The incidence of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in the disabled pediatric population has rarely been studied. The purpose of our retrospective study was to define the incidence in patients younger than 18 years of age who were in a rehabilitation center. We reviewed the charts of 532 children admitted to the center from 1983 through 1987, and found a 2.2% overall incidence of DVT. The largest group of children under 18 of age with documented or suspected DVT was the group with spinal cord injuries (SCI). There were 87 SCI children, 67 of whom were between the ages of 15 and 18. Of the 67, 7 (10%) had DVT: 1 of the 20 SCI children under age 15 had DVT. There were single cases of DVT documented in children with: meningoencephalitis, arteriovenous malformation, closed head injuries, and Guillian-Barré syndrome. We studied the risk involved in treating DVT with heparin and formulated recommendations based on our findings.