Objective: the present study examined the clinical status of common childhood fears. Method: fears of the 290 children aged 8 to 13 years were assessed and then their severity was explored by means of a structured diagnostic interview measuring anxiety disorders according to the criteria of the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (dsm). Results: childhood fears reflect significant anxiety disorders in a substantial minority (i.e. 22.8%) of the children. Conclusions: in most children, childhood fears are part of the normal development. However, in some children, these fears reflect serious anxiety problems which interfere with daily routine.