Identification of bacteria causing lower-airway infections is important to determine appropriate antimicrobial therapy. Flexible bronchoscopy with bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) is used to obtain lower-airway specimens in young children. The first lavage (lavage-1) is typically used for bacterial culture. However, no studies in children have compared the detection of cultivable bacteria from sequential lavages of the same lobe. BAL fluid was collected from two sequential lavages of the same lobe in 79 children enrolled in our prospective studies of chronic cough. The respiratory bacteria Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, Moraxella catarrhalis, Staphylococcus aureus and Haemophilus parainfluenzae were isolated and identified using standard published methods. H. influenzae was differentiated from Haemophilus haemolyticus using PCR assays. Lower-airway infection was defined as ?104 c.f.u. ml-1 BAL fluid. We compared cultivable bacteria from lavage-1 with those from the second lavage (lavage-2) using the k statistic. Lower-airway infections by any pathogen were detected in 46 % of first lavages and 39 % of second lavages. Detection was similar in both lavages for all pathogens; the k statistic was 0.7�0.8 for all bacteria except H. parainfluenzae. Of all infections detected in either lavage, 90 % were detected in lavage-1 and 78 % in lavage-2. However, culture of lavage-2 identified infections that would have been missed in 8 % of children, including infections by additional Streptococcus pneumoniae serotypes. Our findings support the continued use of lavage-1 for bacterial culture; however, culture of lavage-2 may yield additional identifications of bacterial pathogens in lower-airway infections. � 2015 The Authors.