To determine the long-term outcome of children admitted to a pediatric ICU (PICU), we studied 976 consecutive patients admitted to our PICU in the 12 months ending June 30, 1983, and evaluated their outcome 30 to 36 months after PICU admission. There was no relationship between duration of PICU admission and outcome. Young children were more likely to die than older children, but young children who survived did not have an increased risk of handicap. Of the 974 children available for follow-up, 20% died, 5% had a severe handicap, 2% had a moderate handicap, 12% had a mild handicap, 17% were functionally normal but required medical supervision, and 42% were normal. Thus, 80% of the children survived 30 months or more, and 91% of the survivors will probably lead an independent life.