A diagnosis-prescribing study was performed in 5 Swedish counties during 1 week in November in 2000 and repeated in 2002. The aim of the present study was to analyse data for children 0-15y of age who consulted a general practitioner with symptoms of an infection. During the 2 weeks studied, 4049 children were consulted. Respiratory tract infections (RTI) were the predominant diagnoses, above all among the youngest children, while the proportion of urinary tract infections and skin infections increased with increasing age. Between the y 2000 and 2002, the proportion of children allocated the diagnosis streptococcal tonsillitis and pneumonia decreased (p<0.01 and p<0.001, respectively) while the proportion of common cold increased (p<0.001). Antibiotic prescribing decreased from 55% to 48% (p<0.001) for respiratory infections between the years studied. The only significant changes in type of antibiotics prescribed were the increase of isoxazolylpenicillins (p<0.001) used for skin infection and the decrease of macrolides (p=0.001). A diagnostic test was used in more than half of the consultations. Of children allocated a RTI diagnosis, 36% were prescribed antibiotics when a C-reactive protein test was performed compared to 58% in those not tested. Further studies are needed in general practice to determine the optimal use of near-patient tests in children with RTI.