OBJECTIVE: Surgical site infection (SSI) following CSF shunt operations has been well studied, yet risk factors for nonshunt pediatric neurosurgery are less well understood. The purpose of this study was to determine SSI rates and risk factors following nonshunt pediatric neurosurgery using a nationwide patient cohort and an institutional data set specifically for better understanding SSI. METHODS: The authors reviewed the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program-Pediatric (ACS NSQIP-P) database for the years 2012-2014, including all neurosurgical procedures performed on pediatric patients except CSF shunts and hematoma evacuations. SSI included deep (intracranial abscesses, meningitis, osteomyelitis, and ventriculitis) and superficial wound infections. The authors performed univariate analyses of SSI association with procedure, demographic, comorbidity, operative, and hospital variables, with subsequent multivariate logistic regression analysis to determine independent risk factors for SSI within 30 days of the index procedure. A similar analysis was performed using a detailed institutional infection database from Children's of Alabama (COA). RESULTS: A total of 9296 nonshunt procedures were identified in NSQIP-P with an overall 30-day SSI rate of 2.7%. The 30-day SSI rate in the COA institutional database was similar (3.3% of 1103 procedures, p = 0.325). Postoperative time to SSI in NSQIP-P and COA was 14.6 ± 6.8 days and 14.8 ± 7.3 days, respectively (mean ± SD). Myelomeningocele (4.3% in NSQIP-P, 6.3% in COA), spine (3.5%, 4.9%), and epilepsy (3.4%, 3.1%) procedure categories had the highest SSI rates by procedure category in both NSQIP-P and COA. Independent SSI risk factors in NSQIP-P included postoperative pneumonia (OR 4.761, 95% CI 1.269-17.857, p = 0.021), immune disease/immunosuppressant use (OR 3.671, 95% CI 1.371-9.827, p = 0.010), cerebral palsy (OR 2.835, 95% CI 1.463-5.494, p = 0.002), emergency operation (OR 1.843, 95% CI 1.011-3.360, p = 0.046), spine procedures (OR 1.673, 95% CI 1.036-2.702, p = 0.035), acquired CNS abnormality (OR 1.620, 95% CI 1.085-2.420, p = 0.018), and female sex (OR 1.475, 95% CI 1.062-2.049, p = 0.021). The only COA factor independently associated with SSI in the COA database included clean-contaminated wound classification (OR 3.887, 95% CI 1.354-11.153, p = 0.012), with public insurance (OR 1.966, 95% CI 0.957-4.041, p = 0.066) and spine procedures (OR 1.982, 95% CI 0.955-4.114, p = 0.066) approaching significance. Both NSQIP-P and COA multivariate model C-statistics were > 0.7. CONCLUSIONS: The NSQIP-P SSI rates, but not risk factors, were similar to data from a single center.