Three hundred and forty-eight children from Skaraborg County, Sweden, admitted to hospital with abdominal injuries over a 30-year period (1951–1980), have been analysed and compared with all patients with abdominal injury (1407) admitted to hospital from the same area during the same period. The number of children admitted in the second half of the period was greater than during the first but the proportion of children compared with adults was considerably reduced. During the period abdominal injuries due to car accidents increased in adults but not in children. The most frequent cause of abdominal injury in children was a bicycle accident. Abdominal injury due to sport also increased over the period. Mortality decreased, with no deaths in the past 10 years, compared with 8·6 per cent mortality in the first 10 years of the period.