Otitis media (OM) continues to be one of the most common childhood infections and is a major cause of morbidity in children. The pathogenesis of OM is multifactorial, involving the adaptive and native immune system, Eustachian-tube dysfunction, viral and bacterial load, and genetic and environmental factors. Initial observation seems to be suitable for many children with OM, but only if appropriate follow-up can be assured. In children younger than 2 years with a certain diagnosis of acute OM, antibiotics are advised. Surgical candidacy depends on associated symptoms, the child's developmental risk, and the anticipated chance of timely spontaneous resolution of the effusion. The recommended approach for surgery is to start with tympanostomy tube placement, eventually followed by adenoidectomy. The ideal intervention for OM, however, does not yet exist, and an urgent need remains to explore new and creative options based on modern insights into the pathophysiology of OM.