Fine needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) in children has been slow to gain acceptance as compared with its use in adults. The aim of this retrospective study is to determine the utility of FNAC in diagnosing paediatric lymphadenopathy. Six hundred and ninety-two paediatric lymph nodes were aspirated during the period from January 1996 to June 2001. Aspirated material in 32 cases (4.6%) was deemed inadequate for cytological diagnosis. In the remaining cases, 62.2% were reactive lymphadenopathy, 25.2% tuberculous lymphadenitis, 6.3% acute suppurative lymphadenitis, nine cases revealed malignancy (seven lymphoma, two metastatic deposits) and one case had Langerhan's cell histiocytosis. No significant complications were encountered in any of the cases. FNAC emerged as a safe and reliable diagnostic procedure in paediatric age group obviating the need for excision biopsy.