Background. Imported diseases recorded in the European Union (EU) increasingly involve traveling immigrants returning from visits to their relatives and friends (VFR). Children of these immigrant families can represent a population of extreme vulnerability. Methods. A randomized cross-sectional study of 698 traveling children under the age of 15 was performed. VFR traveling children and non-VFR (or tourist) children groups were compared. Results. A total of 698 individuals were analyzed: 354 males (50.7%) and 344 females (49.3%), with a median age (interquartile range) of 4 (2-9) years. Of these, 578 (82.8%) had been born in the EU with 542 (77.7%) being considered as VFR, whereas 156 (22.3%) were considered tourists. VFR children were younger (4.7 vs 8.2 yr; p < 0.001), they had more frequently been born in the EU (62.8% vs 20.1%; p < 0.01) and were more frequently lodged in private homes (76.6% vs 3.2%: p < 0.001) and rural areas (23.2% vs 1.6%; p < 0.001). Furthermore, VFR remained abroad longer (51.6 vs 16.6 d; p < 0.001), the visit/travel time interval was shorter (21.8 vs 32.2 d; p < 0.001) than tourists, and consultation was within 10 days prior to the departure (26.4% vs 2.7%; p < 0.001). The risk factor most differentiating VFR children from tourists was accommodation in a rural setting [odds ratio(OR) = 5.26;95%CI = 2.704-10.262;p < 0.001]. Conclusions. VFR traveling children showed a greater risk of exposure to infectious diseases compared with tourists. Immigrant families may represent a target group to prioritize international preventive activities. © 2011 International Society of Travel Medicine.