A total of 1419 children with type 1 diabetes mellitus was investigated in order to assess the true frequency of Hashimoto's thyroiditis (HT), diagnosed by microsomal and/or thyroglobulin autoantibodies, by ultrasound and in many cases also by fine needle biopsy. According to these criteria, 55 cases (3.9%) of HT were identified, a number significantly higher (P < 0.0001) than the distribution reported in the normal paediatric population. No typical antibody pattern was seen prior to the onset of HT, nor was an antibody threshold level found which could have been diagnostic for this disease. Patients with subclinical hypothyroidism were treated with L-thyroxine and were investigated regarding the behaviour of anti-thyroid autoantibodies; however, no significant changes were seen. The data showed a high frequency of HT in diabetic children, and therefore we recommend that children with type 1 diabetes mellitus should be screened for thyroid autoantibodies and those positive should undergo periodic thyroid function testing.