We have reviewed our experience of tracheostomy in children over the past 20 years at Sheffield Children's Hospital. One hundred and forty-eight tracheostomies were performed in 143 children aged one day to 13 years old (average 27 months). Sixty-five per cent of patients were < one year old. The indications for tracheostomy were upper airways' obstruction in 72 per cent, and assisted ventilation/ bronchopulmonary toilet in 28 per cent. The commonest single reason was acquired subglottic stenosis (SGS) in infants, accounting for 25 per cent of tracheostomies (36/143). The complication rate of tracheostomy was 46 per cent, most commonly granulation tissue formation. There were four deaths directly due to the tracheostomy: two accidental decannulations and two obstructions. Eighty-nine children were decannulated under our care. The average time until decannulation was 25 months.