Based on results from researchers in England, the American Psychological Association (APA) is advocating a new warning label for clowns.
The announcement came today from the APA after the publication of research results from the University of Sheffield. Researchers were examining how to improve the decor of hospital children's wards, so they took a poll of young patients.
The study, reported in the Nursing Standard magazine, found all the 250 patients aged between four and 16 they quizzed disliked the use of clowns, with even the older ones finding them scary.
"We found that clowns are universally disliked by children," said a researcher. "Some found them quite frightening and unknowable."
The APA suggests that the new warning label (Caution: May contain clowns) be required on circus advertisements, prior to certain children's television shows, on any invitation to a birthday party that will feature a clown, and at the entrance to all McDonald's restaurants.
Chairman of the APA board Kurt Phlegmn said, "We are concerned with the emotional health of our children. We now know that clowns are frightening, and if contact with one could result in trauma to a toddler, we feel it's time to step up."
Phlegmn said the organization is also looking into warning labels for department store Santa Claus's, giant Easter Bunnies, and parades.