A diary study on a random sample of 625 Swiss children aged 0 to 5 yr was conducted in two cities in Switzerland to investigate the association between air pollution and respiratory symptoms. Total suspended particulates (TSP), SO2 and NO2 were measured by city monitor. In addition, passive samplers inside and outside the home measured NO2 concentration during the 6 wk each child was on the diary. Diaries were filled out by parents, and 20% were validated with the attending pediatrician's case notes. Incidence and duration of symptom episodes were examined separately. The study included any episode, episodes of coughing without runny nose, upper respiratory episodes, and episodes of breathing difficulty. In regressions using 6-wk average pollution that controlled for medical history, NO2 measured outdoors but not indoors was associated with the duration of any symptom. Total suspended particulates were a more significant predictor of duration of any symptom than NO2. The 6-wk average TSP was significantly associated with incidence of coughing episodes and marginally significant as a predictor of upper respiratory episodes. Previous day's TSP was a significant predictor of incidence of upper respiratory symptoms. Annual average of NO2 was associated with the duration of any episode and of upper respiratory episodes. We conclude that the incidence and duration of respiratory symptom episodes are likely associated with particulate concentrations and duration may be associated with NO2.