We carried out a survey in Japan to investigate compliance among children given oral antibiotics in an outpatient setting. The results of our survey revealed that, in Japan, approximately one-quarter of patients did not take their full course of antibiotics. Reasons for unsupervised self-discontinuation included: (1) the parent or guardian judged the infection to be cured; (2) the child refused to take the drug; and (3) the appearance of side effects. Causative organisms often involved in respiratory infections experienced in out-patient medicine include pneumococci, streptococci, staphylococci, Haemophilus influenzae, Moraxella (Branhamella) catarrhalis and Mycoplasma pneumoniae. The beta-lactams are effective against all of these bacterial species, with the exception of M. pneumoniae. We conducted a survey of beta-lactam antibiotics currently on the Japanese market and compared them to other oral antibiotics used to treat respiratory infections. Ease of administration, based on the incidence of adverse effects, particularly diarrhea, the dosage form, taste, dosage per administration and the number of doses required per day, are reported.