The burden of seasonal influenza in children is poorly recognized, in spite of the potential for severe and even life-threatening illness and common secondary complications. Children are a primary reservoir for the spread of influenza to both family members and the community, which imposes a sizeable social and economic strain. Although vaccination is the primary intervention against childhood influenza, the antiviral neuraminidase inhibitors, oseltamivir and zanamivir, provide treatment options. Oseltamivir is administered orally to children aged > 1 year and has been shown to cost-effectively reduce the influenza disease burden and duration of viral shedding. Additionally, oseltamivir postexposure prophylaxis provides protective efficacy for children and families. Oseltamivir has shown excellent tolerability and a low potential for viral resistance in pediatric studies. In the event of an influenza pandemic, oseltamivir is expected to be at the forefront of containment strategies. This article reviews the pharmacology, efficacy and tolerability of oseltamivir as treatment and prophylaxis in children. © 2007 Informa UK Ltd.