During a seven-year period, 38 children acquired multiply resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) after admission to a pediatric service. Eighteen children were thought to be colonized. Twenty-three infectious episodes occurred in the remaining 20 children. Infections included endocarditis (n = 2), pneumonia (n = 8), burn infection (n = 1), postoperative wound infection (n = 6), intra-abdominal abscess (n = 1), catheter sepsis (n = 2), urinary tract infection (n = 1), conjunctivitis (n = 1), and central nervous system shunt infection (n = 1). When patients infected with MRSA were compared by multivariate analysis with control subjects matched for age and unit of admission, patients with MRSA were hospitalized longer, underwent more surgical procedures, received more intravenous alimentation, and were more likely to require a tracheostomy; no correlation was found with administration of antibiotics. Twenty-six of the 34 discharged patients remained colonized with MRSA. Mortality in the infected patients was 20% (4/20), with a 38% (3/8) mortality rate for MRSA pneumonia.