The past decade has brought about an explosion of knowledge about the physiology of nociception and many new techniques for pain relief, new analgesic drugs, and new applications of old analgesic drugs. These techniques include methods of opioid administration by transdermal and transmucosal absorption and the use of neuraxial analgesia for the management of pain in children. Interest in the use of regional anesthesia in children has been rekindled, and analgesic properties and pre-emptive analgesic properties of many agents not typically considered analgesics, such as clonidine and ketamine, have been recognized. Perhaps the greatest advance has been the paradigm shift in the recognition that pain not only exists in infants and children but also is a significant cause of morbidity and even mortality. Given the unprecedented interest in pain management in adults and children, physicians can now look forward to the development of new methods of drug delivery and of receptor-specific drugs that divorce analgesia from the untoward side effects of existing analgesics. Improvement in the quality of life of hospitalized children also will occur.