The effect of corticosteroids in the treament of Bell’s palsy in children (<16 years old) was evaluated by review of published trials and reported from the Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Canada. Of a total of 3392 reports identified, 8 met inclusion criteria. Only one report involved children exclusively, with 21 treated and 21 controls (without placebo); the remainder included 1283 patients, mainly adults with few children who were not analysed separately. Only 5 of 89 trials were randomized (total 524 patients), and trial design, treatment schedule, and outcome measures were heterogeneous. Meta-analysis was not attempted. Four trials reported some benefit from corticosteroids, but the evidence is not conclusive. The routine use of corticosteroids in children with Bell’s palsy is not recommended on the basis of this analysis and review. A definitive trial remains to be conducted. 
COMMENT. Present evidence based on review of published trials in children with Bell’s palsy does not support the routine use of corticosteroids.