From 1980 through 1984, 28 children younger than 19 years (mean 7.9) underwent cardiac valve replacement with 30 mechanical prostheses. Patients were followed for a total of 471 months (mean 15.7) and received either warfarin (mean 0.16 mg/kg/day) or acetylsalicylic acid and dipyridamole (mean 6.1 and 1.9 mg/kg/day, respectively) as thromboembolism prophylaxis. The frequency and incidence of thromboembolism and hemorrhage were compared. Warfarin-treated patients were at increased risk of hemorrhage (5 of 20 [25%], or 22 per 100 patient-years, vs 0 of 10 [0%], or 0 per 100 patient-years, p less than 0.05). Three of the 5 hemorrhagic episodes were mild, and in no case was hemorrhage life-threatening. Patients who did not receive warfarin had a greater risk of thromboembolism (2 of 10 [20%], or 12 per 100 patient-years, vs 0 of 20 [0%], or 0 per 100 patient-years, p less than 0.05). Both episodes of thromboembolism were life-threatening and necessitated emergency valve replacement. Although warfarin is associated with greater risk of hemorrhage than is acetylsalicylic acid and dipyridamole, warfarin is better than antiplatelet drugs in thromboembolism prophylaxis and is indicated for anticoagulation therapy in children with mechanical cardiac prostheses.