From 1980 to 1987, 162 consecutive children with soft tissue and osseous sarcoma were reviewed to determine the frequency and types of neurologic complications seen. Neurologic complications occurred in 43 of 162 (26.5%) patients. Children with poorly differentiated sarcomas and rhabdomyosarcoma were more likely to have neurologic complications, which occurred in 39% of patients at risk. The types of complications seen included: metastatic spinal cord compression (11%); symptomatic peripheral neuropathy (10%); intracranial metastatic disease (7.5%); seizures (6%); and acute and chronic methotrexate-related neurologic dysfunction (2.5%). Spinal cord compression frequently occurred early in disease whereas brain metastases was almost always a late finding. Symptomatic peripheral neuropathy occurred primarily in children with rhabdomyosarcoma and Ewing's sarcoma. The advent of increasingly successful therapies for children with sarcoma and the frequency of severe neurologic complications indicate that a heightened level of surveillance for neurologic compromise is required.