1. The efficacy and safety of a novel percutaneous anaesthetic preparation based on amethocaine has been investigated in the paediatric clinical environment. 2. There were 1241 recorded applications on a named patient basis made to patients from infant to age 16 years. Of these, 88.7% had satisfactory anaesthesia to venepuncture challenge, rising to approximately 90% when the infant group was excluded. 3. A 30 min application time was found to be adequate for reliable topical anaesthesia. 4. There were no serious adverse reactions to the preparation. Of the total 6.9% recorded reactions, 6.3% were of a mild, transient erythema later identified as due to the vasodilator action of the drug. 5. A total of 123 patients received more than one application of the preparation. There was no evidence of sensitisation on subsequent exposure to the preparation. 6. The short application time required was found to be advantageous to ward and clinic routines.