OBJECTIVE: The gold standard assessment for sleep quality is polysomnography (PSG). However, actigraphy has gained popularity as an ambulatory monitor. We aimed to assess the value of actigraphy in measuring sleep fragmentation in children. METHODS: 130 children aged 2-18 years referred for assessment for sleep disordered breathing (SDB) were recruited. The arousal index (AI) scored from PSG was compared to the actigraphic fragmentation index (FI) and number of wake bouts/h. RESULTS: The ability of actigraphic measures to correctly classify a child as having an AI>10 events/h rated as fair for the FI and poor for wake bouts/h (area under the receiver operator characteristic curve, 0.73 and 0.67, respectively). CONCLUSION: Actigraphy provides only a fair indication of the level of arousal from sleep in children. While the limitations of actigraphy prevent it from being a diagnostic tool for SDB, it still has a role in evaluating sleep/wake schedules in children.