Children present with vulval complaints less frequently than do adults; although there are many similarities between paediatric and adult groups of patients with vulval disease, there are also important differences. In both groups, dermatitis, psoriasis and lichen sclerosus are the most frequently seen dermatoses. Birthmarks and congenital abnormalities presenting for the first time are more of an issue in children than in adults. Fusion of the labia and streptococcal vulvovaginitis are conditions seen only in the paediatric group. Sexually transmitted diseases such as genital warts and genital herpes are not common in this group and should always raise the possibility of child sexual abuse. Chronic vulvovaginal candidiasis, although a very common problem in adult patients, is not seen in the prepubertal group.