The safety and efficacy of imipenem/cilastatin were evaluated in 21 children, ages 3 to 48 months, with bacterial meningitis. Eradication of bacteria from the cerebrospinal fluid was demonstrated within 24 hours of antibiotic therapy in all but 2 patients who had Haemophilus influenzae type b meningitis and ultimately achieved bacteriologic cure after 2 to 3 days of imipenem/cilastatin therapy. Cerebrospinal fluid penetrations of imipenem and cilastatin were determined at various times after drug administration with mean cerebrospinal fluid: serum ratios of 14 and 10% for imipenem and cilastatin, respectively. The study was terminated when 7 (33%) patients developed seizure activity after antibiotic therapy was administered. The usefulness of imipenem/cilastatin for the treatment of bacterial meningitis in children may be limited by a possible increased incidence of drug-related seizure activity.