Despite recent declines in child poverty in the UK, there is evidence that children from the poorest families remain a legitimate concern. Little is known about the circumstances of children in severe poverty for whom policy responses may need to be different. This study examines the extent and risk factors of severe child poverty in the UK, based on the 2004/5 Family Resources Survey. Given the multi-dimensional nature of poverty, its measurement encompasses both material deprivation (child and parent deprivation) and low household income. The results show significant regional variations in severe child poverty experience, ranging from 3 per cent of children in South and East England to 10 per cent in London. The multinomial logistic regression results conform to what might be expected, showing relatively high risks of severe poverty among children: with workless parents; whose parents have low levels of education; in large families of four or more children; from ethnic minority groups, especially of Asian origin; and in families with disabled adult(s). However, the results with respect to lone parenthood and benefit receipt do not conform to expected patterns. For instance, the overall risk of severe poverty is lower for children of lone parents, compared to those of similar background characteristics with both parents. Also, the results suggest that non-receipt of benefits in the family is associated with higher likelihood of experience of severe child poverty, an issue that requires policy attention and is worth investigating in future research. © Cambridge University Press 2010.