• Mineral metabolism in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of children is poorly understood. Recent reports have suggested a neuroregulatory role for calcitonin. We examined the hypotheses that in children (1) CSF levels of calcium and phosphorus might be low, (2) CSF levels of magnesium might be higher than serum levels of magnesium, and (3) immunoreactive calcitonin might be present in the CSF. We examined serum and CSF samples of 45 children, aged 8 days to 16 years, undergoing spinal taps for suspected meningitis or as part of leukemia therapy. Both serum and CSF levels of calcium correlated with those of magnesium. There was no correlation for CSF levels vs serum levels of calcium, magnesium, or phosphorus. The CSF levels of calcium and phosphorus were lower than the serum levels of these elements, but the CSF levels of magnesium were higher than the serum levels of magnesium. Calcitonin was detected in the CSF of 8% of samples assayed (range, 14 to 175 ng/L [14 to 175 pg/mL]). Two of these five samples had bacteriologically proven meningitis, and two samples were from patients less than 2 months of age. The CSF levels of calcitonin did not correlate with the serum levels of calcitonin. Thus, in children (1) CSF levels of calcium and phosphorus are low, (2) CSF levels of magnesium are higher than the serum levels, and (3) the level of immunoreactive calcitonin is usually not present in the CSF but possibly is elevated in meningitis and early infancy.