Two hundred eighteen healthy children aged 2 to 18 years were studied using a modification of the forced oscillation technique. Reference values with height as predictor were determined for total respiratory resistance and impedance during inspiration, expiration, and throughout the whole respiratory cycle at an oscillation frequency of 4 Hz and, in a subpopulation of 61 children, at frequencies of 2 and 12 Hz. Mean total inspiratory resistance, determined at 4 Hz, decreased with growth from 1.3 kPa X 1(-1) X s at 2 years of age to 0.3 kPa X 1(-1) X s at 18 years. Variability in the results between individuals, expressed in terms of coefficient of variation, was found to be +27% and -21%, respectively, and within individuals, 9%. Resistance during expiration was on average 16% higher than during inspiration and the variability within individuals was 11%. A marked decrease in resistance was found in small children when the frequency was increased from 2 to 12 Hz. The frequency dependence of respiratory resistance observed in small children changes gradually with growth, in parallel with the reduction of total respiratory resistance, to an adult pattern in which no significant change in resistance can be noted between frequencies of 2 and 12 Hz.