Hypoglycaemia is particularly common in young children with type 1 diabetes mellitus yet the normal protective counterregulatory responses have been little studied in this age group. The studies reported have shown conflicting results, in part related to prior glycaemic control and also to the method of investigation used. Counterregulatory hormone responses during both spontaneous and experimentally induced episodes of nocturnal hypoglycaemia do appear to be blunted, which may be a function of sleep itself. Although studies of cognitive function have consistently shown defects in certain areas of neurocognitive performance, particularly in those children with early-onset diabetes or a prior history of severe hypoglycaemia, the contribution of nocturnal hypoglycaemia to the development of these impairments has not been evaluated. In young adults and adolescents, nocturnal hypoglycaemia has been linked to cardiac arrhythmia and the risk of sudden death. The development of new techniques for continuous subcutaneous glucose monitoring may allow detailed study of counterregulatory responses and symptom recognition in young children. Effective intensification of insulin therapy without an increased risk of hypoglycaemia may be possible using new insulin analogues or continued subcutaneous intravenous infusion (CSII), thus improving patient compliance and overall quality of clinical care.