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Children are more scared of hand-dryers than the dark, says Oxfordshire firm Airdri as it launches kid-friendly model

The Business Magazine article image for: Children are more scared of hand-dryers than the dark, says Oxfordshire firm Airdri as it launches kid-friendly model
3 December 2021

Witney-based hand-dryer manufacturer, Airdri, has published research suggesting that children are more scared of hand-dryers than the dark, as it launches its kid-friendly Kiddi Quad.

The manufacturer says the Kiddi Quad – aimed at primary schools, soft play centres and any venue aiming to make their washroom facilities more child-friendly – is one of its quietest models to date.

It says its new research suggests that 38 per cent of children are scared of hand-dryers - a higher percentage than are frightened of the dark, monsters, ghosts, nightmares, sharks, doctors and ‘bad guys’.

There's even a name for it – manussiccusphobia.

The Kiddi Quad aims to help get young children used to the sight and sounds of hand-dryers in washrooms. With an extremely low sound output, it addresses the reasons behind the high numbers of children suffering from manussiccusphobia.

It comes in three different designs or alternatively the front of the dryer can be printed with any design, making it look less clinical and more fun and engaging for children.

The manufacturer has developed a supporting team of cartoon superheroes - The Handwashing Heroes – to help remind children of the importance of hand hygiene as we head into the winter months.

It also says the installation of a Kiddi Quad could also save schools tens of thousands of pounds in the long run: Kiddi Quad costs £440 to buy then £83 per year to run, compared to £940 a year for a paper towel dispenser.

Steve Whittall, chief operating officer at Airdri, said: “Sound is a major factor in manussiccusphobia in children.

"Some models of hand-dryers can be incredibly noisy and often they’re placed in busy spaces just at the right height for a small child to walk underneath them and set them off accidentally.

“In bringing our most child-friendly hand-dryer model to market, we’ve significantly reduced the sound output of the dryer when compared with other dryers from our range, which we will result in lessening the ‘shock factor’ if a child does set one off accidentally.

“Hand hygiene is hugely important right now, especially in schools. We know that even when washed properly, bacteria and germs multiply more quickly on wet hands so we’ve created a campaign to go alongside the launch of the dryer, which aims to remind children of the importance of good hand hygiene – including drying their hands properly."

Manussiccusphobia joins a long list of uncommon phobias suffered by adults and children. Others include:

  • Anatidaephobia - fear of ducks and / or geese
  • Trypophobia - fear of small, closely-packed holes or bumps
  • Arachibutyrophobia - fear of peanut butter sticking on the roof of the mouth
  • Eudyptulaphobia - fear of being watched by penguins
  • Nomophobia - fear of being without the use of your mobile phone
  • Spectrophobia - a fear of mirrors and reflections
  • Linonophobia - fear of string
  • Phobophobiaphobia - fear of fear

Don't believe us? You probably have pistanthrophobia – the fear of trusting people.


Peter Davison is deputy editor of The Business Magazine. He has spent his life in journalism – doing work experience in newsrooms in and around Bristol while still at school, and landing his first job on a local newspaper aged 19. By 28 he was the youngest newspaper editor in the country.

An early advocate of online news, he spent the first years of the 2000s telling his bosses that the internet posed both the biggest opportunity and greatest threat to the newspaper industry and the art of journalism. He was right on both counts.

Since 2006 he has enjoyed a career as a freelance journalist. He lives in rural Wiltshire with one wife, two children, and three cats.

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