To develop a self-report version of the EQ-5D for younger respondents, named the EQ-5D-Y (Youth); to test its comprehensibility for children and adolescents and to compare results obtained using the standard adult EQ-5D and the EQ-5D-Y. An international task force revised the content of EQ-5D and wording to ensure relevance and clarity for young respondents. Children's and adolescents' understanding of the EQ-5D-Y was tested in cognitive interviews after the instrument was translated into German, Italian, Spanish and Swedish. Differences between the EQ-5D and the EQ-5D-Y regarding frequencies of reported problems were investigated in Germany, Spain and South Africa. The content of the EQ-5D dimensions proved to be appropriate for the measurement of HRQOL in young respondents. The wording of the questionnaire had to be adapted which led to small changes in the meaning of some items and answer options. The adapted EQ-5D-Y was satisfactorily understood by children and adolescents in different countries. It was better accepted and proved more feasible than the EQ-5D. The administration of the EQ-5D and of the EQ-5D-Y causes differences in frequencies of reported problems. The newly developed EQ-5D-Y is a useful tool to measure HRQOL in young people in an age-appropriate manner.