Purpose: To assess the prevalence of self-reported physical disabilities in school children, through the Child Health Monitoring System. Methods: In 1992/1993, data were obtained in mainstream education (n = 5484), and in 1994/1995 in special education (n = 2622). The data were weighted to calculate estimates representative of the Dutch population. Results: Physical disabilities were reported in 21% [20.9%; 99% confidence interval 20.0-21.8], and 5% [4.7%; 99% confidence interval 4.3-5.2] had a severe disability. Severe physical disabilities were more frequent in the youngest age group, and certain of these disabilities may be related to normal development. In older children, accidents are an important cause of disabilities. Boys had disabilities more often than girls, especially speech disabilities. Disabilities were more common among children whose parents had a low level of education. Only a minority (14%) of the children with a severe disability, reported to be restricted in the daily pursuits. Conclusions: Physical disabilities are a common health problem in school children, but they do not usually cause a handicap.