Non-typhoidal Salmonella are an important but poorly characterized cause of paediatric diarrhoea in developing countries. We conducted a hospital-based case-control study in children aged <5 years in Ho Chi Minh City to define the epidemiology and examine risk factors associated with Salmonella diarrhoeal infections. From 1419 diarrhoea cases and 571 controls enrolled between 2009 and 2010, 77 (5·4%) diarrhoea cases were stool culture-positive for non-typhoidal Salmonella. Salmonella patients were more likely to be younger than controls (median age 10 and 12 months, respectively) [odds ratio (OR) 0·97; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0·94–0·99], to report a recent diarrhoeal contact (8·1% cases, 1·8% controls; OR 5·98, 95% CI 1·8–20·4) and to live in a household with >2 children (cases 20·8%, controls 10·2%; OR 2·32, 95% CI 1·2–4·7). Our findings indicate that Salmonella are an important cause of paediatric gastroenteritis in this setting and we suggest that transmission may occur through direct human contact in the home.