9 Most Horrifying Toddler Meltdown Spots

Amy Kuras

Toddlers are lovely little people ... except when they aren't. And one of their most remarkable talents is the ability to sense with unerring precision when would be the absolute worst time for a meltdown. Mine, usually a very calm and pleasant child, can throw an epic fit at the least appropriate moment. My only comfort is to know I'm not alone.

Here's my list of the Top 9 Worst-Timed Toddler Tantrums.


  1. At the pediatrician's office. Bloodcurdling screams and violent sobs are embarrassing, but they don't top what happened to a friend. Her son thoroughly coated himself in poop as the newest doctor at the practice was coming through the door.
  2. During a phone interview. Imagine: The job of your dreams sets up a screening phone call, which you schedule during your toddler's generally rock-solid nap time. And then he falls asleep on the couch 90 minutes ahead of schedule and wakes up screaming just as the phone rings.
  3. At a wedding. Just as the beautiful bride and groom start saying their vows, the fussing begins. Even if you can get your kid out before a full meltdown, the open windows of a small country church aren't enough to keep out the bloodcurdling screams of "NO!!!" Wedding videos should be outlawed.
  4. On planes. Toddlers are good for so many things. They'll throw fits while boarding, yell, kick, scream, knock coffee all over you -- or worse on the the guy sitting next you.
  5. Trains. The combination of strange noises, tight space, and the best part, an inability to flee the scene when a tantrum gets really loud make for a less-than-fun ride for both of you. 
  6. And automobiles. Kids love to drop things in the car -- sippie cups, binkies -- especially when you can simply pick it up and hand it back to them. If you've got more than one kid, being in the car is double the "pleasure," since they often conduct screaming matches.
  7. In any public place frequented by senior citizens. For every sweet, grandparent-ly type who tries to help or at least offers you sympathy, there are two crabby old geezers who are more than happy to let you know their children never did such things.
  8. The mall, especially at the holidays. You can guarantee that this meltdown will occur at the exact point farthest from the car. Salt in the wound: Slogging past the mall Santa, where all the good children are behaving perfectly.
  9. At a funeral. There's plenty of debate as to whether or not children belong at a funeral anyway, and add in the heightened emotions, family "togetherness," and solemn atmosphere and your toddler might not be the only person having a meltdown.

What's your toddler's ill-timed tantrum hot spot? 

Image via Amy Kuras

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