Background: Skeletal maturity and age-related changes in the composition of the glenoid labrum and joint capsule may influence rates of recurrent instability in children. We systematically review risk factors which predispose children to recurrent shoulder instability. Methods: The systematic review concerned studies published before May 2015. Statistical analysis was undertaken to compare rates of recurrence for each extracted risk factor. Pooled odds ratios were analysed using random effects meta-analysis. Results: Six retrospective cohort studies met the inclusion criteria. Eight risk factors were identified across the studies including age, sex, shoulder dominance and injury side, mechanism of injury, state of physis closure, and Hill-Sachs and Bankart lesions. The rate of recurrent instability was 73%. Children aged 14 to 18 years were 24 times more likely to experience recurrent instability than children aged 13 years and less (93% versus 40%) (OR)=24.14, 95%CI (3.71, 156.99) Z=3.33, p=0.001, I2=6.83%). There was a non-significant trend indicating males were 3.4 times more likely to experience recurrent instability, (OR=3.44, 95%CI (0.98, 12.06), Z=1.93, p=0.053, I2=0%). Analysis of one study found that children with a closed physis are 14 times more likely to experience recurrent instability compared to those with an open physis (OR=14.0, 95%CI (1.46, 134.25, Z=2.29, p=0.02, I2=0%) . Conclusion: Male children aged 14 years and over had the greatest risk of recurrent shoulder instability following a first time traumatic anterior shoulder dislocation. This meta-analysis summarises a mix of six acceptable and poor quality Level III retrospective cohort studies. Further examination of this population with blinded prospective cohort studies will assist clinicians in the appropriate management of first time traumatic anterior shoulder dislocation.