A new technique to measure ventilation, based on the separate contributions of rib cage and abdomen to tidal volume, the respiratory inductive plethysmograph was evaluated in 20 healthy children. The accuracy of the method was determined by simultaneously measuring tidal volume with a pneumotachograph in the standing, sitting, supine, left lateral decubitus, and prone postures. Comparison of these two techniques showed mean correlation coefficients greater than 0.96, mean slopes between 0.98 and 1.11, and mean SEE of less than 8% in all postures studied. Breathing through a mouthpiece connected to a pneumotachograph resulted in a substantial change in the pattern of breathing and a mean increase in tidal volume of 32% (P less than 0.05). In the standing and sitting postures, rib cage contribution to tidal volume was predominant (greater than 65%) whereas in the recumbent postures abdominal contribution was predominant (greater than 61%). We conclude that the RIP is an accurate means of measuring ventilation in children and that it avoids the artifacts caused by using a conventional respiratory measuring apparatus.