We attempted to classify according to the 1989 International Classification of Epilepsies and Epileptic Syndromes, 1076 patients examined during a 4-year period (1 January 1988 to 31 December 1991) in the Child Neurology Unit. We aimed to determine the proportion of the clearly defined epileptic syndromes or the non-specific categories of the International Classification of Epilepsies and Epileptic Syndromes, to estimate the relative incidence of different categories and to review the criteria for defining epileptic syndromes. The proportion in categories as defined by the International Classification of Epilepsies and Epileptic Syndromes in our patients was as follows. Localization-related epilepsies and syndromes:idiopathic 3.15%, symptomatic 17%, cryptogenic 9.20%. Generalized epilepsies and syndromes:idiopathic 20.35%, cryptogenic or symptomatic 14.68%, symptomatic 11.5%. Epilepsies unequivocal focal or generalized features 1.68%. Special syndromes:situation-related seizures:febrile convulsions 12.83%, isolated seizures or isolated status epilepticus 1.02%, seizures due to an acute toxic or metabolic event 1.20%. The presence of non-specific categories in the International Classification of Epilepsies and Epileptic Syndrome enables the categorization of all patients by it gives the false impression of diagnostic precision to what are essentially uncertain cases.