The "two-bag'' system, an adaptation of the euglycemic clamp technique, consists of simultaneous administration of 2 intravenous (IV) fluid bags of differing dextrose concentrations. Individualized therapy is dictated by adjustment of the infusion rate of each bag. We sought to assess the benefits of the two-bag system in the initial acute emergency department management of children in diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). Thirty-three children presenting to an urban pediatric emergency department in DKA were randomized into 2 groups: patients managed with the two-bag system and patients managed with the traditional "one-bag'' system. Other aspects of the management were standardized. Outcome measures included rate of decline in serum glucose, rate of bicarbonate correction, time on IV insulin therapy, and response time for IV fluid changes. Study period was defined as time on IV insulin therapy. There were no differences between the 2 groups in demographic parameters, initial baseline metabolic parameters, or total time on IV insulin therapy. There were no differences between the groups in average rates of serum glucose decline: two-bag 33.1 mg/dL/hr (s.e. 5.57, 95% CI 22.2, 44), one-bag 30.2 mg/dL/hr (s.e. 5.72, 95% CI 19, 41.4); average rate of serum bicarbonate correction: two-bag 1.19 mEq/L/hr, one-bag 1.27 mEq/L/hr; or the average number of IV fluid bags used: two-bag 4.1 bags, one-bag 3.2 bags. However, there was a difference between the groups in regard to elapsed total time to make changes in the IV fluids: two-bag 1 minute, one-bag 42 minutes, (p < 0.001). The "two-bag'' system enables a faster response time in making IV fluid therapy changes. This efficiency makes this system ideal for use in the emergency department.