No consensus exists among burn surgeons on the role of prophylactic antibiotics in prevention of toxic shock syndrome (TSS). We recently reported a series of 71 children admitted with burns to our burn unit. By Centres for Disease Control (CDC) criteria, six of these were 'definite' and four 'probable' cases of TSS. Prior to this report, none of our patients were given prophylactic antibiotics. Thereafter, prophylactic therapy was included in the management of children admitted to the burns unit. The aim of this study was to assess whether prophylaxis with a one off single dose of systemic antibiotics prevented the occurrence of TSS. Data were collected prospectively between 1 January and 31 December 2001, on all children admitted to the burns unit. Out of 50 children admitted to the burns unit, 39 received prophylactic antibiotics in the referring accident and emergency. Two of these became unwell but none fulfilled the CDC criteria. The remaining 11 patients were given antibiotics on admission out of which one child required direct admission to the intensive care unit with a working diagnosis of TSS. Retrospectively, his features did not conform to the CDC criteria. In conclusion, this study suggests that prophylaxis may prevent TSS in children.