To clarify the predictive value of the seven more commonly used postural reactions (PR) in the 1st year of life regarding the diagnosis of cerebral palsy (CP), we prospectively examined 204 high-risk infants of whom 58 developed CP, 22 had developmental retardation (DR) and 124 were normal at follow-up at 3 years of age. Abnormalities of five or more PR from the 1st month of life were correlated with spastic CP, while five or six abnormal PR were also correlated with athetoid CP. Three or less abnormal PR correlated with a normal outcome. All seven PR tested were significantly abnormal in children with spastic CP from the 1st month compared to normal children. Athetoid children demonstrated abnormalities of the Peiper-Isbert (P-I) reaction and Vojta reaction from the 1st month and of the vertical, horizontal and Collis vertical suspension from the 3rd month. Children with DR had significantly abnormal Collis horizontal and Collis vertical suspension, Vojta reaction and traction response from the 1st month and Peiper-Isbert reaction from the 3rd month. Ataxic children demonstrated significantly abnormal traction response from the 1st month, Collis horizontal reaction from the 7th month and Peiper-Isbert reaction from the 11th month. We conclude that the examination of PR is a useful quantitative and qualitative diagnostic screening tool for high-risk infants from the 1st month of life.