Exposure to high allergen levels in early life is a risk factor for the development of allergy. We previously reported limited effects of mite allergen impermeable mattress covers in the prevention and incidence of asthma and mite allergy (PIAMA) cohort at the age of 1 and 2 yr. We now present the results of follow-up at 4 yr objectives. To examine the effects of early reduction of house dust mite (HDM) allergen exposure by means of mattress covers on the incidence of allergy and asthma symptoms in the PIAMA birth cohort at the age of 4 yr. High-risk children (allergic mother) were prenatally recruited and randomly allocated to three groups; receiving mite allergen impermeable mattress covers (n = 416), placebo covers (n = 394) or no intervention (n = 472). At 4 yr of age, atopy was assessed by questionnaire; specific Immunoglobulin E (IgE) to inhalant and food allergens was measured in serum. Dust samples collected from the children's mattresses were analysed for mite allergens. Dermatophagoides farinae1 allergen (Der f 1) levels in dust were reduced in the active group. However, Dermatophagoides pteronissinus 1 (Der p 1) levels, sensitization and atopic symptoms were similar in all groups. We found no effect of mite allergen impermeable mattress covers on sensitization and atopy at 4 yr. Moreover, the allergen reducing effects of the covers had disappeared for one of the two mite allergens that were measured.