Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) was performed for the treatment of urinary tract calculi in 28 children. All treatments were done with the standard Siemens Lithostar device in situ: no special adaptations for adequate positioning of children are required to target the stone precisely. A total of 42 calculi in 30 renal units was treated, requiring 50 ESWL sessions. The mean energy used was 16.4 kv. and the number of shock waves averaged 3,188. Mean fluoroscopy time per session was 1.5 minutes. In 26 of 50 sessions (52%) general anesthesia was needed for the child to remain perfectly still. A complete stone-free rate was achieved in 38 of 42 calculi (90.5%): after 1 session in 30 (71.4%), after 2 sessions in 6 (13.7%) and after 3 sessions in 2 (4.8%). Five staghorn calculi were treated with ESWL monotherapy. A complete stone-free result was obtained after 3 treatments in 2 patients, while 2 had residual fragments in the lower pole (5 mm. after 6 sessions and 11 months of followup in 1, and 7 mm. after 3 sessions and 3 months of followup in 1). A cystine staghorn stone necessitated open nephrolithotomy after 3 sessions without any fragmentation. One impacted sacroiliac ureteral stone required endoscopic laser lithotripsy. Except for these 2 failures no adjuvant procedures were needed. There were no intraoperative or postoperative complications and minor skin bruising at the coupling site after 3 treatments did not require any therapy. We conclude that electromagnetic ESWL with the standard Lithostar unit is a safe and effective method to treat calculi throughout the urinary tract in children.