Fulminant hepatic failure is a rare and devastating event during childhood. The etiology of liver failure is reported to change according to age and geographical location. We aimed to investigate, retrospectively, causes and outcome of fulminant hepatic failure in Turkish children. Thirty-four children with fulminant hepatic failure were analysed by means of etiology and outcome. Etiological factor, clinical presentation, encephalopathy stage and biochemical parameters were correlated with outcome. Acute viral hepatitis was detected in 12 cases (35.2 per cent) and hepatitis A was the most commonly detected cause among cases with fulminant hepatic failure (n = 9, 26.4 per cent). Hepatitis B and non A-E infection were diagnosed in two (5.8 per cent) and one (2.9 per cent) cases, respectively. Wilson's disease was defined in four patients (12.5 per cent). Budd-Chiari syndrome (2.9 per cent), autoimmune hepatitis (2.9 per cent) and mushroom poisoning (2.9 per cent) were other detected causes of fulminant hepatic failure in this group. No viral, metabolic, toxic or anatomic reason could be detected in the remaining 15 (44.1 per cent) patients and they were evaluated as cryptogenic. Mortality was 67.6 per cent (23 cases). Encephalopathy grade, total and indirect bilirubin levels were found to be significantly higher in patients who died (p = 0.004, p = 0.03, p = 0.04). Seven patients could have been transplanted (two cadavaric, five living related) and the mortality of this group was 28.5 per cent (n = 2). It was concluded that fulminant hepatitis A virus (HAV) infection is the most common detectable cause of fulminant hepatic failure in Turkish children.