Beards, boiled eggs and bagels - children's 40 biggest fears

Spiders, such as this one, are what scare children the most these days.Spiders, such as this one, are what scare children the most these days.
Spiders, such as this one, are what scare children the most these days.
Spiders, dogs and the dark are among children's biggest fears - while beards, boiled eggs and bagels are among the most peculiar, according to new research.

Other common phobias in the top 40 include monsters under the bed, clowns, going to the loo and the tooth fairy.

Some of the more extreme fears admitted kids include buttons, gravy and the sound of cutlery rubbing together - one child was scared their hair would blow off if it was windy.

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Happily, our youngsters don’t appear to have encountered The Slender Man, a creepy internet meme which led to an attempted murder trial in Wisconsin when two girls allegedly believed they were under the control of a faceless entity.

And despite last year’s spate of killer clowns on the UK’s darkened streets, the creepy circus performers-gone-bad only figure at number 12 on the list.

The research of 1,582 parents with children age 16 and under was commissioned to celebrate the DVD release of ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’, which is released on Monday 6 February.

Michael Rosen, author of ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ and former British Children’s Laureate, said: “The film will show children that it’s a good thing to face up to our fears and worries.”

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On average, respondents said their kids have three phobias - typically developing them at around three years and 10 months.

One respondent said their child is afraid of mushrooms, another’s didn’t like red cars and while on kid bursts into tears whenever they see anyone wearing hats - except for their mum.

While one parent said their child is scared of hand dryers, another’s offspring is afraid of the colour green and another has a phobia of socks.


2. The Dark

3. Monsters under the bed/in the cupboard

4. Thunder and lightning

5. Wasps

6. Being alone

7. Loud noises

8. People wearing masks

9. Dogs

10. Strangers

11. Dentists

12. Clowns

13. Ghosts

14. Needles

15. Snakes

16. Moths

17. Death

18. Costume Characters (eg Football mascots, characters at theme parks)

19. Heights

20. Zombies

21. Doctors

22. Toilets & Bathrooms

23. Blood

24. Sharks

25. Loneliness

26. Bears

27. Cats

28. Loss

29. Ants

30. Santa Claus

31. Flying

32. Worms

33. Dolls

34. Water

35. Birds

36. Cars and other vehicles

37. Butterflies

38. Fish

39. Forests

40. Tooth Fairy