The present multicentre study was undertaken to assess the prevalence of nocturnal hypoglycaemia and its determining factors in 117 diabetic children and adolescents, aged 2-18 years and diabetes duration > 1 year in Spain. Each child made 3 measurements of blood glucose (BG) at home at night (between 0000 h and 0600 h) on nine separate nights. A hypoglycaemic event occurred in 12-14% of children in any one night. This is lower than rates for nocturnal hypoglycaemia reported in literature, perhaps because of relatively late mealtimes and different meal content, in Spanish children. Children aged < 7 years were at higher risk of nocturnal hypoglycaemia than older children (p < 0.05). Mean HbA1c from the year before the study and mean HbA1c measured during the closest time to the study were significantly lower in those with nocturnal hypoglycaemia (p < 0.0001). Blood glucose concentrations 2 h before hypoglycaemia did not predict nocturnal hypoglycaemia. The occurrence of low or very low blood glucose concentrations before breakfast was related to a higher risk for nocturnal hypoglycaemia (chi 2 22.97; p < 0.001). No previous symptoms were detectable in 89% of cases.