There are few reports studying the aetiology of onychomycosis in children in Spain. To study childhood dermatophyte onychomycosis, a retrospective study of children was carried out, who were <16 years of age with dermatophyte onychomycosis diagnosed between 1987 and 2007. Of 4622 nail samples from 3550 patients, 218 came from 181 children up to 16 years old. Onychomycosis caused by dermatophytes was demonstrated in 28 (15.5%) cases. Trichophyton rubrum (18 cases) was the most prevalent species, followed by Trichophyton tonsurans (five cases), Trichophyton mentagrophytes var. interdigitale (four cases) and Trichophyton mentagrophytes var. mentagrophytes (one case). Concomitant dermatophytosis at other locations was confirmed in seven cases (25%). Toenail onychomycosis was associated with tinea pedis in five cases. Distal and lateral subungual onychomycosis was the most common clinical pattern. The superficial white type was found in two cases of toenail onychomycosis caused by T. rubrum and T. tonsurans. During the period of study, only 5.1% of all investigated people were children up to 16 years. The prevalence of onychomycosis tended to increase over the years and represented 15.5% of all nail dystrophies in children. Therefore, dermatologists must consider onychomycosis in the differential diagnosis of nail alterations in children and always perform a mycological study to confirm the diagnosis.