A review of children admitted to Christchurch Hospital with acute laryngotracheitis over a 10 year and nine month period revealed that 894 admissions occurred for this condition. Forty-four (4.9%) were admitted to the intensive care unit of the hospital, of whom 12 (1.3% of all laryngotracheitis admissions) required endotracheal intubation. The mean time of intubation was 170 hours (range 24-432). There were no deaths, although seven children who were intubated had serious complications, of which perforation of a gastric ulcer was the most important. In our group of patients intubation is a rare event, and the need for aggressive treatment with dexamethasone at the time of admission to the general ward is questioned.