A retrospective analysis was performed on 103 pediatric patients, less than 5 years of age, undergoing tracheotomy at New York Hospital between 1980 and 1990. Charts were reviewed with respect to primary diagnosis, indication for tracheotomy, duration of the tracheotomy, complication rate and mortality rate. Approximately 62% of the tracheotomies were performed in patients less than 12 months of age, with the most common indication being an acquired or congenital airway abnormality. The number of patients receiving tracheotomies for neurological disorders, however, increased more than threefold over the course of this review. Approximately one-third of the patients experienced immediate, early or delayed complications. There was a significant correlation between the complication rate and weight at the time of the tracheotomy as well as the degree of prematurity of the child. Over one half of the infants under 2000 g suffered complications. A mortality rate of 2.9% was noted in our study with mucous plugging of the tracheotomy being the most common etiology of death.