The results of the treatment of open tibial fractures in 58 children aged between 3 and 15 years are reviewed. There were 25 Gustilo Type I, 22 Type II and 10 Type III fractures. At operation 37 wounds were closed primarily and 21 wounds were left open. Of these 21, 13 healed by secondary intention and eight required split skin grafting or soft tissue flap coverage. Stable fractures were immobilized in an above-knee plaster in 48 cases (83 per cent) and six fractures treated with external fixation (10 per cent). Two patients (3.5 per cent) had cast immobilization of the tibial fracture and traction for an ipsilateral femoral fracture. Two patients (3.5 per cent) with Gustilo Type IIIc injuries required an amputation, one 'de novo' as the limb was not salvageable and one 4 days after failed vascular reconstruction. All fractures healed primarily without bone grafting, although there were three cases of delayed union and seven cases of malunion. Six children had superficial wound infections but there were no cases of deep infection or osteomyelitis. There was one case of compartment syndrome.