, etc. when they really aren’t because then its a medical problem and not their fault.

  15. Karee says:

    Having teenagers my biggest fear by far is car accidents, and my child has already had one. Second would probably be an attack of some kind.

  16. Mike says:

    Terrorists? Really? Parents are scared that their kids will be harmed in a terrorist attack? Ridiculous. Come on people, the terrorists only win when we are scared. Thanks to people freaking out over something that is am extremely rare occurrence I have to get a rectal exam every time I want to fly. I cringe to think what may happen the next time there is a terror attack on US soil. Hey parents guess what? There are still cases of the plague in the US, shouldn’t you freak out about that too?

    I blame politicians and media for this ridiculous hyperbole about terrorist attacks. It rarely happens and is not worth freaking out over.

    • RandomHookup says:

      “But anyone can learn to make an IED from the Internet!!!”

      • Mike says:

        LOL, yeah these parents should never Google the term “how to kill your parents.” They would have a heart attack over how many guides their kids can find online to take them out.

        • Conformist138 says:

          You know, I want to google that just to see what comes up, but at the same time, my luck would have it that a week later one or both of my parents would die under suspicious circumstances.

    • Bog says:

      And plague is actually very easy to treat. A weeks worth of a common antibiotic will usually cure it. Unfortunately vast numbers of people don’t have access to antibiotics. Not a problem in first world countries.

  17. Wireless Joe says:

    My wife freaks out about lead paint. Our kids get run to the doctor for a lead test every time they scratch a painted toy.

  18. Starrion says:


    Mine are:
    He’s a total daredevil and he is going to drop something on his head or fall.
    Running into the street/car accident.

  19. RayanneGraff says:

    If & when I decide to replicate, my biggest 5 worries are;

    Peer pressure
    Poor academic performance

    Most of these worries stem from me not wanting my kids to make the same mistakes I did. I’m almost thankful I was such a messed up kid, cause now I know what warning signs to look for in my own kids someday.

    I’ve had depression since I was about 5 & it runs in our family, so any kids I have are going to be watched like hawks for signs of it & will get all the help they need. My kids will NOT go through the same bullshit I’ve gone through my whole life with it. I’ve been crying out to my mom since grade school that I am REALLY F*CKING SAD but she always just got mad at me & accused me of making it all up to get attention. As a result, I’m now not only still depressed, but I’ve got a slew of other mental disorders too, like OCD, bipolar-ness, schizoaffective disorder. Oh, and I’m a sociopath too! I can’t help but think that I could’ve turned out somewhat normal if my mom hadn’t been more concerned with my mental well-being rather than what people would think of her for having a ‘crazy’ kid.

    I hated school with a passion & made really shitty grades because of it. My 6 y/o sister just told me last night that she hates school too, so this is another one of my big worries. I don’t want her or any kids of my own to blow off school like I did, cause now I’m stuck doing crappy jobs cause I never went to college.

    Kidnapping- I honestly just can’t help but worry about that. I have visions of some crusty pervert snatching my kids while I turn my back for a split second. I foresee myself being a ‘leash’ parent.

    Promiscuity- I wasn’t promiscuous in high school, but I knew people that were. I went to parties where I saw girls(often the cheerleaders) literally being passed around by various guys. We had a blood drive in my senior year, and almost 50 kids came up positive for HIV. And this was just a small-town school in a sleepy little town!

    Peer pressure- DRUGS. That’s all I have to say. I have seen addictions firsthand & what drug use does to people, and my kids getting on drugs is one of my biggest horrors. I don’t even wanna think about it.

    • Slave For Turtles says:

      I have a kid, and I have a similar list. In no particular order:

      * Being bullied
      * Being a bully
      * Asshole teachers
      * Pregnancy
      * Depression

      Phendraana, if you ever become a parent, I think you’ll do OK. :-)

  20. NumberSix says:

    Car crash is my top concern. My boy spends a lot of time driving around with his grand parents.

  21. sopmodm14 says:

    i guess its the dramatization that gets the best of the general public’s psychology

  22. RayanneGraff says:

    I guess I actually have 6 fears- I forgot about this one but one my absolute worst fears for my kids is OBESITY. I see so many fat kids waddling around nowadays & I just wanna slap the living shit out their parents. There is NO excuse for a child to be fat, except for an honest-to-god health problem. And “he cries if I don’t give it to him” is not a health problem!!!

    I know *I* will feed my kids healthy food, I just worry about the stuff they’ll choose to eat on their own & what they’re served at school. Lets face it- most school lunches are basically flavored slop. I’ll probably end up packing my kids’ lunches because of this.

  23. nbs2 says:

    Drowning I don’t worry about so much – the only time we’re near a pool is when I’m there with them. The older one (3) doesn’t always want someone in the bathroom when she’s taking a bath, but that’s what mirrors and constant conversation are for.

    I don’t think they get suicide yet. In fact, I’m not sure they get death.

    Homicide by someone they know? I fear that as much as homicide by someone they don’t know. I’m a little more protective of her than I am of him, but I still don’t trust anybody.

    Abuse I worry about, but I have no more expectation of it occurring now than when I was a kid – the topic is just talked about more now (in my view – I could be wrong).

    Car accident? I fear this more than anything else. I fear it for my kids and for the missus. There is a reason that the kids’ car seats were $300@.

  24. Rachacha says:

    In looking at the list as a parent, I think parents can oten rationalize that the 5 ways kids DO get hurt are things that we as parents can control:
    car accidents- I’m a good driver and would never drive wrecklessly
    homicide by someone the kid knows- I live in a good neighborhood and none of my friends or neighbors are killers
    abuse – I don’t hit my kid
    suicide- I would know if my kid were contemplating suicide
    drowning – My kid knows how to swim and I have a gate and alarm around my pool

    while the things that parents are MOST worried about are things that we have little to no control over unless we never let the kid out of our site even at school and make sure to form a human shield between the child and any potential gun man. Watching Law and Order type of shows also can freak parents out too.

  25. Promethean Sky says:

    This has bothered me ever since I read Freakanomics.

  26. LogicalOne says:

    At Halloween, the biggest fear: razorblades in the candy. Of course, there’s never been a single documented case of this ever occurring.

  27. Doubts42 says:

    This is the difference between worrying about something and doing something about it.
    I can take measures to protect my child from drowning or abuse, I can buckle him in in the car and drive defensively. I can have open honest conversations with my kids about life, and all it’s ups and downs. having done all i can i can refuse to worry about the 5 most common things.
    There is nothing i can do to protect my child from a lunatic at his school going nuts with a gun, or some zealot blowing himself up. So yes I do worry a bit about these things. Letting it cripple me with fear or allowing it to make my life miserable would be just as silly though, and for the same reasons.

  28. Pinget says:

    If you’re worried about your kid being abducted there’s something really simple you can do. Go to DMV and get your kid a non-driver ID. Then should the worst happen, your kid’s face is a few keystrokes away for every cop in the country.

  29. MarkSweat says:

    Add this irony to the mix. When I take my kids to our local pool, I keep an extra eye out on the kids who are swimming around us because of inattentive parents and overworked lifeguards.This summer, I actually saved a kid from drowning. His parents didn’t show up until a lifeguard went to get them from their sunbathing lounge chairs.

    Yet, I have seen parents at the same pool go psycho about perceived “child predators” if an adult even makes eye contact with their kid at the pool. They will watch out for phantom predators, but completely ignore the very real danger of the water.

  30. wonderkitty now has two dogs says:

    Just as parents freak out more about a friend’s parents having a gun in the house, more kids die by drowning in a privately owned swimming pool by the scores than by a gun.

  31. Levk says:

    # School snipers
    # Terrorists

    REALLY??? That stuff is like the lottery except more winners. This is really out there >

    That is just my opinion tho >

  32. qualia says:

    I guess kidnapping might sorta be in this category, but no “Creepy neighbor/ uncle molestation” on the list? Molestation’s kinda common.

  33. DEVO says:

    Is it what are the worst things that could happen, or what they think will happen. The survey looks more like the WORST thing that could happen regardless of plausibility. I mean my kid getting taken out by sniper fire would definitely be one of the worst things that could happen. But I live in the foothills and eaten by a mountain lion tops my list.