The respiratory tract of children in the first two years of life, unlike that of adults, contains bronchus-associated lymphoid tissue (BALT) and larynx-associated lymphoid tissue (LALT) with no differences in frequency between SID and control children. Using immunohistochemical methods we examined the distribution of B, T, CD4+ and CD8+ lymphocytes, HLA-D+ cells, CD68+ macrophages and proliferating cells, comparing bronchus-associated and larynx-associated lymphoid tissue of sudden infant death cases and controls. In all groups the lymphoid tissue was organized in lymphoid follicles and parafollicular areas. With no differences in the cellular composition of BALT and LALT the lymphoid follicles contained mainly B lymphocytes with some CD4+ lymphocytes in the germinal centers. Remarkably T lymphocytes of both subset types and B lymphocytes were observed in equal numbers in the parafollicular areas in contrast to gut-associated lymphoid tissue. However, the respiratory tract of young children with no differences between SID and controls might play a similar role in mucosal immunity and might function as an inductive site.