We studied a group of children (aged 2.2-15 years) with craniofacial dysostosis and obstructive sleep apnoea to assess the use of nasal continuous positive airway pressure (n-CPAP) as a palliative form of treatment. A variable period of time was allowed for acclimatisation to n-CPAP (1 day to 2 months), depending on the patient. Patients were then admitted for their first CPAP trial. Baseline breathing difficulty and the effectiveness of n-CPAP were assessed by respiratory sleep studies. Successful results were obtained with n-CPAP in five of the eight patients, with marked clinical and polygraphic improvements of the respiratory pattern immediately after n-CPAP was established. Of the remaining three cases, one child needed a prolonged period of acclimatisation to the n-CPAP system, one was withdrawn from the study, and one failed to respond to n-CPAP and was found to have complete blockage of the upper airways as a result of enlarged adenoids. Our results confirm that n-CPAP can be tolerated even by young patients and can be effective, and that it may be a useful alternative palliative treatment for obstructive sleep apnoea in children with craniofacial syndromes.