Several studies show that asthma mortality in children and adolescents increased until the mid-1990s, after which it has slightly decreased worldwide. The objective of this study was to describe the mortality rates of childhood asthma in Finland, and to analyze patient characteristics to identify predisposing factors for fatal asthma exacerbation among children and adolescents during 1976-1998 (2004). All death certificates where asthma or related respiratory tract disease was coded as the underlying cause of death were reviewed for those under 20 years of age. Health care records and autopsy reports were evaluated to validate the cause of death and to identify any predisposing factors. In all, there had been 28 asthma deaths. The validity of the death certificates proved to be good as only 7% were misclassified. Death occurred either in the very young children or adolescents: the median age in the group of 12 years (n = 13) was 18.1 years. The fatal exacerbations occurred mostly during summer and early autumn. Clinical triggers, recorded for 14/22 patients with available patient records, included respiratory infection, (12) use of ibuprofen despite known allergy (1), and exercise after visiting a horse stable (1). The severity of the disease was discernible in 21 patients: severe in 15, moderate in 5, and mild in 1 patient. Inhaled corticosteroids were not used as maintenance or periodic therapy in 12/22 patients, of whom 4 had died during the 1990s. In conclusion, asthma mortality in Finnish children and adolescents was rare and its incidence remained stable. The validity of the death certificate diagnoses proved to be good. Poor asthma management and non or undertreatment with inhaled corticosteroids were risk factors for fatal asthma.