Administering anaesthesia to a child with an anterior mediastinal mass may lead to respiratory or circulatory collapse, even in those without symptoms. Institutions should have algorithms to manage children with mediastinal masses. Preoperative evaluations should include computed tomography, echocardiography and flow-volume studies. Anaesthesia may be induced with inhalation agents and maintained with spontaneous respiration via facemask or laryngeal mask airway. Alternatively, positive-pressure ventilation may be used, including tracheal intubation without muscle relaxants. Rigid bronchoscopy may be life-saving in the event of tracheal or bronchial collapse under anaesthesia.