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The objective of this study was to compare intubating conditions and neuromuscular effects using smaller doses of atracurium (0.25 mg/kg and 0.3 mg/kg) with the recommended dose of 0.4 mg/kg for intubation in children anesthetized with halothane, N2O and oxygen undergoing strabismus repair. All patients (10 in each group) had good or excellent intubating conditions at 80% depression of twitch height [T1 of train-of-four (TOF) stimulation]. Mean times to intubation were 2.6 ± 0.2 minutes following 0.25 mg/kg and 2.2 ± 0.2 minutes following 0.3 mg/kg. These times were significantly longer (P < 0.05) than the mean intubation time of 1.5 ± 0.2 minutes following 0.4 mg/kg. Mean times to recovery, defined as times from injection of atracurium to return of T1 of TOF to 10%, 25%, and 95% of control measurements, were significantly shorter with the smaller doses. Atracurium at these low doses may provide an alternative to succinylcholine for intubating children during halothane anesthesia for surgical procedures lasting 20--30 min.