BACKGROUND: In recent years, new progress has been made regarding the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of acute otitis media (AOM). The Italian Pediatric Society therefore decided to issue an update to the previous guidelines published in 2010. METHODS: Literature searches were conducted on MEDLINE by Pubmed, including studies in children, in English or Italian, published between January 1, 2010, and December 31, 2018. The quality of the included studies was assessed using the grading of recommendations, assessment, development and evaluations (GRADE) methodology. In particular, the quality of the systematic reviews was evaluated using the AMSTAR 2 appraisal tool. The guidelines were formulated using the GRADE methodology by a multidisciplinary panel of experts. RESULTS: The diagnosis of AOM is based on acute clinical symptoms and otoscopic evidence; alternatively, the presence of otorrhea associated with spontaneous tympanic membrane perforation allows the AOM diagnosis. The diagnosis of AOM must be certain and the use of a pneumatic otoscope is of fundamental importance. As an alternative to the pneumatic otoscope, pediatricians can use a static otoscope and a tympanometer. To objectively establish the severity of the episode for the formulation of a correct treatment program, an AOM severity scoring system taking into account clinical signs and otoscopic findings was developed. CONCLUSIONS: The diagnosis of AOM is clinical and requires the introduction of specific medical training programs. The use of pneumatic otoscopes must be promoted, as they are not sufficiently commonly used in routine practice in Italy.