The majority of children with epilepsy are of normal intelligence; however, a significant subset suffers from temporary or permanent cognitive impairment. Factors that affect cognitive function are myriad and include the neuropathology underlying the epilepsy, seizures, epileptiform activity, psychosocial problems, and antiepileptic drug side effects. Although cognitive impairment is often wrongly attributed to the effects of antiepileptic drugs, antiepileptic drugs do impair cognition in some children. Clinicians should be aware of the differential cognitive effects of antiepileptic drugs and should monitor cognitive function closely when adding or changing therapy. Based on published data from prospective, chronic dosing studies, phenobarbital and topiramate have the highest potential for causing cognitive dysfunction.