A search was made in The National Board Hospital Register of all admissions to Danish hospitals caused by ingestion of corrosives or suspected ingestion of corrosives during 1984-1988 among children aged 0-14 years. Discharge information on each child was collected. The study comprised 224 children. Six children developed a stricture of the esophagus, and in 11 children, the epiglottis was affected. In nearly all cases, these serious complications were due to ingestion of lye or dishwash detergent. Among children without symptoms or signs at the initial examination, none developed a stricture of the esophagus or epiglottic oedema. We conclude that during a period of five years, serious etching after ingestion of corrosives was seen only after ingestion of lye (four cases), dishwash detergent (one case) and an unidentified caustic agent (one case). In all serious cases, symptoms or signs of etching of the skin, mouth or pharynx were observed at first examination.