Intubating conditions under halothane anaesthesia aided with alfentanil 20 micrograms.kg-1 were compared with suxamethonium 2 mg.kg-1 in 40 children presenting for day dental procedures. The condition of vocal cords, jaw relaxation and presence of movement and coughing were scored to give the overall intubating conditions. Successful intubation was achieved in 100% of the suxamethonium group and 94.7% of the alfentanil group. The cardiovascular response to intubation was attenuated in the alfentanil group. Some 43.7% of those receiving suxamethonium developed myalgia the day after surgery compared with 0% in the alfentanil group (P < 0.01).