The records of 101 drowning or near-drowning victims admitted to Children's Hospital of Los Angeles (CHLA) between January 1975 and June 1978 were reviewed. The admission Glasgow coma score could be assigned retrospectively to 94 patients. A low score (less than 5) predicted a high risk group of patients with 80% mortality or permanent neurological sequelae. A high score (greater than or equal to 6) defined a low risk group of patients with no deaths or severe neurological sequelae. The Glasgow coma scale may be a useful tool for predicting the outcome of near-drowning victims in the pediatric age group.