The characteristics of fetal acohol spectrum disorders (FASD) constitute a specific facial phenotype, growth failure and neurodevelopmental defects. Reported FASD prevalences vary widely from 0.08 per 1,000 up to 68.0–89.2 per 1,000. We aimed to evaluate to which extent children referred with a suspicion of FASD, indeed have FASD. We included all 27 children referred to our genetic department with a suspicion of FASD between 2005 and 2010. Nineteen children (70.3%) were of non-Dutch ancestry, and 24 (88.9%) had been adopted. We used both the 4-Digit Code and the Revised Institute of Medicine criteria. More than half of the children did not meet either criteria for the diagnosis of FASD. Of note, after evaluation 8/27 children appeared not to have confirmed prenatal alcohol exposure. Two children referred for suspicion of FASD (neither of which were exposed to alcohol or met the criteria for FASD) had a pathogenic microstructural chromosomal rearrangement (del16p11.2 of 542 KB and dup1q44 of 915 KB). In 22/24 children (91.7%) there were other factors that may have affected their intellectual abilities, such as familial intellectual disability and social deprivation. We recommend a critical approach towards the diagnosis FASD, and to investigate all patients suspected to have FASD for other causative factors including genetic abnormalities. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.