Rates and severity of pneumococcal infections in children with sickle cell disease were examined before licensure of pneumococcal-conjugated vaccine (PVC). Rates of peak invasive infection rates in 1-year-old children with hemoglobin SS and mortality in those 0 to 10 years of age were 36.5 to 63.4 and 1.4 to 2.8 per 1000 person-years, respectively (>10 and 100 times as frequent as in the general population). Overall, 71% of serotyped isolates (n = 80) were PVC serotypes and 71% of nonvaccine serotype strains were penicillin-sensitive. Clinical presentation in children with hemoglobin SS (n = 71; more with hypotension) and hemoglobin SC (n = 18; more with acute chest syndrome, otitis media) differed. Penicillin nonsusceptibility (38% of isolates) varied between geographic study sites. Penicillin prophylaxis appeared less effective against intermediate and resistant strains. Of all infected children, meningitis developed in 20% and 15% died (hemoglobin SS, n = 15 and 11; hemoglobin SC, n = 1 each). Factors associated with death included age >4 years (58%), serotype 19F, and not being followed by a hematologist (42% each). The pneumococcal-polysaccharide vaccine was 80.4% effective within 3 years after vaccination (95% CI, 39.7, 93.6). Children with sickle cell disease of all ages may benefit from PVC boosted with polysaccharide vaccination.