We retrospectively analyzed outcomes in 67 children with acute leukemia who received hematopoietic stem cell transplantation from alternative allogeneic donors: 29 received a haploidentical family donor and 38, an unrelated cord blood donor. All transplantations were performed from 1996 through 2010 in our center. Neutrophil and platelet engraftment were significantly delayed after cord blood transplantation. The median times to neutrophil and platelet recovery were 13 d (7–34) and 11 d (5–70) after haploidentical transplant and 20 d (9–125) and 56 d (12–200) after cord blood (P < 0.001). All supportive care measures included red blood cell, and platelet transfusions were significantly increased in cord blood transplantation group.Transplant-related mortality rates was lower with haplo donors (25 ± 9%) than with cord blood donors (47 ± 9%) (P < 0.05). Acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) more than grade II was also lower in haploidentical transplants (19 ± 7%) than in cord blood transplants (44 ± 10%) (P < 0.03). Relapse and chronic GVHD incidence were not significantly different in the two groups. Leukemia-free survival was higher after haploidentical transplants (44 ± 10%) than after cord blood transplants (33 ± 7%) (P < 0.03). Main differences were observed in patients diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia: haplo, 41 ± 13%; cord blood, 26 ± 9% (P < 0.03) and in advanced phase of disease: haplo, 37 ± 14%; cord blood, 21 ± 8% (P < 0.05). In conclusion, haploidentical transplants are a good and promising alternative option for patients with childhood leukemia who lack an human leukocyte antigen-matched donor (sibling or unrelated donor).