We examined EEG findings from an ongoing study of 347 children with a first unprovoked seizure. EEGs were available in 321 (93%), and 135 (42%) had an abnormal EEG. EEG abnormalities included focal spikes (n = 77), generalized spike and wave discharges (n = 28), slowing (n = 43), and nonspecific abnormalities (n = 7). Abnormal EEGs were more common in children with remote symptomatic seizures (60%) than in those with idiopathic seizures (38%) (p < 0.003), more common in partial seizures (56%) than in generalized seizures (35%) (p < 0.001), and more common in children age > 3 years (52%) than in younger children (12%) (p < 0.001). Records including both awake and sleep tracings were available in 148 (46%) cases. For 122 (38%) only awake tracings and for 51 (16%) only sleep tracings were available. Fifty-nine (40%) of the 148 patients with both an awake and asleep tracing had abnormal EEGs. Of 50 such EEGs with epileptiform abnormalities, 15 (30%) demonstrated the abnormality either only while awake (n = 8) or only while asleep (n = 7). Of 17 patients with EEG slowing, 8 showed slowing only in the awake tracing and 9 showed slowing in both the awake and asleep tracing. Children with even a single unprovoked seizure have a high incidence of EEG abnormalities. Obtaining a combined awake and sleep EEG significantly increases the yield of EEG abnormalities. In children with an idiopathic first seizure, EEG abnormalities are associated with an increased risk of seizure recurrence.