A double-blind, parallel-group, triple-dummy-designed, single-oral-dose study compared the efficacy, tolerability, safety, and dose-response of 5 mg/kg (n = 32) and 10 mg/kg (n = 28) ibuprofen suspension, 10 mg/kg acetaminophen elixir (n = 33), and placebo liquids (n = 34) in 127 children (2 to 11 years of age) with fever (101 degrees to 104 degrees F). Blood samples, oral temperatures, pulse, blood pressure, and respiration were obtained before and 1/2, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 8 hours after the dose was administered. The study was terminated early if oral temperature was greater than 104 degrees F or if it increased 1 degree F above baseline. All agents were well tolerated and more effective than placebo (p less than 0.05) for fever control. Ibuprofen, 10 mg/kg, was favored over 10 mg/kg acetaminophen (p less than 0.05). For temperatures greater than 102.5 degrees F, a dose-response relationship for 5 and 10 mg/kg ibuprofen was demonstrated in terms of percentage of fever reduction and in terms of the initial 2-hour rate of decrease in temperature. Antipyretic efficacy for temperatures greater than 102.5 degrees F was 10 mg/kg ibuprofen greater than 5 mg/kg greater than 10 mg/kg acetaminophen greater than placebo. All treatments were well tolerated. No significant clinical or laboratory abnormalities were noted. Ibuprofen suspension may be a safe and effective antipyretic in children.