Abstract: Hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation (HSCT) is an effective mode of therapy in pediatrics for the treatment of both malignant and non-malignant disorders. We compared the course of children transplanted with unrelated umbilical cord blood (UCB) to those transplanted with allogeneic sibling bone marrow (BM) for bone marrow failure syndromes. Thirteen patients with a median age of 6.3 years were transplanted for the following diseases between April 1992 and November 1997: myelodysplastic syndromes, aplastic anemia, Diamond–Blackfan anemia, myelofibrosis, paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria, osteopetrosis and dyskeratosis congenita. The stem cell source was BM in ten patients and UCB in three. We retrospectively examined the conditioning regimens, stem cell source and dose, days to engraftment, survival and complication rate to see whether there was a significant advantage in using one source over the other. The median time to an absolute neutrophil count > 500 per µL was 25 days for UCB patients and 16 days for BM patients. The median time to a platelet count > 20 000 per µL was 55 days for UCB patients and 22 days for BM patients. The 100-day mortality was 66% in UCB patients and 20% in BM patients. The overall mortality rates were 66% and 40%, respectively. Three patients died prior to engraftment. Seven patients (54%) were still alive as of May 1999 with a median follow-up of 1574 days post-transplant. The patients transplanted with BM had faster engraftment and lower rates of graft-versus-host disease, 100-day mortality and overall mortality. HLA-matched sibling BM is preferred as a source but transplantation using unrelated UCB is still an option in treating pediatric bone marrow failure syndromes.