The results of initial clinical nuclear magnetic resonance imaging of the brain in eight normal and 52 children with a wide variety of neurologic diseases were reviewed. The high level of gray-white matter contrast available with inversion-recovery sequences provided a basis for visualizing normal myelination as well as delays or deficits in this process. The appearances seen in cases of parenchymal hemorrhage, cerebral infarction, and porencephalic cysts are described. Ventricular enlargement was readily identified and marginal edema was demonstrated with spin-echo sequences. Abnormalities were seen in cerebral palsy, congenital malformations, Hallervorden-Spatz disease, aminoaciduria, and meningitis. Space-occupying lesions were identified by virtue of their increased relaxation times and mass effects. Nuclear magnetic resonance imaging has considerable potential in pediatric neuroradiologic practice, in some conditions supplying information not available by computed tomography or sonography.