The aim of the study was to investigate possible associations between the time course of early sensitization to latex and various life style factors. Of the 398 children from a prospective birth cohort study, 20 (5%) showed specific serum IgE to latex at the age of 5 years. Sensitization started beyond the first year of life and 19 out of 20 sensitized children showed increasing specific IgE-values over time. All 20 sensitized children were atopic (p < 0.00000). Total IgE was significantly higher in the sensitized group (median 394.5 kU/I) than in the non-sensitized group (median 39.2 kU/1) (p < 0.00001). Comparing the latex-sensitized group with the non-sensitized children, there were significantly more operations in the latex group (p < 0.05) during the first 5 years of life. Medical history, certain foods, the use of pacifiers, mattress composition and socio-economic data proved not to be significant risk factors. From our study we conclude that -besides the number of operations and an atopic predisposition - no other definite risk factor for developing sensitization or allergy to latex (such as everyday household objects) can be identified in children up to 5 years of age.