The general practice records of 437 children were reviewed at seven years of age. Of 369 children with complete records, 115 (31 per cent) had some record of wheeze. Over half of these had first presented before the age of three years. In terms of consultations for wheezing or lower respiratory tract illness at the ages of five to seven years, the earlier the onset of wheeze the better the prognosis.Comparison of data from parental questionnaires with the general practice records of 174 children suggested that parental recall of early episodes of wheeze is incomplete and biassed by the severity and persistence of the symptoms of the child. Questionnaire surveys may therefore have excluded many mild cases of wheezing in early childhood, thus underestimating the prevalance of wheezing in infancy, and overestimating the proportion of such cases who progress to persistent wheezing in later childhood.