The majority of rare diseases affect children, most of whom have an underlying genetic cause for their condition. However, making a molecular diagnosis with current technologies and knowledge is often still a challenge. Paediatric genomics is an immature but rapidly evolving field that tackles this issue by incorporating next-generation sequencing technologies, especially whole-exome sequencing and whole-genome sequencing, into research and clinical workflows. This complex multidisciplinary approach, coupled with the increasing availability of population genetic variation data, has already resulted in an increased discovery rate of causative genes and in improved diagnosis of rare paediatric disease. Importantly, for affected families, a better understanding of the genetic basis of rare disease translates to more accurate prognosis, management, surveillance and genetic advice; stimulates research into new therapies; and enables provision of better support.