Thirty children scheduled for elective orchiopexy or herniotomy were consecutively assigned at random to premedication with methohexital 80 mg/ml, 20 mg/kg rectally, 15 min before transportation to the operating room, or pentobarbital 28 mg/ml, 7 mg/kg rectally, 45 min before transportation. The quality of premedication was recorded at induction with halothane 1-2% and 60% N2O in O2 by mask. All patients received a caudal injection of bupivacaine 1.9 mg/ml, 1.25 ml/kg before surgery. Following completion of anaesthesia, the postoperative wake-up time and the duration of stay in the post-operative recovery room were recorded. The degree and quality of recovery were assessed using the Aldrete score every 30 min until discharge from the recovery room. The group of children receiving methohexital showed a highly significantly shorter awakening time, and a highly significantly shorter stay in the recovery room compared to the pentobarbital group. The children in both groups had a quiet, easy recovery without significant signs of confusion or agitation, and no difference in quality of recovery could be shown. Emergence delirium or agitation in connection with pentobarbital premedication and a possible relation to postoperative pain is discussed.