This study was performed to determine if cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) shunts inserted via the frontal and parietal regions function for similar lengths of time. The medical records of 114 children with CSF shunts were reviewed. In 83 of these cases computerized tomography scans were also available. Ninety percent of the operations were to insert the child's first shunt. The site of insertion, cause of hydrocephalus, patient's age, surgeon, duration of function (time from insertion to malfunction or to latest follow-up evaluation), presence of infection, catheter location within the ventricle, and duration of function of the subsequent shunt were recorded. Data were analyzed by the chi-square, logistic regression, and life-table methods. Shunts had been inserted via the frontal route in 62 children and via the parietal route in 52. The children's ages, causes of hydrocephalus, and infection rates were similar in both groups. Duration of shunt function was predicted by the site of shunt insertion and the catheter position within the ventricles: shunts inserted via the frontal region functioned significantly longer than parietally inserted shunts, both as the initial shunt (Wilcoxon, p = 0.0008) and after a malfunction, and catethers positioned within the ipsilateral frontal horn functioned significantly longer than those in other ventricular locations (Wilcoxon, p = 0.03).