A retrospective analysis of 21 consecutive patients hospitalized with either Stevens-Johnson syndrome or toxic epidermal necrolysis was carried out to assess morbidity and mortality rates and to establish the value of a specific management practice. Fourteen children with Stevens-Johnson syndrome and seven with toxic epidermal necrolysis were cared for at the Children's Memorial Hospital, Chicago, between 1978 and 1988. All were managed in a well-staffed medical ward or, when necessary, in the pediatric intensive care unit. Supportive measures included reverse barrier isolation, intravenous fluids and nutritional support, meticulous skin care, early detection and treatment of infection, and daily ophthalmologic examination. No patient was treated with systemic steroids. The mortality rate was zero. Eye complications, consisting of dry eyes or mild chronic symblepharon, were the most significant long-term sequelae.