Html – How to make child div scrollable when it exceeds parent height


I have 2 child divs nested in a parent div in row-column pattern: the parent is a column, and the children are rows.enter image description here

The upper child div is of variable height, but is guaranteed to be less than the height of the parent div.

The lower child div is also of variable height. In some cases, the heights of the child divs will make the lower child div exceed the parent. In this case, I need to make the lower div scrollable. Note that I want only the lower div to be scrollable, not the whole parent div.

How do I handle this?

See attached jsfiddle for case example:


 <div class="parent">
    <div class="child1">
        hello world filler
    <div class="child2">
        this div should overflow and scroll down


.parent {
    width: 50px;
    height: 100px;
    border: 1px solid black;

.child1 {
    background-color: red;

.child2 {
    background-color: blue;

Best Solution

Because this post is still ranking very high in Google, I'd like to post a better solution using flexbox. Actually this is very simple. Use display: flex, flex-direction: column and overflow: hidden for parent and overflow-y: auto for child.

.wrapper {
  display: flex;
  flex-direction: column;
  overflow: hidden;

.scrollable-child {
  overflow-y: auto;

Here's the pen: