Exposure of children to ionizing radiation most commonly is from the environment, chiefly through cosmic rays and radon, or from medical technology. Medical radiation exposure occurs during diagnosis, therapy, and dental radiography. More is known about the biological effects of exposure to ionizing radiation than to nonionizing radiation from microwaves, radiowaves, and the electrical fields of other electrical appliances. This review applies only to sources of ionizing radiation and does not include the potential risks of indoor radon. The effects on children of ionizing radiation have been studied from war activities and environmental accidents. Projections are made from that data to help pediatricians evaluate risk from radiation when ordering radiographs.