Objective: The optimal age for transplantation in children with end- stage renal disease remains controversial. Supported by national data, many centers recommend dialysis until the child reaches a certain minimum age. The authors' policy, however, has been to encourage living donor (LD) transplants for young children, with no minimum age restriction. Methods: Between January 1, 1984, and December 31, 1996, the authom performed 248 kidney transplants in children younger than age 13 years, using cyclosporine as the primary immunosuppressive agent. Recipients were analyzed in three age groups: group 1, younger than age 1 year (n = 26); group 2, age 1 through 4 (n = 92); and group 3, age 5 through 13 (n = 130). Almost all recipients in group 1 underwent a primary LD transplant. Therefore, to compare results more meaningfully among the three age groups, only primary LD transplants were analyzed (group 1, n = 25; group 2, n = 59; group 3, n = 58). Results: In primary LD transplants, no significant difference was noted among the age groups in 1- and 5-year patient or graft survival rates. To date, all 25 recipients from group 1 are alive and well; 19 still have a functional original graft. Causes of graft loss in the remaining six recipients were chronic rejection (n = 3), vascular thrombosis (n = 2), and recurrent disease (n = 1). The incidence of acute rejection in group 1 recipients was lower than in the two older groups. However, the incidence of delayed graft function was slightly higher in the youngest group than in the two older groups. For recipients in group 1, growth (as measured by weight) improved significantly posttransplant: the mean standard deviation score rose from - 2.8 pretransplant to -0.2 by age 5 and to +1.8 by age 10. The improvement in height was not as dramatic: the mean standard deviation score rose from -3.2 pretransplant to -1.6 by age 5 and to -1.4 by age 10. Conclusions: Kidney transplantation in young children, including those younger than 1 year old, can achieve results comparable to those in older children. As long as an adult LD is available, the timing of the transplant should be based on renal function rather than age.