A significant correlation between hypertension history and high blood pressure has been observed with regard to age, race and gender. Investigating carotid intima-media thickness and aortic stiffness prior to the development of hypertension in children of hypertensive parents enabled us to evaluate these patients for subclinical atherosclerosis. We compared carotid intima-media thickness, aortic strain, distensibility, stiffness indices and elastic modulus in 67 normotensive children whose parents had a diagnosis of essential hypertension and 39 normotensive children with no parental history of hypertension. Although there were no significant differences between the two groups in terms of systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, average blood pressure and pulse pressure (P>0.05), systolic blood pressures were higher among patients 15 years and older in the study group. No significant differences were noted between the control and study groups regarding interventricular septal thickness, left-ventricular posterior wall thickness, left-ventricular systolic and diastolic diameter and aortic annulus diameter (P>0.05). The left atrium diameter was larger in the study group compared with that in the control group, mainly because of the values of the 15-year-old and older children (P=0.01). The mean, maximum and minimum values of carotid intima-media thickness were significantly different in the study group compared with the control group among all age groups (P<0.001, P<0.001, P=0.006, respectively). Aortic systolic and diastolic diameters were larger in normotensive children of hypertensive parents compared with the control group (P=0.014, P=0.001, respectively). Although there were no differences between the study and control groups regarding aortic strain, aortic distensibility, elastic modulus and stiffness indices (P>0.05), aortic distensibility was lower, and aortic stiffness indices were higher among children 15 years and older in the study group. An increase in the carotid intima-media thickness in all age groups and a decrease in aortic elastic properties in 15-year-old and older children of hypertensive parents may indicate subclinical atherosclerosis in these apparently healthy children.